October 14, 2020

DMT International continues to provide technical support for customers amidst the COVID-19 pandemic

Author: Marjolein Overbosch & Stephen McCulloch

Keywords: COVID-19, coronavirus, DMT International, DMT, service, IoT, Augmented reality

On March 11th, the World Health Organization declared the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus a pandemic.Since then governments have been struggling to flatten the curve either with strict limits or less restrictive measure and finding the right balance. “It has been challenging,” Huberts says, but we have found creative and innovative ways to continue to offer technical support and commission projects. It enabled us to be able to meet gas to grid deadlines on projects globally. Our main offices in Joure, the Netherlands and Portland, Oregon, USA have showed that DMT is quick to adapt to this extraordinary situation and have met our customers’ priorities.

The pandemic is turning out to be a roller coaster ride and the COVID-19 virus has the world in his grip but DMT International has continued to win projects in both Europe and the United States. “We are able to support and service our customers globally and this pandemic has given us the opportunity to investigate different ways to serve and assist them”, Stephen McCulluch, Business Director UK & Eire says. 

During the pandemic we won projects in the Netherlands, Amsterdam, the UK and the U.S and continued our commissioning work on several projects across the US and Europe to also remain on track with commissioning expected to close at the end of the fiscal year.”

Commissioning Activities and Daily Operations

On July 1, the European Union and other European countries began welcoming non-essential travel from a list of selected countries who had the COVID-19 pandemic sufficiently under control. The U.S. was not on the list. Over time the situation appeared to improve, but now we are facing a second curve and a new set of restriction making it harder to travel. These continuous travel restrictions leave organizations with global operations unable to resume business as usual models, creating business disruption as well as supply chain challenges.

DMT’s hardworking team was already used to operating as a global company, working with experts in different time zones. We have quickly adapted our day-to-day operations to the changing circumstances. We started working from home and tried to acclimate to the more challenging issues, such as travel ban restrictions and managing the supply chain. “Working remotely is daily business,” said Stephen.

To overcome the more challenging issues, DMT looked to the option to serve customers remotely, one of the options were head-mounted, PPE-compatible glasses with high-resolution micro displays fitting just below the viewer’s line of sight. These glasses offer hands-free, voice control options and can be used for remote mentor video calling, document navigation, guided workflow, mobile forms and industrial data visualization.

“Physical support from our engineer from our Joure office has not been possible for our U.S. projects due to the travel restrictions. We’ve adapted these clever computer glasses as a solutions for our remote service and commissioning work, which were already being used in the field for our customers with 24/7 service site support. Now our teams wear them, allowing colleagues unable to travel to see through the eyes of those in the field. Engineers can collaborate, easily cast instructions to each other, assist when logged into the system, or provide insight on the SCADA system,” indicated Huberts.

Supply Chain and Technical Support Solutions

The DMT teams used the computer glasses to perform remote Factory Acceptance Tests (FAT) with their suppliers, enabling clients and global engineers to be present for an important project milestone. This solution demonstrated to be so effective that DMT plans to continue this model for all projects, thereby, increasing collaboration, expanding knowledge transfer, and reducing (travel) costs.

“Knowledge and experience is a precious commodity these days,” poses Huberts. “Previously, we would send two to four of our biogas speialists in the field but now we can send our entire organization, so to speak, with just our local team. Given our extensive distribution of new biogas upgrading and gas desulfurization plants, it was very costly to send specialists to sites, combined with the downtime from travel weariness upon arrival. This is not applicable when using the glasses, remote support makes the world and that brings advantages for both DMT and our customers.”

Leveraging advanced technologies, such as these head-mounted devices, help companies adapt and anticipate future challenges. Whether it is an event like COVID-19, regulatory change, sudden spikes in demand, or labor dispute, organizations like DMT will be ready to deal with the unexpected.