Case Study

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Remotely Access Maple HMIs and Connected PLCs with EasyAccess 2.0

In recent years, more and more production data are being shared with Information Technology teams by way of SQL database integrations, email alerts, or through various IIoT protocols, such as MQTT or OPC UA. Along with the demand for this data, Operations Teams are under increasing pressure to respond quickly to outages and changing production requirements.

In the past, this meant operators had to either be on-site, or remain close by the plant and on-call at all times.
Now, with Maple Systems remote access solutions, operators can instantly and securely access display information from an HMI or PLC on the plant floor. EasyAccess 2.0 is the tool which makes this possible. Respond to changing conditions on the ground from the comfort of your living room, or from thousands of miles away.

EasyAccess 2.0, with its integrated VPN service, not only allows for streamlined, remote troubleshooting, but also for making improvements to existing projects from anywhere in the world.

A simple Domain Management page accessible in your web browser lets you assign users to HMIs and add HMIs to user groups. Anytime you need to connect to a Maple HMI remotely, EasyAccess 2.0 provides you with a dynamic, virtual IP address and with one click you can connect and gain control over your application. No more configuring static IPs or opening ports in your firewall. EasyAccess 2.0 takes care of all of this for you.

EasyAccess 2.0 enables customers to:

  • Access, monitor, and control HMI screen activity as though you were standing in front of the machine
  • Upload and download HMI projects to make changes and modifications to the HMI
  • Modify existing HMI applications
  • Upload and download PLC projects using Pass-Through functionality with our Utility Manager
  • Troubleshoot PLC programs using Pass-Through

EasyAccess 2.0 allows you to instantly and securely communicate with your Maple HMI from anywhere in the world. All traffic is encrypted and secured using the EasyAccess 2.0 VPN. Remote troubleshooting saves money by reducing downtime, travel, and personnel costs. Note: Select models come pre-activated; other models require an EasyAccess 2.0 activation card.

EasyAccess 2.0 offers customers a wide range of features and benefits that can positively impact the way you run your organization. In addition, EasyAccess 2.0 provides several features designed to increase security, preventing unauthorized access to HMIs and the control systems they connect to.
  • Easy Setup: EasyAccess 2.0 is easy to install and operate. There is no need to modify router settings, firewalls, or to open up ports. Very little PC setup is required. All you need to do is enable the EasyAccess 2.0 feature on the HMI and connect the unit to the Internet via Ethernet cable. It's really that simple.
  • Secure: Cybersecurity is critical to business continuity. EasyAccess 2.0 employs several safeguard mechanisms to help protect the HMI and your controls network. All communications run through a Virtual Private Network (VPN), access to which is restricted to only authorized users and their assigned HMIs. This means that even if a third party were able to derive the virtual IP address of your HMI, they would not be able to connect to it. Separate passwords can be set by the Domain Administrator (for the Domain account), as well as for each of the users in a group or organization. A proxy server can also be configured to conceal the identity of remote PC clients. Finally, all transmissions are encrypted using Transport Layer Security (TLS).
  • Saves You Bandwidth: Using our Viewer applications (cMT Viewer, HMI Viewer), only process variables and PLC data are transmitted between the client and the remote HMI. This greatly improves responsiveness while decreasing the amount of data sent across the network as compared to using VNC to connect to a remote HMI. (With VNC, an exact mirror of every pixel on the display is sent across the wire multiple times a second.) EA 2.0 allows you to keep your applications running smoothly without using up all your data.
  • More Efficient: EasyAccess 2.0 offers fast installation and set-up, and faster communication, with less strain on network bandwidth. The convenience of instant access to HMIs from anywhere is undisputable. HMI Viewer and cMT Viewer require only a copy of live process data in order to function. In addition, Pass-Through mode enables quick and easy monitoring or updating of connected PLCs.
  • Saves Money: EasyAccess 2.0 reduces travel costs including gas, airfare, and overnight hotel accommodations. It reduces the cost of man-hours paid to send personnel onsite for troubleshooting and repair, as well as reduces the number of costly technical support phone calls you have to make. But most of all, EasyAccess 2.0 will reduce the (very) expensive cost of downtime at the plant.
  • Better for Troubleshooting: With EasyAccess 2.0, you can easily monitor and troubleshoot HMIs/PLCs from a remote location as long as an Internet connection exists. EasyAccess 2.0 manages all network settings and security issues so the user simply connects to the HMI as if they were on the local network. Instantaneously view screens or implement updates to an HMI project or PLC.
  • Reduces Downtime: Time is money. With EasyAccess 2.0 you can bring the plant up faster and minimize expensive downtime. Consider a machine builder who sells machines with Maple HMIs installed. If a customer reports an issue, the machine builder remotely connects to the HMI using EasyAccess 2.0 and investigates the problem. He can quickly review and update the HMI project, monitor the PLC using Pass-Through mode, and even update the PLC program. With EasyAccess 2.0, you'll enjoy the ability to resolve problems almost as quickly as they occur.
  • Improved Workflows: EasyAccess 2.0 is just one element of the bigger IIoT picture. It enables you to connect to remote devices and access data for analytical purposes to ultimately benefit your bottom line. All OEMs and systems integrators can and should be IIoT ready. Because eventually, most customers will pursue a connected factory.
Thankfully, EasyAccess 2.0 is available on all Maple Systems HMIs. Simply activate the feature on the customer's device when the timing is right for them. EasyAccess 2.0 is an extremely low cost, end-to-end solution for all your remote access needs.

Read more about EasyAccess 2.0 or contact our Technical Sales Engineers for more information.

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