HMS Industrial IoT Blog

Stay up to date with the latest technical developments and trends within industrial communication and IoT.

Making the Case for Remote Access

by Julia Sheridan | Apr 15, 2019

 

Remote access and management of industrial equipment

Ewon remote solutions allow you to access, monitor and control industrial machinery online.

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Secure Remote Access for Industrial Machines Ebook

Secure Remote Access Ebook

 

Defining the Need for Remote Access

Perhaps for as long as industrial machine builders have existed, they've had the desire to look into the operation of their machines from afar. For original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) with far-flung fleets of machines at customer facilities, as well as for end-user manufacturing companies with multiple sites and corporate engineering centers, visibility into the operation of remote assets presents a compelling business case.

 

Typical use cases for remote access to industrial machines include:

  • Troubleshooting and programming Programmable Logic Controllers [PLCs) remotely
  • Viewing and controlling your remote Human Machine Interfaces (HMls)
  • Connecting to a web camera for assistance
  • Supporting Field technicians for commissioning

 

Remote Connectivity Solutions

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Exploring the Business Benefits of Remote Access

The ability to remotely access a machine's control system can help troubleshooting and solve an estimated 60 to 70 percent of operating problems, avoiding the need for support personnel to travel across town - or around the world. The average cost in North America to send a Field Technician onsite to troubleshoot a customer machine is $2,200 USD. Over half of those visits could have been done remotely. The types of problems that can derail production often don't require fixing the machine so much as tweaking its programming or other parameters. For example, you can accommodate changes in raw materials, machine wear, or other production inputs that may have shifted over time.

Remote access enables you to move from a reactive support model to a proactive service model with benefits that include:

  1. Cutting travel costs
  2. Improving responsiveness
  3. Reducing the impact of emergencies
  4. Optimizing engineers' workloads
  5. Maximizing machine uptime and productivity

Rapid issue resolution also means less downtime and a faster return to full production for the machine builder's customer. On those occasions when an in-person service call is required, remote visibility can help ensure that the person with the right skills, the right parts, and the right tools is sent - increasing the odds of a "fix on first visit" outcome. All this leads to a better customer experience and higher customer satisfaction.

The pressures driving industry to adopt remote access strategies have only intensified in recent years as industry faces the continued loss of subject matter experts to retirement. The expertise of those remaining must be stretched over a larger installed base of production machines that is often increasingly deployed globally. Machine builders are also recognizing the opportunity that remote access opens up for creating new, revenue-generating, proactive and preventive services that can be offered to their customers.

Overall, everyone is looking for more efficiency, which means less waste. Machine builders can achieve competitive advantages using remote access (see figure above) to serve more customers and reach new geographic markets, even without a local service setup.

 

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