Let’s Talk Maintenance: Remote Support When You Need It

Man wearing a green shirt smiling in front of two computer monitors.

Adam Dittbenner, E&I Service Manager | March 2, 2021

Next, I want to talk to you about another service that can be provided, an E&I service, mainly instrumentation. This service is unique in the fact that it can actually fix issues inside of a plant without a person actually being at the plant. This is remote instrumentation support is what this is. And what this involves is remoting into the network of a facility, connecting through a HART card instead of inside of the PLC. And then, ultimately, connecting to a HART device through that card and talking to that device and troubleshooting that device and configuring that device. The traditional method of doing that is to actually come on-site, hook up a HART communicator device, and perform all that work in front of the device. But this is now able to be done remotely with HART instruments which are very common. HART-enabled IO cards, which we'll show here in a little bit, and then simply a VPN connection to the plant as well. The value of this service is it allows for quicker troubleshooting, less mobilization costs, and no need to bring outside personnel into a plant.

I wanted to share an actual story with you of how it was used and applied in a facility here. Recently, we had one of our clients call us up recently, and they're having issues reading the right amount of level in one of their solvent storage tanks. The level was supposed to be 10, and they were reading roughly 17. This facility was a long way away from any of our technicians, and the plant needed help immediately. So how we actually used instrumentation support to help this client is we remoted into their system they gave us VPN access. We then connected into that instrument and was able to communicate with that instrument obviously without being on-site. In communicating with that instrument, we were able to pull up the echo curve for it, something I showed you in one of the demos earlier, and we were able to see what the issue was. We were able to see that the echo curve was locking onto a false echo, thus resulting in an erroneous reading, an improper, incorrect reading. So, while we were connected to the device, we were simply able to perform false echo suppression, also known as mapping, on that false echo, and all of a sudden, the device started working properly. It locked on to the proper echo in the tank, which was the liquid level in the tank. We had the client double-check our work by putting more product in the tank and, raising the level, and taking some product out, making sure the level measurement went back down. And it worked like a gem and their issue was solved. So, I just wanted to share that example of how these can actually be applied to real-life situations and quickly and efficiently fix real-life issues for our clients.