28-06-2012 | News
Based in suburban Chicago, MAAC Machinery is the world’s largest maker of thermoforming machinery. Designing, building and supporting thermoforming machines (shuttle and rotary) and a full line of companion products, their machines are used around the globe. Industries served range from aerospace to medical to automotive and into our homes via bath/shower systems and appliances.MAAC’s Director of Technical Services, Leslie Adams has witnessed a virtual explosion of automation control technology. As a 30+ year industry veteran, he has devoted the past 27 years to making MAAC machines best of class. He’s been part of electronic automation since the very beginning and he’s had a part in the development of many breakthrough products. And eWON’s industrial routers are on the top of his list.
According to Mr. Adams, “The communications provided by an eWON VPN router is simply incredible. Using an internet connection we can connect to machines just about anywhere.” With clients on every continent, anywhere is important. “We have established secure VPN connections with our machines in Calgary, Minnesota, North Carolina and Montreal in the past few weeks alone. As long as the customer has an internet connection – we’re good to go. It eliminates the need for any kind of special interface.” Further, eWON’s unique approach to VPN remote access allows this connection without any impact to the client’s IT department.
eWON’s unique remote access solution allows MAAC to connect to machines in the field with the same ease and flexibility as a machine in their shop. This includes remote access to PLC’s, Drives and HMI devices and any other device connected to the machine subnet including an IP camera and all in real time. This is really helpful to troubleshoot the issue and provide a fast solution to customers.
In the days before eWON, MAAC Machinery used phone modems to connect to their machines. While in theory the system works, phones modem delay time was an issue. “I remember the frustration associated with trying to monitor machines when it took a long time for information to make its way back via the modem connection. In one instance, we were working with a machine in Australia and the delay ran up to 15 seconds”, recalls Adams. “Thankfully, eWON takes that completely out of the game.”
Further, MAAC has been able to substantially improve customer service in important developing economies like China, India, Australia and other Pacific Rim nations. James Alongi, MAAC’s President, shared the following perspective: “Those of us in the U.S. and Canada take solid phone infrastructure for granted. This is not true in other parts of the globe. The eWON VPN router gets our customers away from the cost of running special phone lines into their manufacturing facility. With eWON product, we have the flexibility to service our machinery using the best communication technology available locally whether it is internet, cellular, or anything else.”
In addition to the pesky 15 second delay, when you use modems – the record keeping associated with knowing the right phone number for each customer’s machine is a challenge. By applying eWON and their companion Talk2M cloud service, record keeping is eliminated. The Talk2M servers keeps track of each machine with the customer location and machine type and allows the user to manage who has access to which machine on any given day.
The ability to remotely monitor, troubleshoot and fine tune machine parameters via the internet has an impact on MAAC’s ability to support their customers in a cost effective manner. Leslie commented, “With eWON we eliminate 50-70% of our support cost, in addition to significantly reducing hours of machine downtime normally associated with waiting for a service technician. Travel time wasted on field trips equates to a lot of money. Sitting in airports and driving out to customer installations means a whole lot of unproductive time. Time we prefer our programmers spend working on new machines or fine tuning existing systems. When these guys are gone – they simply aren’t working on the important stuff.”
The cost of air fares add up. The wear and tear of travel on the human body is monumental. And often intermittent issues go unsolved until the next visit. This very point allows MAAC’s use of the eWON router to shine. In a parting quip, Leslie commented, “All during our phone chat I have been monitoring a machine in California which may have a problem. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to do that just a few months ago. I just saved another trip with eWON. We just began implementation of the eWON products a few months ago, but I can see a time when they will save us a dozen or more trips every year.”
Key benefits for MAAC using eWON routers:
- Securely connect and troubleshoot any machine anywhere
- Easy to setup and deploy at customer with no impact to customer IT network
- Skip many trips and save more than 50% of support cost
- Immediate assistance to customer