Home > Linked in: Staying in touch with the factory and plant

Linked in: Staying in touch with the factory and plant

Supplier News
article image

Most mining plants and factories now include complex machines with software and systems geared around automation. 

In such environments maintenance and repair is increasingly calling for specialised personnel. 

And in some cases only one manufacturer can provide the right service. 

With the skills shortage already crippling the industry, and skilled workers getting harder to find, specialised maintenance looks set to hit companies hard in the future. 

Whether large or small, the constant pressure on mine production means companies are always looking for systems to operate more efficiently and economically. 

Downtimes not only hit the bottom line, but also risk worker safety and a company's reputation. 

According to Phoenix Contact with maintenance of automatic systems becoming increasingly difficult, miners and amnufacturers are now linking their plants to the equipment manufacturer via the internet. 

This link enables them to get quick support from the original equipment manufacturers and save time and money. 

In a statement Phoenix said companies were primarily focused on cost, security, bandwidth, availability, and service when setting up a ­remote maintenance link.  

It said it had expanded its FLMGuard security appliances, which can solve simple routing and remote maintenance applications, to address those needs. 

Phoenix said the FLMGuard also provided a firewall to ensure a safe link over the internet. 

The company said in the era of the Stuxnet worm, which attacks ­automation systems, protection from the outside was particularly important. 
Phoenix said its FLMGuard had systems built-in to "work just like an anti-virus sensor". 

"Operators can thus run firewalls in parallel to achieve maximum protection of their systems in a way not previously possible," it said. 

When it works well a remote maintenance link offers several ­benefits to a mining company. 

The biggest are savings on outsourcing and warranty costs, with both the miner and manufacturer able to cut down on driving or flying experts on site. 

"The cost for travelling to and from the machine location as well as the working hours can almost be halved if the manufacturer draws on the possibility of remote maintenance," Phoenix says. 

In a statement Phoenix said while companies "generally cannot afford to have an expert on staff for each of the different systems" linking to external workers represented an "attractive, economically viable alternative". 

Newsletter sign-up

The latest products and news delivered to your inbox