A popular proverb says that you can only ever have two out of the following three product and service characteristics - good, cheap and fast. So pick two.
While for the most part we agree with this statement, when it comes to keeping your Pearson Packaging Systems machinery running smoothly, you can have it all!
Fast, Effective and Cost-Efficient Solutions for Packaging Equipment
Remote service support is not a second-class speculation or over-the-phone symptom checker anymore. Nor is it a security concern. In fact, technology has elevated remote service support to preferential status. It enables us to help you troubleshoot your automated packaging equipment immediately instead of organizing a service technician to fly out and visit your manufacturing facility, which could take, even under the best of circumstances, a day or two. While you save substantial travel costs, we are able to deploy in-field service technicians more readily to facilities in need of in-person support cutting down lead-times there as well.
Various technologies enable us to put our eyes on your machine and into the PLC to analyze faults and performance issues effectively and make modifications if necessary. If mechanical adjustments need to be made to your packaging machine, we will walk your maintenance technician through each step and verify if it generated the desired result.
Machine Problems, Remote Solutions
Remote service support does not fix all machine problems, nor is it the right answer to every service call placed to us. However, it is your first line of defense to:
- Avoid costly service visits where possible
- Avoid service delays due to scheduling and travel time
- Keep your operation running while waiting for parts or in-person support
- Shorten the time to a final resolution because the problem could be identified remotely and necessary parts are ordered before arriving at your facility
- Maintain ultimate flexibility to engage us when optimal for your schedule
- Benefit from continuous service as opposed to intermittent service trips
- Enjoy the support from a team of highly specialized experts instead of just one dedicated person traveling to your facility
Options For Remote Packaging Machine Servicing
Preparation is key for an effective remote service support session. Having the right technology available and ready to use facilitates speed to a reliable solution. While some technologies are widely used and accessible to almost anybody, others require some preparation before a machine downtime situation occurs and impacts your operation.
Currently we are utilizing the following technologies and continuously invest in identifying new and better ways to support you remotely:
Video For Live/Real-Time Support
It may sound fancy but all you need is a smart phone with video capability such as Apple’s Facetime or Android’s Duo. This enables you to walk up to the equipment and let our remote technician see various parts of the machine to diagnose the problem as well as verify the correct settings. This is a simple yet highly effective method to support your maintenance staff remotely.
Are you prepared? This support technology requires a wireless internet connection at the machine so you can talk and video chat with our technician.
Remote Windows Connections
Enable us to help you by using your computer and software applications. If your computer is connected to your machine’s PLC and you have the appropriate Allen Bradley software installed such as Studio 5000 or RSLogix 5000, we can guide you or take control of the troubleshooting process.
- Microsoft Teams: This is a communication and collaboration platform that enables face-to-face video meetings and desktop and file sharing. This platform is part of the Microsoft Office Suite and also available for mobile as a free app for both Apple and Android devices.
- ScreenConnect Remote Desktop: We send you a link to access a remote connection. Once you accept the invitation, we can remotely navigate your screen to look at your PLC and make necessary adjustments. Our access is terminated as soon as the remote connection is ended.
Are you prepared? These support technologies require you to have the appropriate Allen Bradley software license available to be able to make modifications to your PLC code. If you do not own a license or it is frequently in use and inaccessible to you, we recommend the next option: a remote access router.
Remote Access Routers
Unlike with a remote windows connection where we access your PLC using your computer and software, a remote access router allows us to support you when you don’t have the necessary Allen Bradley software available. After you initiate a VPN connection, we directly access your machine’s PLC and use our own software to read fault codes and make changes to the program if necessary. Since a VPN connection can only be initiated by you, the router can be turned off if not used and shared information is encrypted, your internal network is securely protected.
Are you prepared? To take advantage of this support mechanism, you need a router with a pre-programmed IP address. Pearson equipment comes standard with a remote access router but the IP address has to be provided by the customer. We will program your router during the machine build process to have it ready for when you may need it. If an IP address was not provided at that time, simply do so now. Send us your router and IP address and we will activate it for you. To retrofit your existing machines with remote access capability, we will follow the same process.
This camera package can be permanently installed on your machine or deployed just when needed; in either scenario you control access to the footage. If you don’t have cameras pre-deployed on your automation equipment, having a mobile camera set on-site is a good idea to quickly install it when and where you need it. The camera set can capture footage either in a continuous loop maintaining data for about one week or with a trigger option. In that case, a fault would prompt the digital video recorder to save the last 30 seconds of the footage prior to the fault’s occurrence. Video footage can be live, reviewed at specific time periods or downloaded for further analysis. Just like the remote access router, the DVR unit receives a local network IP address, which allows it to be accessed using remote connections via a router or other VPN connection. Contact our service department to inquire about a Camera/DVR package for your packaging machines.
Are you prepared? For this remote troubleshooting method, you need a camera/DVR kit, which can be purchased through Pearson.
Remote Access Using A Router
The majority of Pearson’s robotic equipment deployed over the past five years already has built-in remote service capability. Since 2020, all mechanical equipment including case erectors, case sealers or bliss formers come standard with this capability as well. Please note though that only programmed routers are ready to be used. We generally program your router during the build-phase of your machine. However, if an IP address was not provided, we were unable to do so. To verify if your router is properly activated or to start the activation, please contact our service department: 509-838-6226.
If your packaging equipment does not currently have remote access capability, but you would like to retrofit it, we are happy to help as well. It is a very simple process and does not usually require a service visit. After you provide us your desired IP address, we program your router and send it to you with installation and set-up instructions. In addition, please know that a single router has the capability to connect several machines. While you may want to have a router per machine, many of our customers also use one router for all Pearson machines per line or even facility.
Remote Access – A Safe Choice
For years, Remote Access has been gaining traction in the secondary packaging industry. However, despite the substantial benefits including reduced downtime and significant cost savings, some companies have been resistant due to network security concerns. IT departments, responsible for the integrity of corporate information, are particularly wary of outside access to their internal networks, machine controls and various data. However, accessibility restrictions, data encryption, customizable security settings and activity monitoring ensure the security of this remote support technology.
- Only designated devices are remotely accessible: Only the machines intentionally connected to the router are accessible to the OEM – other machines and devices are not.
- Only outbound connections can be initiated While information can be exchanged between the router-equipped machines and the OEM support team, only machine owners can initiate a connection.
- Shared information is encrypted: The VPN tunnel through which information travels is encrypted which prevents communication from being “readable” at any point along the transmission path. Pearson Packaging Systems does not store or monitor any content. Machine or system information is only available to the designated users on either end of the connection in real time.
- Security settings are customizable: Unique logins enable you to tailor user access rights to best suit your company’s needs. With the ability to grant access to specific employees – and with varying levels of privileges - only designated team members can view, initiate, monitor or control account and connection settings on a machine-by-machine basis.
- User activities are monitored by administrators: Additionally, connection history records containing login information like date, time and session duration are available. This level of visibility enables administrators to monitor remote access activities and oversee login frequency to better manage users.
For more information about the security of remote access routers, please download this white paper.
Rely on Pearson for Remote Machine Service Support
You can count on our experienced technicians for support from afar. Contact our service department for assistance on any of your Pearson packaging machines.