The global pandemic has forced manufacturers to adapt to a whole new world practically overnight. How has Gleason aftermarket service and support helped meet the challenge?
We were fortunate to have deployed a new generation of “Gleason 4.0” digital tools even before the pandemic. Technologies now exist that have enabled Gleason to work around disruptions in travel, service calls and classroom training, and meet customers’ support requirements on a level exceeding what was the “norm” pre-pandemic. Our customers have quickly adapted to this new world of digital service, and there’s no going back.
What are some of the most significant of these “digital service tools,” and how are they benefiting your customers?
Digital technologies are transforming the service landscape, allowing us to support customers despite the global pandemic without missing a beat. In the pre-pandemic world, a “down” machine diagnosis and repair usually meant a service call. Not any longer. Today, customers can seamlessly connect with us via Gleason Connect Cloud, our online portal, 24/7 and from anywhere in the world. They can access their own machine history, technical documentation, wear and spare parts lists, manuals and service reports anywhere at any time. Additionally, with Gleason Connect+, problems in the field can be evaluated “live” by Gleason experts and resolved in real time with visual directions to the customer’s service technician via an existing smart device or smart glasses, providing video live streaming and augmented reality. With Gleason’s “e-Ticket,” customers can open requests for service and spare parts immediately, online, 24/7, with just a Gleason machine model and serial number at the ready.
Additionally, we offer our customers a free risk assessment to identify risks and suggest remedies, all done online. We only need the machine’s serial number to start the process.
What digital tools are available to help keep older machines up and running productively — machines that don’t have the latest controls and software?
While older machines may still function properly, productivity, user friendliness, and data security can be enhanced significantly by control enhancements. One simple solution is the Gleason SPN Box, a Windows® 10 retrofit for Siemens 840D pl controls. Instead of a complete re-control, Gleason offers a smart and fast way to update the old Siemens 840D pl found on many models of Gleason machines with Windows 95, NT and XP — and bring safety, performance, and networking capabilities to today’s standards.
How has the pandemic affected the way you help customers train their operators and maintenance personnel?
While the traditional “learning environment” has, out of necessity, changed, Gleason training resources are more robust than ever. Gleason’s popular “Home Trainer” webinars were introduced during the pandemic to keep customers connected, and learning, from home. Now, these Gear Trainer webinars continue to provide an exceptional learning experience and cover a variety of topics on bevel and cylindrical gear manufacturing technology. Gear Trainer webinars are moderated live by gear technology experts and include a live Q&A session. For a more comprehensive learning experience, Gleason offers a wide variety of dedicated training classes. While classes have traditionally been conducted either at Gleason or customer plants, offices, or an independent site, an increasing number of classes are now being held in a virtual classroom setting and deliver a focused and intensive learning experience.
What’s next for Gleason service and support?
We’re moving from a conventional service approach toward smart machines and pro-active/predictive maintenance. Furthermore, Gleason service programs, especially those with preventive maintenance elements, are a crucial part of this new service strategy and are constantly adapted to customer’s requirements. With Gleason Fingerprint, for example, potential service problems can be addressed before they manifest. Similar to a human’s fingerprint, machines have a specific mechanical fingerprint. This fingerprint is unique to the machine and can detect faulty conditions well before a significant problem develops. It can be used to retrieve a direct comparison of a machine’s current status with its ideal/normal status, displayed on the HMI of the very machine. Fingerprint information can result in faster, more detailed diagnostics and proactive service actions.
Gleason’s online Service Conferences provide the perfect opportunity to learn more about productivity and cost saving potentials as well as the ability to network with other service professionals. Gear technology and service experts present options to digitize and modernize existing Gleason machine installations. The next, free-of-charge service conference is March 1, 2022.