Challenges such as the current pandemic, personnel costs, and a shortage of skilled workers are putting increasing pressure on companies. It is becoming more and more difficult to maintain large-scale plants efficiently and in accordance with requirements, as well as to resolve problems in a timely manner. Predictive maintenance is intended to remedy this situation and avoid failures while making more efficient use of time. Mobile end devices play a key role in implementing these strategies in many companies.

Especially in industries where many facilities or large-scale premises need to be maintained and inspected, the challenges of covering and carrying out the demanding work processes are becoming more and more apparent. Increasingly complex systems make it impossible for employees to memorise how to service each individual component. Experts are not available at all facilities and at all times to the extent that they are needed.

One major benefit of using mobile end devices in industry is the option for remote support from technicians when carrying out complex inspection procedures. Video calls or augmented reality applications can be used in hazardous areas via smartphones or tablets. Technicians on-site can contact experts or even the manufacturer of the asset if necessary and ask for their support regarding complex matters. This saves time and resources.

Digital end devices are useful as more than just on-site eyes and ears. Such devices, including those developed by the Pepperl+Fuchs brand ecom instruments, have different functionalities—including an electromagnetic gyroscope, GPS, and cameras—that facilitate assessment of the on-site situation and enable experts from anywhere in the world to gain a precise insight into the circumstances. This enables the use of digital step-by-step instructions, and the use of remote support or customer-specific tools that can be used for a variety of tasks from plant management to plant inspection, as well as the implementation of digital training courses.

This gives employees instant access to all the information that they require to be quicker and better at their work, puts them in direct contact with the right support expert, and provides an overview of all open, in-progress, and closed cases.

Requirement Profile for Digital End Devices for More Efficient Maintenance Processes

To guarantee seamless support through digital drawings, a description of servicing steps, or through remote experts, the multifunctional end device must display even the most complex of applications without any problems thanks to its excellent image quality, even in strong sunlight. In addition to its smartphone series, ecom offers tablets such as the new Tab-Ex® Pro with 10-inch screen. Pogo pin charging and a powerful and replaceable battery with a capacity of 7400 mAh for a runtime of up to 15 hours ensure flawless operation and a long Tab-Ex® Pro operating time in the field. The high-resolution screen guarantees a clear image when receiving support via remote servicing or during video tutorials.

Corresponding accessories for smartphones such as the Smart-Ex 02 and tablets allow workers’ hands to be kept free for the unimpeded execution of tasks on-site. Workers can be guided through complicated applications in real-time by experts without being restricted in their work thanks to suitable carrying devices, headsets, and cameras. We understand the importance of an extensive range of peripheral devices, which are perfectly tailored to the digital end devices of the brand and to the needs of those working in industrial or explosion-protected environments. These ensure that work processes can be carried out without any errors and that faults can be quickly rectified by the employees on-site.

The Smart Future of Maintenance

To take remote support to a new level, ecom has been working intensively for some time on the development of additional products that can be used in combination with smartphones and tablets. Smart glasses have been the focus of development, since they can be operated optimally by the on-site employee using hands-free voice control and allow remote experts to gain an optimal view of the processes. The expert can provide support or guidance while information and written instructions are displayed live and directly in the worker’s field of view. ecom pays particular attention to ensuring that the smart glasses and their functions are perfectly adapted for use in everyday industrial working environments and hazardous areas.

Unrestricted Device Communication for a Perfect Overview

Digital products and services enable the staging, management, and real-time monitoring of mobile devices. Providers rely on a combination of comprehensive mobile device management with corresponding device analytics. This offers a simple way to configure and manage the increasing number of mobile end devices. An analysis of historical and current data is accessible at any time and allows conclusions to be drawn with regard to function-critical correlations. Enterprise mobility management systems that are managed centrally by the provider can give a complete overview of complex systems. This relieves the burden on IT departments and provides more security for ongoing operations.

Maintenance in an Agile Environment

Expert guidance from other facilities and digital workflows help technicians to perform complex tasks on systems directly as part of a mobile solution. Integrating mobile end devices and tools is another step on the way to achieving digital production, servicing, and repair.

Smartphones and tablets need to provide meaningful support to technicians in their everyday work while being suitable for the conditions in harsh industrial environments and hazardous areas. It must be possible to use the devices worldwide. In addition to general availability, the devices are required to fulfill various requirements and must offer capabilities in a range of infrastructures and networks.

Mobile devices are more than just communication tools. As part of a digital overall solution, they provide mobile support for technicians by allowing them to query, record, and analyze data and respond independently and quickly to any scenario.


Kgomotso Makhobela
Pepperl+Fuchs (Pty) Ltd
+27 10 430 0238


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