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software case study


A1X Automation was asked to develop a remote monitoring system for machines deployed around the world. The customer wanted a way to monitor, troubleshoot and do predictive maintenance on the machines during and after they were installed. They wanted to collect cycle data, get real time alarms and analyze the cycle data off line. When a machine had an issue, they wanted to know about it before the customer. They also wanted a way to isolate the problem remotely, so the customer could be assisted with problem resolution and if parts were needed, the right part could be shipped the first time.

The first step was to determine how to connect the machines to the web. A1X solved this issue by designing a network system relying on VPN from the machines back to our customer's site. A1X designed and deployed the hardware and software needed to create the network connections to the machines in the field. A1X also designed the configuration plans to deal with the multitude of LANs the machines would live on. Many times the machines would live behind routers whose job it was to prevent outside access. A1X devised strategies to deal with each of these situations ensuring that the machines could be monitored and could serve data to the central server.

The second step was to create the applications that would live on the machine and serve data. These applications were written in IEC-61131 control languages, VB.NET and C#. All of the applications had to interface to a web based server that processed their data.

The third step was a web based server with a control panel the customer could use to configure how the data was presented, stored, processed and routed. A1X created all of the applications for the server and maintains this server for the customer.

The system was designed and deployed over 8 months and has saved countless trips to the far ends of the globe to troubleshoot machine problems. Alarms from each machine are processed in real time and routed to appropriate engineer, vendor or maintenance person for quick analysis.

Process logs are stored in a central server for off-line analysis of more complex issues and long term analysis of component wear and machine performance.

The result is our customer has a maintenance department about 1/10 the size of what would be expected for such a large scale roll out.

A1X Automation, LLC. | 1311 Larc Industrial Blvd | Burnsville, MN 55337 | Copyright 2009