Supplier Forvia uses high-tech glasses to connect production lines with experts

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — Forvia, the auto supplier formed by Faurecia’s acquisition of Hella, is using high-tech glasses to reduce downtime at its factories while helping to make its plants more automated and advanced.

Forvia is making use of Microsoft’s HoloLens 2 glasses, which allow the supplier’s experts in France to connect with technicians or machine operators in factories around the world.

The glasses give the company’s experts on one side of the world the ability to directly see what the operator in another country is seeing. That allows the experts to quickly give instructions on how to get a troubled machine back up and running or to perform more efficiently, said Matt Myrand, the company’s director of advanced manufacturing and supply chain.

“The idea is to have a quick reaction and have the expert on site so that they can see the problem,” he told Automotive News. “Whether it’s a robot or a machine, a data scientist in Paris can troubleshoot an AI system in Louisville.”

Forvia is looking to overhaul its manufacturing and supply chain processes to become more data driven and efficient. The supplier now uses more than 1,300 automated guided vehicles in its plants worldwide, Myrand said, while also using more robotics during manufacturing.

Introducing that technology and keeping it running requires expertise that’s often difficult to come by in a tight, hyper-competitive labor market. Having an expert on hand for each technology at each of the supplier’s plants would be impossible, but the HoloLens technology is the next best thing, Myrand said.

The glasses allow Forvia’s experts to not only see what the line operator on the ground sees, but to also help guide the operator on what to do next.

The glasses can measure distances, superimpose images of spare parts onto a real-time view of the machine and allow the operator to see documents outlining reboot procedures or other important processes, Myrand said.

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