Envitech recently launched a new Service Program to provide scrubber operators with a knowledgeable and responsive resource to keep their air pollution control equipment functioning properly. One of the service program options is true 24-7 remote plant coverage that connects operators directly with our service staff. To be able to offer this service as a small business requires both dedication from our service team and implementation of the latest service technology. In this post, we discuss the technologies we rely upon to offer this service.
In the last year, Envitech has stepped up its use of FaceTime to remotely communicate with service technicians. For those unfamiliar with the technology, FaceTime is an Apple application that connects users by video through their mobile phone. Below are screen shots of a FaceTime connection using WiFi.
Envitech has found that the quality of this technology has improved such that engineers can remotely direct technicians through troubleshooting, calibration, or simple repairs.
For scrubber operators equipped with an Apple product, FaceTime provides an immediate and direct method to connect to our service technicians. FaceTime's realtime video technology lets Envitech technicians see the issue, direct the repair, and confirm a successful outcome, all without the cost and downtime of a site visit.
Envitech has invested heavily in PLC and HMI training for its engineers. All of our engineers are capable of minor modifications of PLC logic, online changes to HMI screens, and trending data through PLC software. Until recently, this level of assistance was not available remotely. Older peer to peer technologies were not sufficiently reliable to allow logic interface. HMI screens were typically built remotely and uploaded onsite by a qualified operator. Trending was often not available "live" and had to be downloaded and transmitted by a trained software specialist.
Envitech purchased GoToAssist in 2014 to connect our engineers to our startup teams. GoToAssist is a Citrix product that connects the user to a remote computer by invitation. Upon acceptance of a connection, the remote engineer can manipulate the local computer. Below is a photo of the GoToAssist software from the engineer's perspective.
Envitech has found the software to be tremendously useful, reducing our startup team sizes, shaving days off the startup schedule, and increasing the accessibility of our variety of engineering talent. Customers have caught on, seeing how quickly and effectively we can make programming changes remotely to improve their process, and have requested this as an add-on service. To date, we have logged over 125 support session with customers totaling more than 400 hours of remote troubleshooting using GoToAssist.
Some of the tasks our customers have enjoyed using remote troubleshooting via GoToAssist include:
- Rescaling ranges within the logic for replacement instruments
- Trending process and control variables to tune control loops
- Revising HMI screens live with operator feedback
- Downloading operational data for analysis
- Adjusting stoking frequencies for incinerators and cleaning frequencies for WESPs
Web-Based O&M Manual
Historically, the use of O&M manuals has been the first option for maintenance and troubleshooting for the operator. In the past ten years, component manufacturers with standard products have begun to offer their manuals via web access. Our engineers and service technicians made use of this offering by frequently downloading a specific manual online for troubleshooting an equipment issue.
Still, most system integrators or custom manufacturers like Envitech have only delivered "binder" manuals or large PDF electronic files. The problem with this approach is that the "binder" manuals are not very portable or sortable and often get lost or damaged. Large PDF electronic files are often electronically misplaced and forgotten. The result is that operators are scraping ID tags for model numbers or replacing equipment without a thought to troubleshooting or repair.
Seeing the ease of use online manuals from component manufacturers has provided, Envitech challenged itself to produce an online manual for its custom manufacturered equipment. Starting with projects ordered in 2015, Envitech has produced an online manual for its customers. The feedback to date has been positive, and we intend to extend this benefit to all customers via our service plan.
If you are interested in learning more about our Service Program and other features and benefits of using Envitech for your scrubber maintenance, press the buttom below.