Henkel Adopts AR for Remote Assistance Amid COVID-19

Henkel adopts AR for remote assistance during COVID-19 lockdowns


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Key takeaways

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When COVID-19 caused lockdowns and disruptions worldwide, travel to Henkel's more than 30 plants became prohibitively difficult. Henkel’s experts could no longer travel to assist the production teams or facilitate in-person knowledge transfer.

Henkel, founded in 1876 and headquartered in Düsseldorf, Germany, is composed of three business units: Adhesive Technologies, Beauty Care, and Laundry & Home Care. With over 52,000 employees, Henkel has subsidiaries and production facilities worldwide. The Laundry & Home Care business relies on continuous communication with product specialists, R&D departments, and external experts for optimal operations and knowledge transfer.

Need for Remote Assistance

Given the importance of expert support, Henkel recognized the need to improve communication and assist teams globally while reducing travel. This would lower operational costs, increase workforce productivity and efficiency, and improve safety and compliance.

Solution: Vuforia Chalk

Henkel leveraged PTC’s Vuforia Chalk, an augmented-reality-powered remote assistance application, to support their production teams. Vuforia Chalk connects technicians with experts through digital annotations on a live, shared view, facilitating real-time troubleshooting and guidance.

Henkel's Digital Business department tested and adopted Vuforia Chalk due to its ease of use and compatibility with mobile devices, tablets, desktops, and hands-free devices. This allowed quick deployment without additional equipment. The urgency of COVID-19 accelerated the rollout, and Henkel quickly granted access to Chalk across more than 30 factories worldwide. The solution enabled rapid connections between users, allowing experts to assist technical support teams remotely. Within six months, Vuforia Chalk became a communication solution in the Laundry & Home Care division and started gaining traction in other divisions.

Vuforia Chalk increased workforce productivity and efficiency, reduced operational costs, improved safety and compliance, and simplified communication. Experts could provide high-level troubleshooting, maintenance, and support without traveling. This virtual collaboration led to faster, productive solutions and significant cost savings. Henkel plans to expand the use of Chalk, considering the implementation of RealWear headsets to further ease augmented reality use. Chalk will remain an important tool for Henkel, simplifying communication, saving costs, increasing productivity and efficiency, and improving safety and compliance even beyond the pandemic.

Rrahul Sethi
June 17, 2024
5 min read