Secure remote support for manufacturers

The ability to remotely access your control system as well as troubleshoot from a remote site is becoming increasingly important as wireless technology becomes more dominant in the manufacturing industry.
By Anisa Samarxhiu November 5, 2014

Some of the problems a modern manufacturer faces. Courtesy: Anisa Samarxhiu, CFE MediaThe ability to remotely access your control and being able to troubleshoot away from the plant floor has been a major theme throughout Pack Expo 2014 in Chicago, Ill. Tom Peshek, a program manager, for Rockwell Automation, talked about secure remote support as a way to help manufacturers combat problems like:

  • An aging infrastructure/workforce
  • Control system complexity
  • Competency
  • Connectivity
  • Heightened security
  • Need for increased productivity.

Disruptive innovations have changed the game, in a positive way, by creating secure remote connectivity, cloud computing, virtualization, and mobility. Peshek said, "Remote support is a combination of all these things that allow trouble shooting to happen remotely. The data is compressed, encapsulated, and encrypted. There is no possibility of VPN bleeding because everything is done through a secure multipurpose tunnel to the customer sites."

Remotely monitoring diagnostics allows the user to gather data on:

  • Alarm health
  • Health of the asset
  • Processes
  • Infrastructure
  • The plant environment
  • Consumables
  • Data virtualization.

Tom Peshek, program manager, Rockwell Automation, spoke at the 2014 Pack Expo in Chicago about secure remote support. Courtesy: Anisa Samarxhiu, CFE MediaDowntime is another major problem that many manufactures face, and managing it can be difficult. This is especially true if it is unscheduled downtime, which occurs 89% of the time. A plant loses a lot of time in the process of trying to diagnose the problem. Most of the time, the problems are simple ones that can be fixed, but the right person may not be on the plant floor to address the issue right away.

With the Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, and other wireless concepts being discussed throughout the event, it is clear working remotely and remote troubleshooting will be used throughout the manufacturing industry more and more.

– Anisa Samarxhiu, digital project manager, CFE Media, asamarxhiu@cfemedia.com

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