30 Oct

Tools That Enable Remote Support

Tools That Enable Remote Support

One of Synergy’s standard support services is that of remote support, which allows our expert engineers to take control of a client’s computer. Regardless of the time of day, or the location of an engineer, updates, repairs and maintenance on control systems can be performed. While there are certain things that cannot be addressed remotely, a large number can. Remote access saves clients time and money when engineers don’t need to travel in order to immediately address site issues.

Synergy has been using a service called LogMeIn for remote access at various client sites. LogMeIn is a web-based application, meaning our engineers can use any computer with internet access to control a computer at a client site.

Recently, we looked into a complimentary service from eWON. Their units provide VPN remote access for PLC systems without the need to install much hardware on a client site. So long as the engineer has a computer with eWON software installed at their location, they can access the PLC system remotely.

The benefits of LogMeIn and eWON are undeniable. We call them complimentary because, where one may have a slight limitation, the other fills the need and vice versa. With LogMeIn, an engineer can access a PLC from any computer with internet access. However, in order to do their job, a PC with the correct software must be installed at a client site. In the case of eWON, only a computer with the right software installed can be used to remotely access a client’s system.  There is no need for there to be a PC on site because eWON allows an engineer to take direct control through software installed on their own computer. The engineer is not controlling a computer, which controls the PLC. eWON technology installed on their device is the computer and directly links engineers to the PLC system.

The correct system for a client to use is up to client goals. There are clear benefits to having remote access abilities using any PC in the world. There are also benefits associated with being free of the need to have a full computer system installed at a client site. With both LogMeIn and eWON options, clients have more opportunity to customize how their systems are be managed remotely by Synergy’s expert engineers.

28 Aug

Businesses Seek Automation to Stay Competitive

Automation expenditures in the process industry are expected to soar to $7 billion by 2016 in the food and beverage industry alone, according to an article published in Process Magazine. As business do all they can to be more competitive and profitable, optimization of the process – including product creation and packaging – is ever more essential. Lag in the plant is unacceptable.

Specifically, the industry is turning for automation to assist in cost containment, time profitability and even sustainability and waste reduction. These last couple are sure to carry a lot of weight as the price of producing and using energy rises. In addition, people have become increasingly aware of the sustainability, or lack thereof, that a business’s uses throughout its processes. All these and more contribute to a growing need for superior automation.

There is another side to this story that is not being told. As technology moves forward at an ever increasing pace, companies are doing all they can to acquire the latest and greatest in order to stay competitive. Time spent adjusting and tweaking the process of a system is time that is not being spent on other areas of the business, such as innovation. America has always been a land that produces some of the greatest inventors and Synergy aims to keep it that way.

We specialize in the process optimization, in addition to providing repairs and replacements for the boilers that are so often responsible for plant energy generation. Our goals are yours. While we always strive to assist our clients in creating the most using the least amount of energy, are biggest concern is that our solutions and services help you achieve your goals. Not only do we create solutions customized to your needs, we do so in such a way that the majority of our solutions produce a return on investment in under a year. After construction and installation, we continue to stand by our clients through safety and business focused services.

Automation is a significant investment that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Companies need to consider all that goes into upgrades and new systems. Moreover, they should partner with someone who has their best interest in line. Contact one of our process and combustion experts today to see if Synergy can help you meet your goals and remain ever competitive in business.




21 Aug

Do Not Let the Flash and Glamour Fool You

Do Not Let the Flash and Glamour Fool You

Long-time employees of a plant tend to feel anxiety when word of technological upgrades starts to circulate. A recent Control Engineering article mentions that IT professionals tend to be young and used to the latest and greatest platform. The older operators in the plant aren’t nearly as enthused about new technology if the old technology does the job just as well. While there are certainly reasons to upgrade plant technology, decisions about what to do should be made with optimization as the core goal.

Synergy rarely values technology based on how new it happens to be. Instead, we concern ourselves with providing services and solutions that generate the outcome for the client. If technology provided needs to work with other equipment in the plant, then we will find what fits. There are many cases where the latest and greatest technology is also the best to install, just as it may be more financially reasonable to replace a part that only has a few years left in it then to try and find technology that will work with the old part.

Old and new are relative. Functionality, optimization and monetary savings are where true value shows itself. Our professionals are intimately familiar with the operations of a plant and build for functionality first. As a result, many of our services have a return on investment that takes less than a year.

In a world that has become fascinated with the glitz and glamour of graphics and speed, too often we forget about the true purpose of control systems and HMI. Make sure the technology installed in your plant is more than the latest and greatest. Make sure it benefits your needs and goals as well.

There is a lot out there to consider in the world of technology. Feel free to contact our expert combustion engineers to discuss the optimal way you can achieve your business objectives.



26 Jun

The Benefit of Holidays for Plants and Industries

Energy PatriotThe 4th of July is almost here and numerous plants will take some down time, or at the very least reduce their operation to the bare essentials, so that employees can celebrate pride in their country with their families. While the 4th is a great time to set aside political differences and embrace unified pride, it also provides a great time for plants to perform maintenance work on the plant.

An article from Control Engineering specifically points out computer numerical control (CNC) maintenance, noting that scheduled down time provides an opportunity to make sure all equipment is performing optimally and all batteries have enough power in them. A complete memory back up can also be done during this period and is essential if it has been a while since the last backup. We’ve been talking a lot about cyber security this year and one of your best tools to protect yourself is having a backup in place. Then, regardless of what happens, you have something to fall back on.

In addition, the holiday may be the perfect time to perform a boiler assessment to identify areas where production could be improved. While this is something that can be done at any time, holidays tend to provide at least a couple days where demand at a boiler room or plant is relatively low. Since activity is as low as it ever is, an assessment can be carried out with extremely low impact on the overall function of the plant for that day.

In the spirit of American pride, consider also looking for way in which your energy use can be optimized. Those who take great strides to lower the electrical load and pollution generated by their plant are recognized by Synergy as Energy Patriots. In the past, we have awarded plants with an Energy Patriot pin for their achievements. The Energy Patriot Pilot program is not just about the conservation of energy, but about reducing energy demand as a whole so that a day may come when America is energy independent.