The New Era of RemoteSupport Is Here To Stay
Real-time remote collaborations with SMEs enable effective hardware and software installations, effectively reducing risksand time spent in the field.
by Stephen Armstrong
The impact of COVID- 19 on manufacturing fa- cilities has been significant. While offices across America have largely pivoted to online plat- forms for web-based collaborations betweencolleagues, the industrial sector has also had to contendwith how to safely startup and commission process controlsystems in their facilities which have traditionally requiredtimely on-site interventions and communications withproduct experts.
Commissioning a process control system requires ex-
tensive collaborations between an on-site field team and
their vendors whose engineering support teams have been
largely working remotely. The challenge for vendors has
been how to continue to support their customers with ef-
fective training and mentoring. According to ARC indus-
try reports, human error is the primary cause of 42% of
abnormal events and a secondary contributing cause in
over 65% of the cases, so there can be no training or sup-
Advances in both hardware and software tools enable
remote mentoring to be possible where expert knowl-
edge can be delivered to reduce risks and ensure effective
startups. This now includes intelligent wearable devices
that enable remote experts to see what a field technician
sees when working on hardware in a facility. With such
advancements, it is now possible for a single remote ex-
pert to assist multiple people and facilities at the same time
Accelerated by the working constraints caused by thepandemic, the adoption of these technologies is now suggesting a bigger role for remote-based training and support of manufacturing and process control system needsafter the pandemic is over.
One company that has embraced the capabilities of remote support even before the pandemic is Quakertown,Pennsylvania-based NovaTech Automation—a leadingprovider of procedural automation solutions for the past30 years whose patented software is used in high-risk government applications.