The HEUFT TeleService
- the next step!
Since data communication between computers via radio or telephone has become technically possible technicians and programmers have enthused about the fast and direct possibilities available to find and rectify faults. At the same time as remote maintenance became established in office-oriented data processing technology in the nineties, the first modem connections between micro controllers in machines and PCs also originated in the offices of the developers.
But the goal to maintain and repair machines on-line was not attained. Even today most installations aim at adapting PLC programs after their installation via remote data transmission to the conditions on site and to remove program faults. Even so the saving in cost and time for the developer should not be underrated.
As a rule the possibilities are limited when repair or maintenance is necessary. These systems provide bits and bytes from the program memory but they do not provide data in their operational context. The contents can be interpreted by the developers but they give little insight into the status of the machine to the maintenance and service personnel.
Therefore a teleservice system must integrate analysis tools, event recording and appropriate views of the sensor technology in the machines and from the teleservice terminals logically. Access to the complete history such as stored parameter settings, operating protocols and reports by those technicians involved is essential for a successful application.
The integration of remote sites such as those of the developers, project engineers and service technicians as well as the databases of the technical services department in the teleservice process can produce a significant increase to efficiency. When considering the costs this can only be effectively carried via the Internet.
HEUFT implements this decisive step towards integration with the new PILOT TeleService system following the "point to point communication technology" used up to now.
The new 19 inch GATEWAY server has the main position in the bottling plant. It represents the central link between inspection devices, office network and teleservice connection. Professional technology with separate network strands for the office and industrial Ethernet areas ensures the efficient and above all safe exchange of data. Information is only passed across the integrated firewall and routing function to those areas of a network which have received clearance. TeleService access to the Internet can only be initiated from the PILOT machine terminals. Dialling in or connecting from outside or access to other Internet connections from the plant are out of the question due to security reasons.
The central teleserver at the HEUFT office is the relay centre for all TeleService enquiries. All enquiries arrive there. When logging on the customer and device name are transferred together with the device status list which may include possible fault messages. The technicians also see immediately in which language the customer wishes to communicate and the nature of the problem.
Authorized HEUFT technicians can link up with the teleserver via the Internet and accept service enquiries from all over the world. On the one hand this eases the situation at head office and on the other hand it enables all the HEUFT companies to attend to their customers themselves via the TeleService.
The system establishes the contact between the technician and the device in question. The connection enables the technician to have complete access to the operation of the machine as though he was on site himself. He can retrieve parameters as well as adjust and retrieve the analysis tools such as the logic analyzer and oscilloscope in the devices. The status of the signals can be seen just as clearly as the live pictures from the image processing systems. The history of the device, the parameter settings and the original spare parts lists can be read directly from the device itself.
As a rule the participants contact each other by telephone during a TeleService conference. The system acts as mediator for service enquiries from all over the world if a local competent technician is not available. Therefore in an emergency technicians from other areas are at hand. Using a standard multi-lingual system of questions and answers the technician and user can communicate even if they do not speak the same language. Written questions, for example in English, are displayed in the chosen language on site at the machine terminal. The answer selected by the user from the list of answers is available to the technician in English.
Furthermore the system actively supports the preparation of reports up to the final account.
Data transfer via the Internet is cost-effective - this is a well-known fact.
In comparison to a point-point connection, which is generally charged at long distance rates, only the relatively low Internet dialling fees are payable. What is not generally known is that the TCP/IP connection via the Internet is significantly less susceptible to interference than a point-to-point connection.
Using the TeleService is expressed in Euros and Cents. The investment pays for itself due to fewer visits being involved when considering the direct and indirect travelling expenses depending on the distance to the nearest service station.
The figures are even clearer when the loss of production is also calculated due to the technician´s travelling time!
Not every problem can be solved via the TeleService even if a trained employee is on site who can replace parts according to the TeleService technician´s instructions. However even the HEUFT service technician´s visit is more efficient and can be optimally planned if the fault has been previously analysed by the TeleService:
the chosen expert - the necessary spare parts - in a nutshell, the correct basis for professional action.