Compressor expert Burckhardt Compression (Burckhardt) is collaborating with software solutions company PTC to develop a type of Metaverse augmented reality (AR) solution that will help remotely monitor and service compressors in real time.

Offering digital solutions under its ‘UP! Solutions’ range, Burckhardt equips compressors with sensors to collect data related to temperature or vibrations. This data can be analysed to detect anomalies or schedule servicing. 

The collaboration with PTC will see Burckhardt providing increased digitisation leading to the ability for service technicians to provide advice to customers virtually from their office using a tablet or HoloLens glasses. 

This virtual communication relies largely on PTC’s AR technology called Vuforia, which uses computer vision technology to recognise and track planar images and 3D objects in real time. 

Developers are then able to position virtual objects such as 3D models in relation to real-world objects when viewed through the camera of a tablet, phone, or a HoloLens, making it seem as though the virtual object is part of the real-world scene. 

AR enables the customer's entire work environment to be mapped in virtual reality.

AR enables the customer’s entire work environment to be mapped in virtual reality.

This technology can also be used for teaching, for example: Vuforia ‘watches’ an expert during a process before compiling instructions for ‘teaching’ less experienced workers and monitors the learning phase. 

After having established this familiarity, the system is then able to detect deviations from the usual process and can provide guidance to the technician. 

Commenting on the technology, Helmut Draxler, Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO), Burckhardt, said, “We put both technicians in a common metaverse and thus almost completely eliminate the ‘distance’ factor.” 

The companies are working together to increase the technology’s potential by developing an AR solution capable of mapping the customer’s entire work environment, as opposed to just the field of view seen by an on-site colleague. 

Burckhardt aims to integrate its compressors with PTC’s ThingWorx ­– an IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) platform that aims to remove barriers to data analytics to help optimise efficiency, predict problems, and prevent downtime. 

“This is a big step forward and we are eager to generate added value for our customers with the Vuforia AR solution together with PTC,” added Marcel Pawlicek, CEO, Burckhardt.

Holding the potential to revolutionise industry, AR systems have already seen use in sectors such as welding, vacuum pump maintenance, and hospital infrastructure support.