The more heterogeneous the machinery, the more complex the maintenance. A machine builder uses a retrofit-ready, secure remote management system for its customers that can also record, document and securely send data from the Industrial IoT (Internet of Things). It simplifies remote access to controls and plantsmaking maintenance processes more efficient.
The problem: Heterogeneous plants make maintenance costly
Machines and plants in industry are long-lived, operating times of 20-30 years are not uncommon. With regular maintenance, the machines and plants will function without problems for decades. New machines are only purchased by industrial companies when production is expanded or new requirements necessitate replacement.
This is a challenge for manufacturers, especially with a global sales market. A machine builder that manufactures product solutions for the agricultural and food industries must consider numerous product generations for its maintenance processes. Some have built-in devices for remote maintenance, but many older machines do not.
This makes maintenance costly and inefficient. For example, technicians often have to travel long distances, which leads to high costs and is only feasible with difficulty during the Corona crisis anyway. So what the company is looking for is a comprehensive solution for remote monitoring and maintenance that works regardless of the age and equipment of the machines. At the same time, it is important to the manufacturer to guarantee and automate the legally compliant documentation of the maintenance processes and to increase the security level.
The solution: Retrofit remote monitoring independent of technology
The software solution se.MIS™ (sematicon Maintenance Information Solution) was developed in a development partnership between Munich-based sematicon AG and security specialist CyProtect AG and offers a secure industrial remote management solution for accessing control systems and plants.
Access is secured according to the latest standards, both for the company’s own employees and for external technicians. The security concept includes not installing software on the target system and using a risky VPN (Virtual Private Network). The communication and data to be sent can also be additionally protected with strong encryption. This also guarantees the integrity, authenticity and security of data and digital processes.
By means of various hardware modules that are connected to the machines, non-network-capable machines and plants can also be integrated into the infrastructure. This enables secure access to a large number of networked and not-yet-networked machines. The age and software version of the target systems are of secondary importance. Access to legacy systems works without problems, as the existing connections are translated into modern protocols.
The software can be used locally, in the company’s own data center or in the cloud. It is operated via a simple web interface. As with IT systems, there is a secure rights management system that precisely controls access. A digital maintenance log records all processes automatically and can be supplemented with photos and documents. It generates a gapless log of all internal and external accesses to a machine, including video. In this way, the solution also provides the operator with legal certainty.
The result: Optimize and plan maintenance processes
Overall, maintenance and servicing have become easier. Customers experienced less production downtime due to the optimized and planned maintenance processes. The digital maintenance log ensures that maintenance procedures are now fully traceable through se.MIS™ and provide legal certainty in the event of a claim. In addition, the company has sustainably reduced costs by partially eliminating travel.
The unified system is easy to use and does not require staff to be trained on different processes. Scheduling maintenance windows helps minimize plant downtime. Solutions are sought online and technicians also provide instructions via the remote maintenance connection.
For further expansion, the solution offers additional options, for example the connection of condition monitoring solutions to determine the current machine status or anomalies and faults. Predictive maintenance is also possible, in which adaptive algorithms detect malfunctions at an early stage and a maintenance order is then created fully automatically for the responsible technician via se.MIS™.