Holding the threads in their hand

Holding the threads in their hand

How the embroidery machine manufacturer Lässer AG uses the cloudbased remote access u-link

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In the past, service assignments were a fixed component of the daily work routine for the Swiss embroidery machine manufacturer Lässer. If a customer ordered a machine, the machine specialist had to be on the site latest in the event of a fault or for maintenance. Today this is done from the company headquarter in Switzerland, because Lässer can access machines through the u-link remote access service, regardless of their location.

When fashion with sophisticated embroidery is presented on international catwalks, Lässer has often contributed to the success of the collections. With 180 employees, the family-owned company is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high performance embroidery machines. To embroider the filigree yarn works of arts precisely to different materials such as silk, cotton or tulle the up to 30-metre-long machines must guarantee accuracy and smooth running.

For the reliability after the purchase Lässer maintains a high standard of service, because machine downtimes are a high cost factor for plant operators. But on-site assignments by technicians are uneconomical in the digital age.

The availability of specialists as well as the trip to the plant operator if necessary is cost intensive and time consuming. Consequently, for maintaining Lässer’s embroidery machines u-link, the remote access service from Weidmüller, will be used. Lässer has the possibility to access machines worldwide and across national borders.

The simplified service

The service technician’s computer has a VPN client, which provides a secure, outbound connection to a meeting point server (cloud server). Via this meeting point server, an outbound secure VPN tunnel is established from an industrial security router on the operator’s machine.

Lässer uses the industrial security router from Weidmüller in every one of its embroidery machines. A total of several hundred router is already installed. In the event of a failure, the machine operator can decide whether and when Lässer can access a machine. If the service technician logged into the u-link portal, he can see which industrial security router has an established VPN connection to the meeting point server. Now he can connect to the router and can see the system visualisation as well as parameters of the controller. For example, he can recognise in which program section the machine has failed. By the remote access Lässer significantly reduces the time between reporting an error to the service team and the restart of the machine. Also regular updates of the machines are running now by default using the remote access service.

Extensive testing desired

The desire for remote access already existed, when Peter Hirt, Segment Manager Machinery & Automation Sales at Weidmüller, visited Lässer in May 2016 for the first time.

Patrik Schwarz, software developer and project manager at Lässer, was convinced of u-link in practice and took the decision for this solution. He tested the functions of u-link in advance with a sample router and a test access to the webapplication.

During system design and set-up regular skype conferences between Lässer and Weidmüller were held to discuss important issues, such as the allocation of rights or the firewall settings. Even specific requirements of the swiss company, like a configuration and control of the router via the machine control, were implemented.

Data security as well as the location of the servers were a topic in the initial planning phase, because frequently providers of remote maintenance solutions host their cloud servers in countries whose data protection laws do not comply with the German standard. All servers that u-link accesses, are based in Western Europe and meet all the relevant security standards. Additionally, Weidmüller currently is the only provider that offers a secure VPN connection to China.

For an extensive project like this consistent information is the basis for a successful cooperation. In case of uncertainties Patrik Schwarz and Peter Hirt always established the direct contact to the right contact person.

Today the remote access solution is continuously improved by the close relation between Lässer and Weidmüller. Recently, for example, an interface was implemented from u-link portal to controllers and the development portal to configure the router. The further development of customer service is an important future topic for Lässer.

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