Technology Snapshot: Flour treatment specialist Mühlenchemie is expanding its service and taking new directions in customer support with Smart Glasses. Online demonstrations and training, and joint trials and analyses, enable dynamic remote communication in real time. Starting in 2022 customers can acquire fully configured MC Connect Glasses.
MC Connect Glasses are worn on the head, and have a camera facing forward and a small screen in front of the wearer’s eye. They are used like a tablet or smartphone to communicate with another person by video call. Everyone on the call sees the same thing, as if they were there in person. The user’s hands are free, to do baking trials or operate devices during a session.
With this technology, flour expert Mühlenchemie is taking another step towards digital customer support. The company already offers digital services such as remote workshops, last year’s Digital Millers’ Conference, and the online navigator that helps select the right product. Another offering is now being added. “In flour treatment it’s more and more about fast decisions. These can now be made better with the assistance of experts who might be a thousand kilometres away,” says Peter Steiner, global head of business unit at Mühlenchemie.
Due to economic, political and climatic factors, the availability, prices and qualities of raw materials change almost daily. This presents great challenges to flour mills when it comes to offering customers a high-quality product at competitive prices. Mühlenchemie supplies over 2000 mills in more than 130 countries with custom enzyme solutions that make it possible. To do so, the applications technologists at the Stern-Technology Center in Ahrensburg analyze wheat and flour samples from around the globe. In this 3000 sqm facility they can simulate processes in baking, pasta and wafer labs, and test the effects of enzymes and other substances for each specific type of grain or flour. As Peter Steiner explains, “we can replicate all manufacturing steps, from the individual grain to the finished baked product or dried pasta, using the latest technology.” The result is individual solutions that can be applied 1:1 in actual production.
With MC Connect Glasses, the company’s flour treatment specialists can now let customers be present at trials and analyses in real time as if they were there, regardless of their actual location. Decisions can be made together with all involved. Furthermore, customers can join lab tours, seminars, and online presentations live and follow the experts using MC Connect Glasses. Customers do not need their own smart glasses in order to use the new digital service and participate in online offerings, like demonstrations and workshops.
In 2022 Mühlenchemie customers will be able to acquire their own MC Connect Glasses, so they can make use of expanded live support. If a customer has a technical issue, they can contact Mühlenchemie specialists by means of MC Connect Glasses, and take them into the mill with the same field of view. The people at Mühlenchemie can provide guidance live, and also send information for viewing on the display of the MC Connect Glasses. In this way Mühlenchemie offers efficient, immediate and location-independent technical assistance whenever customers need it.
The project started in July 2020 with an intensive test phase, and the first online training with smart glasses was held in January 2021. Since then MC Connect Glasses have been in regular use. The goal is to make this technology a firm part of the daily working routine.