Remote management maintains pandemic production
It is surprising how well companies and employees have adapted to home working and the changing pattern of demand. According to Schneider Electric, remote management helped over 200 of their factories worldwide to maintained production whilst keeping workers safe.
Existing remote management solutions have helped producers in smart ways for little investment. Technologies like artificial intelligence augmented reality and remote access were key to maintaining production during the pandemic. Moreover, for critical industries like food and beverage and water utilities, solutions based on these technologies helped in several ways:
– Maintaining production while still meeting new health regulations such as the need for social distancing and not touching equipment.
– Allowing workers to access external support, expertise and training while still meeting travel restrictions.
– Providing real-time access to remote experts for troubleshooting advice in the event of problems.
Seen before as ‘nice to have’ gadgets, they have become essential to help maintain social distancing and cut the number of people on site. For example, during the pandemic, more than 200 Schneider Electric factories worldwide maintained production whilst keeping workers safe.
What do we mean by remote management?
Remote management strategies can encompass different levels of ‘remoteness’, for example:
- Maintaining social distancing by being away from a machine or other people, and not touching the screen or equipment.
- Operating a plant from the office area so that you can have fewer people on the plant floor.
- Managing operations from the other side of the country with a Unified Operations Center.
Similarly, implementing remote management solutions helps recovery by allowing fewer people to do more. Different types of solutions help users on the path to remote operations
As with any IIoT project, cybersecurity is the first thing you need to consider for remote management. A non-intrusive IT connection helps establish remote connectivity with your existing infrastructure. Furthermore, it does not need major changes to the control systems.
Applications and analytics
This step is about putting operational analysis and insights into the hands of those who need them by using EcoStruxure advisors and software. An example of this is the augmented reality (AR) solution for operating and troubleshooting. Superimposing information on a real-world view of the plant, allows operators to access different parts of the plant from on or off-site.
Partnering with a good technology provider is key to getting the most value and addressing your business challenges. Using AR remote support tools, helps inexperienced operators do the same work as experienced operators. This allows fewer people to be onsite. It also frees up more experienced workers to do high-value work in the business.
Products like EcoStruxure remote management are a smart business investment for today’s manufacturing. They help address many of the issues of the health crisis for plants and improve productivity going forward.
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