STERIS has traditionally delivered standard operating procedures (SOPs) to its customers via hard copy or digital PDF instructions, which is effective, but poses limitations to accuracy. STERIS has embraced AR to improve how customers can address the complexity of three-dimensional loading configurations, rather than relying on two-dimensional diagrams.
STERIS HELPS CUSTOMERS REDUCE CRITICAL MISTAKES WITH AR
To provide customers with reliable disinfection across life sciences, healthcare products, and sterilization technologies.
STERIS has six critical washing parameters: temperature, action, chemistry, coverage, time, and soil. Most of these can be controlled programmatically. Accurate coverage, however, requires customer technicians to precisely follow correct procedures for loading equipment—which makes quality control uniquely challenging.
Traditionally, STERIS has solved this by delivering SOPs to their customers via hard copy or digital PDF instructions. While this does provide for some standardization, it poses challenges to both STERIS and its customers. For instance, it is difficult to understand the complexity of three-dimensional loading configurations using a series of two-dimensional diagrams. Consistent with STERIS’s values, the solution may have worked, but they looked to innovate greater precision and reliability. This is where augmented reality (AR) entered the picture.About the Company
STERIS is a global leader in infection prevention technologies, offering a broad portfolio of preventative solutions. The STERIS Life Science business produces sterilization equipment, cleaners, and services to pharmaceutical companies and research facilities. STERIS’ full spectrum of products, services, and support make it unique. Their premium brand appeals to customers who require the peace of mind that comes with 100% reliable disinfection.
Customers are equipped with a STERIS-supplied tablet, preloaded with their Smart AR Loading Technology application—with content customized to each customer’s unique products and washer configuration. The front-line users are now able to load washers by following clear, in-context AR guidance directly overlaid on the washer racks. When loading errors can impact the health and safety of end customers, increasing the coverage accuracy is critical, and using AR guidance can result in significant improvements compared to just referencing a printed diagram. The solution is 3D-aware, meaning that users can walk around the rack, while 3D models of loadable parts remain accurately locked into place—granting 360 degrees of visual accuracy.
–Olivier Van Houtte, Senior Manager for Product Marketing in the Life Sciences Division of STERIS.
STERIS investigated many different digital solutions, but ultimately embraced AR to create operator instructions. PTC’s Vuforia Studio AR was selected as the technology of choice— based on the flexibility needed to create immersive AR experiences that overlay 3D information over physical objects and environments. Using Vuforia Studio as the underlying technology, the coverage section of the SOP process has been entirely reimagined as STERIS Smart AR Loading Technology. Planning for a broad roll-out, STERIS partnered with ITC, a services partner to rapidly iterate large volumes of custom AR content that are specific to customer washer configurations.
AR experiences that overlay 3D information over physical objects and environments
Looking to the Future
AR Smart Loading Technology application is currently a premium offering available to customers. While early signals are positive, STERIS is monitoring success metrics.
STERIS customers are actively evaluating how AR can improve control over this washing parameter. By following the immersive AR solution, customers should expect to:
- Improve overall SOP compliance for washer coverage
- Minimize error and waste
- Limit the potential risk of contamination
- Improve the speed and efficiency of loading STERIS washers
For the public at large, this means we can continue to benefit from the pharmaceutical and life science industries with the additional reassurances that continues technology innovations help reduce risks and keep people safe.