Can Factories and Power Plants Be Run from Home?

 In CraneMorley, Mixed Reality Industry Insight

Can factories and power plants be run from home? This is a fascinating business model a year into the pandemic. The manufacturing industry has had to adjust like everyone else. Continuous advancement in technology makes everyone ponder about the possibilities.

Initial use cases highlight the potential for factories and power plants to be run from home. We probably will never see a complete transition to a fully remote factory or power plant. But who knows with the rapid growth of technology and internet of things anything is possible.

Microsoft HoloLens 2 and Dynamics 365 Remote Assist are examples of technology that provide interesting use cases. During the pandemic Remote Assist has helped companies transition to virtual inspections, maintenance, and repair. Companies such as Varian and Mercedes Benz have found tremendous success in money saved and increase efficiency. This is the way to operate post Covid-19.

Another exciting use case that raises eyebrows is shown in the video below. Microsoft and DEME (Dredging, Environmental and Marine Engineering NV) uses the HoloLens to operate the crane remotely. Digital twins in mixed reality allow users to see what they normally see when sitting in the cabin. Spatial mapping helps alert users to potential dangers and reduce errors. Now anyone can operate the crane in Belgium.

The future is promising but there are some key factors to think about. As frontline workers work remotely internet bandwidth must increase and a backup system be implemented. Cyber security will be a main concern to ensure no one messes with operation.  Factories and power plants will always keep some employees on site to make sure everything runs smooth and fix machinery when broken down.

Why do factories and power plants run from home make sense?

An estimated 30% of frontline work force will retire in the next two year.  Factories and power plants must complete with desk jobs. They must find new ways to attract new workers. Factories and power plants run remotely will help ease concerns of working in dangerous industries operations such as oil, gas, and mining. These industries are often in remote location and require workers to leave their family and home for months on end. More workers will be interested with these new and improve working conditions.

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