An Automotive Supplier uses versiondog to Quickly Backup Disk Images
The following case study is from an automotive supplier that was recently recognized for its predictive maintenance approach. The company uses versiondog as a critical tool for data management.
Companies of all sizes are feeling the pressure to have highly integrated supply and order chains. To meet the demands that come with that, companies are restructuring their production facilities so that maintenance is given top priority. Two major ways companies are doing this is through a focus on preventative maintenance and reducing both planned and unplanned downtime. To keep interruptions to production at a minimum, one leading automotive supplier has restructured their international supply chain to include maintenance. This helps them to:
Ensure that spare parts are available throughout the entire network, not just at local production sites.
Achieve a faster response time regarding troubleshooting.
Why did this automotive supplier decide to implement versiondog?
The main reason for introducing versiondog into their data management process was to correct errors faster. Because versiondog allows users to confidently return to a working version in case of errors, employees feel prepared to quickly correct issues when they arise. No staff members need to question where data backups can be found or if the backup is a correctly working version.
This automotive supplier felt the need to introduce versiondog after a particularly long period of unplanned downtime. An error occurred. The maintenance staff soon realized that data from programmers had not been properly saved and only outdated project versions were available. The downtime lasted for several days – a costly and stressful mistake.
“You couldn’t be sure whether the software version was the same as the one running on the machine,” said the team leader of the electrical and software construction department at the production facility.
This was because the company used predominantly real-time systems (soft PLCs) for manufacturing. The team leader explained, “when it comes to hard drive backups, only the compilation was backed up. In order to be able to carry out changes at a later date, the source code is required. This is where versiondog comes into play.”
How does this automotive supplier use versiondog?
With versiondog, important components and production data are backed up daily using jobs. At this facility, there are 1,300 jobs. 200 of those are Codesys controller jobs. versiondog checks whether the data on the server is the same as the data running on the machine. Any detected differences are reported in an email to those that need to know about it automatically.
For several months now, versiondog has also been used for auto-imaging. versiondog functions as a scheduler that triggers Drive Snapshot to create disk images (i.e. an image of the entire hard disk). Once a month, versiondog creates a restorable disk image for each of the 450 Windows computers used at this automotive supplier.
Upload and Compare Agents
This is not without its challenges as, for security reasons, each production area has its own isolated network and there is no direct means of accessing a production area via the office network. versiondog’s Upload and Compare Agents Add-On helps to resolve this issue by enabling authorized users to connect to the device or machine and access machine data.
“This is certainly not the usual way that the software is used and could only realized because the customer made good use of versiondog scripting,” says an AUVESY spokesperson. This versiondog case study demonstrates the powerful ability to adapt versiondog to your needs, with versiondog scripting supporting additional customization when needed.
At this facility, the images created are not stored in versiondog, but rather in a file share after they have been run through a virus test. Once the test has been run, a link that connects to the storage location will be created and a version of the same link is created in versiondog. When a member of the maintenance team checks out the link in versiondog, they can access the image.
For those in charge, easy data management processes like this are important. “The easier it is for the maintenance team, the easier it is for our colleagues to concentrate on problem solving,” they said. Searching for the location of disk images are no longer a hindrance.
The supplier also uses the ExportModule to prepare job results for a daily meeting about the production line. “In this instance, we are talking about key performance indicators that have been visualized in our company’s internal IoT tool. The ExportModule allows us to combine data taken from that tool with the results of the versiondog data comparison. This would help us to ensure that no errors are overlooked in the daily routine and that the right software is used for production.”
The ability to safely provide transparency across the plant is also a major advantage of versiondog for this supplier. Nearly 200 users work with different access rights, from “read only” to full administrator. The majority can only login to view the status and change history of a machine or device. Software developers and trained maintenance team members have far more extensive access rights.
The supplier also benefits from the ability to manage versions with external contractors. Those with more frequent assignments are granted access as domain users. It’s still possible to use versiondog with external programmers without versiondog with the Supplier CheckOut and SmartImport functions as well.
The Bottom Line for this versiondog Case Study
For this automotive supplier, versiondog is synonymous with time-savings. They save time with automatic image creation. They save time when locating current data. And of course, they save time when restoring to a working state in case of disaster or downtime. Even with the significant time-savings, the supplier said said, “the greatest advantage lies in the fact that everything is coordinated via one centralized tool. Moreover, the data quality in versiondog, i.e. the fact that the data is always current, is remarkably good thanks to regular comparisons between program data and data on the server.”