April 17, 2015

Monitoring Equipment throughout North America

MPW Industrial Water Services provides mobile water filtration sys-tems to customers across the United States and Canada. Its equipment is powered and operated by programmable logic controllers (PLC) and a human machine interfaces (HMI). Ideally, everything is controlled automatically with minimMal human operation.

Since its equipment can be thousands of miles away, MPW Industrial Water requires a software solution that enables engineers and managers to remotely login so they can evaluate how the systems are working and ensure that equipment is functioning properly. Many of MPW’s employees in the field at client sites aren’t tech savvy, so MPW sought an application that was not only effective, but simple to use. For a while, the company tried another well-known re-mote access solution, but it proved too burdensome for many users and only offered weak connectivity.

That’s when MPW Industrial Water Services turned to TeamViewer. Joshua Nye, an applications engineer, had used TeamViewer previously, and was involved in its selection. While a few employees had already been using TeamViewer it was in March 2010 when the majority of MPW began using the software. According to Nye, from the very beginning it was apparent that it would solve all their remote access needs. “TeamViewer puts you in front of equipment that can be thousands of miles away in the blink of an eye. It’s simple to use and works flawlessly.” There are about 75 TeamViewer users, most of whom have little or no computer expertise. Nye says that TeamViewer’s step by step instructions make it a breeze to install.

Likewise, its intuitive interface has been universally well received by employees who’ve used the program. Unlike the company’s experience with its previous solution, MPW appreciates that TeamViewer provides one ID that doesn’t change, and there are no addition-al charges every time users log in from different IP addresses.

Due to the company’s security policy files can’t be sent by email, so TeamViewer’s virtual private network (VPN) capability is a key feature that’s important to the company. “TeamViewer’s secure connection is really important to us as we often transfer files remotely,” Nye says. “It’s very reassuring to know that the license servers can be easily accessed by employees without the entire server being exposed.”

For every client site it’s critical that MPW’s equipment and water filtration system are functioning 24/7, as downtime means lost revenue and productivity and a host of other problems. Should malfunctioning occur and the system shuts down, an automatic alarm system notifies operators through email alerts, even in the dead of night. Operators can then use TeamViewer to diagnose the situation. Applications engineers such as Nye can then analyze screenshots and work with those on site by phone to remedy the problem. The fact that TeamViewer eliminates the need for MPW system experts to travel to client sites—even in downtime situations—is invaluable.

“Without TeamViewer, I’d be on the road all the time,” says Nye. “It literally saves us thousands of man hours a year traveling all over the country. When you think about the cost dollar-wise, the savings are astronomi-cal.” The fact that it’s easy to use has also saved a good deal of training and ramp-up time.

“With our prior solution users couldn’t log in without access to the host files, but TeamViewer handles all the little, behind-the-scenes things,” Nye says. It’s made training users a simple process. When MPW was using their prior solution, it took users on average from 45 minutes to an hour to get the remote access going. One time Nye recalls working with an employee for four hours. The program proved much too complicated for users who weren’t used to computer tasks.

But that’s all changed these days, Nye says. “TeamViewer is very quick. Its Management Console is very intuitive. Most people can get sessions started in five to ten minutes, even those who have minimal experience on a computer.”

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