Virtual technology facilitates factory acceptance testing at EMS Group USA.

COVID-19 has made a big difference in the way wineries are managed. Staff shortages have jeopardized production and tourism restrictions have threatened sales. Wine producers are quick to adopt workplace safety and rely on technology solutions such as automated equipment, mobile field service software, e-commerce and virtual tasting rooms.

Equipment suppliers also felt the effects and turned to technology. One of the original solutions is the virtual factory acceptance test (FAT) performed by EMS Group USA, a division of EMS Group, SpA.

In the pre-COVID world, when a winery purchased containers and processing equipment from EMS Group, two or three people would go to the factory in Italy to confirm that the equipment was built to their specifications and to make sure everything was working properly. But in the world of VIDOCs, the journey around the world has stopped.

Customer satisfaction is the top priority of the EMS Group, and speed and efficiency of response are the motto of the organization. Since technology is central to all EMS Group facilities, it was only natural that they turned to their own high-tech team to develop an alternative to the crucial FAT process when the pandemic hit.

We want people who buy equipment to be confident that their machine is as ordered, says Beth Zarnik-Duffy, Executive Sales Manager, EMS Group USA. We want them to know that everything is ready for use after the final processing in the factory. Since EMS is the largest supplier of automated packaging equipment, it was natural for us to use the virtual FAT to show that the equipment is ready to operate and to be delivered to our customers.

Like wineries, the EMS technology team has transformed the in-person experience into a virtual one. By using multiple cameras, customers can easily inspect motors, electrical wiring, connections and all other aspects of the static FAT inspection process. From mobile phones to 360-degree view cameras to mounted DSLR cameras, field staff in Italy use real-time devices to communicate with government customers. These static and dynamic equipment checks allow the customer to examine every aspect of the machine in detail, from electrical cabinets to safety tests – the EMS Group takes the time to fully understand every aspect requested by the customer, with time for questions and clarifications during the process.

Under the FAT virtual system, wine producers deliver their raw materials to Italy in advance. They are used in all areas of equipment testing during dynamic testing. You will see that their products are used to test certain production cycles. The on-site team performs safety tests, such as. B. electronic machine stop, interlock, and any other safety measures required by the customer. The client practically goes through his checklist and crosses off each item.

One of the benefits of virtual FATs is that a client can have 12 or 13 people, Beth says, including technical experts who don’t usually travel. Anyone can communicate with each other, ask questions and share documents, drawings and diagrams to confirm that they match what they have ordered. EMS also records an FAT, so the customer can share it with other team members who weren’t there, or if they just want to go back and see a particular item again, they have it.

Vimal Narayan, managing director of Bogle Vineyards, says 2020 has been a difficult year. Living on a virtual platform makes it difficult for traditional FATs to purchase new hardware. The EMS team, however, has weathered this process effortlessly. They were very responsive to our requests and questions during the qualification process. EMS is an excellent partner and will play an important role in supporting our growth here at Bogle Family Vineyards.

Technology has given the FAT process a new dimension of problem solving in real time – the ability to view these huge devices remotely. While nothing can replace EMS Group’s stay in Italy and immersion in Italian culture, food and wine, in a post-COVID world, EMS Group USA expects a mix of virtual and local FAT, and it wouldn’t be surprising if their customers want both.

For more information, please visit the EMS Group website or contact Beth Zarnick Duffy, Executive Sales Manager, directly at [email protected].

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