Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Importance of Backups

Many times when we are called in to service a piece of equipment we discover that the company that called us does not have a backup copy of their machine information.

Most IT departments are familiar with backing up company servers, PCs and laptops religiously. For many, it's second nature. But because most IT personnel do not venture out onto the factory floor all that often, the computer controlled machinery out there gets overlooked.

Not many companies (the smaller ones especially) realize that the backbone of their business, the routers, lathes, mills, and other equipment that they depend on daily have software that needs to be backed up as well.

CNC machines all have parameters that need to be set exactly right, or the machine will not work correctly. Some of these parameter lists are pages and pages in length for some of the more complicated ones. These parameters are every bit as important (maybe more so) as documents and emails traditionally backed up off of office computers. Fanuc, Osai, Siemens, and many other companies all manufacture these CNC systems.

PLCs and automation equipment have software also. Most require special development software and hardware to interface with the PLCs to get the program off. But if your PLC battery fails, or the hardware has a glitch, you are looking at redevelopment of the entire program if you don't have a backup copy. That adds up to days and weeks of machine downtime while the program is recreated.

Most factories do not have the equipment needed to make backups of the programs in their industrial equipment. Often the price of the development software is cost prohibitive. We work on this equipment frequently enough that we have purchased many of these software packages.

That is why you should consider calling REA. Instead of spending thousands of dollars on software that you would rarely use, you can call us to come out, make your backups, and leave them with you. If anything should happen, you will have a current copy of everything needed to get you back up and running quickly.

We have extensive experience in backing up a vast number of different types of automation equipment from many manufacturers. Fanuc, Siemens, Allen Bradley, GE, Automation Direct, Mitsubishi, TI, Modicon, and many more.

Don't let a $5 dead battery shut down your entire production line. Make sure you have current backups of all your parameters and programs. Call us. We can help.

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