Remote maintenance in industry - more than just a question of the right VPN router
Absolutely secure implementation of remote access and remote maintenance solutions – boost efficiency and get up to date quickly
Plant manufacturers are increasingly becoming required to act as the operators of their products and they offer the production capacity to potential customers in a managed service model. They depend on the reliability and availability of their machines more than ever before, with preventive maintenance being replaced by a condition-based approach to planning and implementation.
Condition-based maintenance is based on constantly monitoring the condition of components during operation. Components are not replaced until this becomes necessary due to wear, i.e. the goal is the longest possible duration of use of components.
Remote maintenance of industrial plants boosts productivity
Studies have shown that condition-based maintenance can help reduce production shutdowns by between 16 and 36%, cutting maintenance costs by 15 - 23% and downtimes by 20 - 35%. According to other figures, a correctly implemented maintenance organisation using condition-monitoring strategies can even cut maintenance costs by up to 40%, assuming that over 80% of companies currently use preventative maintenance to avoid “surprising” failures. But this does not exploit the maximum possible degree of wear, effectively giving away production time and savings potential.
A second major area is remote access to machines to adjust configurations, recipes etc. and thus implement flexible operation for various customers.
Common fields of application of remote maintenance in industry
- Repair on demand
Machine components remain in use until they fail.
- Preventive maintenance
Machines and components are inspected/serviced/replaced at certain intervals, irrespective of their condition.
- Condition-based maintenance
The condition of components is permanently monitored during operation of industrial plants. It is possible to plan and reduce downtime for replacement, as the goal is the longest possible duration of use of components, reducing the use of replacement parts.
Secure networking is essential for successful remote services
Efficient control and monitoring of operation, use and the condition of what may be a globally distributed production plant park and machines is only possible if all of the sites are fully networked.
As is the case with any IoT or Industry 4.0 project, there is the question of the security of the electronic data storage and transmission, compatibility of systems, interfaces, transmission standards and applications. Manufacturers and users have justified and growing security concerns when it comes to remote maintenance solutions. In the event of an attack on the machine network there is a risk of production details being manipulated, crucial know-how being stolen, plants being shut down or destroyed, malfunctions being programmed, or commercially detrimental communications being published, to name but a few of the risks.
Industrial security concepts in accordance with IEC 62443
The IEC 62443 (international series of standards on “Industrial communication networks – network and system security”) is one approach to solving these problems in connection with remote maintenance. An IT security concept is initially defined on the basis of a comprehensive risk assessment and an analysis of the current situation. This is followed by the development of implementation measures on the technical and organisational level.
We assist you with all of the subtasks and help you establish a concept that is customised to suit your company.
Benefit from an optimised remote maintenance solution
Absolutely secure technological implementation is our area of expertise – allowing you to concentrate on the efficient use of your remote access processes!
We have developed a toolkit for retrofitting your existing machines or installing new machines and production facilities that protects your know-how and processes. On a technological level, the Fully Protected Security Ecosystem offers you a solution that can be adapted to suit a wide range of applications and is also scalable. This allows segmentation of your IT systems into individual zones, grouped by risk class, with a multi-stage security concept providing effective protection of these zones in accordance with the high standards demanded by IEC 62443. Among other things, you benefit from:
- Centrally managed identity management
- Data encryption
- Protection of the network connections between the zones as well as within them
- Securing the firmware of the ecosystem against espionage and unauthorised modification
Making key functions of your IT system available offline and buffering data makes it possible to bridge connection disruptions due to attacks on your network that aim to restrict availability.
Use the leading “Fully Protected Security Ecosystem” for your M2M applications and 100% secure remote maintenance.
We are your development partner, with over 35 years of expertise in highly individualized industrial machine and process control systems with a unique hardware and software product portfolio for initial installation and retrofitting.
Harald Hoffmann is Senior Consultant at Janz Tec in Dresden, Germany. Prior to that, he spent several years working as a systems engineer and project manager in the aerospace industry. His main areas of expertise include software development, industrial security and systems engineering. He is happy to provide you with comprehensive advice and will work with you to develop your individual industrial transformation strategy.