by Eric Koenig
The ability for a Field Service Technician to view and access a machine’s control system remotely can help troubleshoot and solve an estimated 60% to 70% of operating problems, avoiding the need for support personnel to travel across town – or the world.
The types of problems that can derail production often don’t require fixing the machine as much as tweaking its programming. With remote connectivity, it’s not just the cost of travel that’s saved; speedy issue resolution means less downtime and a faster return to full production for the end user. On occasions when an in-person service call is required, remote visibility can ensure that the person with the right skills, parts and tools is scheduled.
Remote access strategies have intensified in recent years as the packaging industry faces continued loss of subject matter experts to retirement. Machine builders are also realizing that remote access opens up an avenue to be proactive and offer preventive services on behalf of their customers.
One unique approach to enabling secure remote machine access over the Internet is using an outbound VPN connection. This connection helps reduce the need to involve Information Technology (IT) departments while fulfilling IT security expectations. Most firewall configurations and policies require no changes to accommodate outbound, encrypted VPN tunnels. This method also adds a logical network segregation, ensuring that the remote technician does not have access to the factory Local Area Network (LAN) and can only reach the device(s) connected behind the remote access router.
Customers may want to prevent continual remote access by disconnecting the machine from the LAN and only connect during a period when it is authorized. Disconnecting the machine from LAN is not essential for security, but it gives the customer physical control over machine accessibility and duration. When remote connectivity is based on a volume-dependent pricing option, such as cellular technology, it can be desirable to establish the connection and pay only when necessary.
The outbound VPN connection solution has been pioneered by Ewon since 2001 and has been tested and adopted by a large majority of machine builders from all over the world.
Remote Troubleshooting with Douglas Machine
Douglas Machine offers our customers the option to add Ewon to their machine, allowing a secure encrypted VPN connection between the Ewon and Douglas.
There are many benefits to allowing remote connectivity, including:
- Cost reduction
- Production increase
- Eliminate downtime
- Reduction in travel cost
- Deliver real-time technical data to a technician
- Technician can run advanced troubleshooting tools
- Advanced data and recipe collections and analysis availability
- Code updates and upgrades can be completed remotely
- Faster troubleshooting
- Monitor machine performance
Contact Douglas Technical Services today to learn more about the benefits of remote troubleshooting and how we can partner with you for all of your secondary packaging needs.