July 6, 2020

Cloud-based remote maintenance in plant construction

Ettore Caurla from the Customer Service of Stopa Anlagenbau GmbH says: “As a system manufacturer, our core competence is not in the construction of complex IT infrastructures, but in service-friendly systems for our customers.” The medium-sized plant engineering Stopa belongs with 200 employees of Europe’s leading providers in development and production of automatic storage and retrieval systems. The storage systems from Stopa to ensure quick and efficient material flow with the operators. If the bearing system faulty, the entire production process can be compromised quickly. Typical failure causes include plant or operation problems such as the correct handling under Windows or configuring Interbus or Profibus applications.

Remote Service provides around 80% of faults for a quick fix

Service and system availability has always been decisive competitive issues in plant construction. So the tele service for Stopa for 20 years a common means of support. First, the remote access was made to the customer plants even with analog modems. With increasing scope of automation technology and increasing volumes of data which, however, was no longer adequate. For slow connections, for example, the status of sensor data changed even during transmission. Thus, the modems have been replaced by broadband IP connections. “We have connected 1,000 of our 1,600 installations via teleservice. Only small and old systems were not considered in the past. New plants are “but complete with Teleservice facilities reported Caurla.

The customer service from Stopa evaluates the duration and the success rate of the teleservice systematically. Thus, the customer received a total of 5,000 calls last year. It was about appointments, documents or other service information. At 600 calls a remote support was initiated in order to solve problems. In 78% of these cases the problem could be solved within 24 hours concluded. Only with the remaining 22% longer processing times were needed because, for example, spare parts for defective devices were not available locally.

New technology reduces the suppression time by 50%

Earlier Stopa set up a modem VPN Teleservice solution (Virtual Private Network) for remote support. The average connection time per application was here 75 minutes. Here, the connection with exchange extensive program files with Siemens Step 7 required already 20 minutes. A rather awkward handling prolonging time in addition. The switch to the m-Guard technology the manufacturer Innominate, the average VPN connection time reduced to just 37 minutes. Here, the connection initially required 30 seconds and fell after a software update to only a few seconds. On the accessibility of the Simatic S7 or S5 systems with the operator did not change fundamentally. Only the procedures had become easier by the intuitive operation. “The connection time is the remote service an important factor, because the faster we can help the customer, the more problematic cases we can work with the support team,” said Caurla. Not only the IP connection technology, a new tele-service approach has been replaced, but with the cloud platform m-Guard-Secure Cloud introduced.

“We just wanted to be administered by one and economical solution. She had to ensure the highest safety standards for our customers. At the same time we did not have to deal with complex security architectures or the configuration of VPN clients, proxies and firewalls “us, the service technician from Stopa explained. From the perspective of the engineering company set up its own security infrastructure is too expensive, “Security, state of the art requires a reliable and resilient infrastructure, disaster recovery (Disaster Recovery) and ongoing updates. All this is economically viable for a medium-sized manufacturers because of the high infrastructure and personnel costs is not “feasible, so Caurla.

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