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"Implementing Integrated Solutions"

Our Mission


To Provide Superior Integration and Automation Services with Integrity and Commitment.

Who We Are


Industrial Systems, Inc. was formed by a group of consulting engineers to provide superior integration of automation services. Our highly skilled and dedicated team of automation experts have been serving the Pacific Northwest since 1998.

Recent Activity

Remote Access & Support

Posted by Troy Collison Apr. 09 2018

 

It is 3:00 AM on a Sunday morning and your cell phone goes off. There is a high level alarm at the Turnagain pump station and it is raining cats and dogs outside. You know it is a matter of minutes until the pump station floods.

 

10 years ago, you would throw on your clothes and trudge out into the rain and drive to the station to see what was wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

Now, you pick up your smart phone and using a secured connection, log into your SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) system and learn that when the contractor left this site today, he failed to return all three pumps to “Auto” mode so only one pump is running. You click on the other two pumps and place them back into service and go back to bed.

 

Total loss of sleep: 10 minutes, as opposed to two hours that it would have cost you a few years ago.

 

Designing, implementing and maintaining secure remote access to SCADA systems has become a mainstay of our business in the Industrial and Municipal control world in recent years. There was a lot of reluctance by many entities to allow access to their processes via the Internet a few years ago. Many people flatly refused to go there, but as we have all become accustomed to turning on the lights or locking the doors at home with our smart phone, even us old timers have come to consider such things a part of everyday life.

 

Are there security risks or concerns? Absolutely! But when the right steps are taken, multiple levels of authentication, proper firewall installation and configuration and a few other issues are considered, a very secure remote connection can be established with nearly any facility.

 

For our company now, having remote access to customer SCADA systems is far more common than not having such access. This allows us to address customers’ control system problems or concerns in minutes or hours as opposed to hours or days. This dramatically increases our ability to leverage the talents of our employees and to meet the needs of our customers.

Millennials in the workplace

Posted by Troy Collison Apr. 09 2018

 

How Refreshing!

 

Ten years ago I would never have thought I would ever hear myself say that about interviewing and hiring younger employees. Things have changed. Times have changed. The way of doing business has changed. People’s values have changed. Or have they?

 

I seldom talk to anyone under 40 who seems willing to put as much into their career as I was always told was necessary for those who truly want to excel at what they do. Yet somehow recently I have begun to see and hear something in the under 40 crowd that makes me excited.

 

No, they don’t want to work 60 hours a week and be married to their jobs like their parents were or like so many of us old duffers were/are. But they are absolutely willing to give their all to something they believe in. And their all can be impressive.

 

This generation of people has grown up in a time of plenty in this Nation for the most part. Unlike many of us from the so called Boomer or Generation X eras, they do not appear to be driven by a necessity to make their lives better; their lives have always been pretty good. They expect their lives will be good going forward and they want to be a part of making the world a better place.

 

Yes, they expect a lot from life and from an employer, but if we really pay attention we will see that they really aren’t of an entitlement mindset, they simply expect things to be good and comfortable. Much to the surprise of many, they are eager and incredibly capable to do what it takes to make things that way, they just see life a bit differently than the Boomers did.

 

Industrial Systems has had the good fortune of adding several incredibly talented and capable young people to our staff recently and I am excited to watch them grow and help make our company better than ever!

 

Security of Industrial Networks

Posted by Mark Lietzke Apr. 09 2018

 

Recently I attended CCNA Security Quad Training by CISCO.  We continue to look for opportunities to excel in Industrial Automation solutions.  Security for SCADA and PLC systems is always a concern. It would seem that isolating the industrial network from the internet by “no physical connection” would be as safe as possible but that is not absolute as we still need to be concerned about open Ethernet ports, USB Drives, CD’s, etc.  Also we all have been facing a new issue in recent years and with Industrial Control Software Manufacturers and their push for “Internet” connectivity. Using firewall appliances has been monumental providing secure network solutions.

 

 What about the health of the Industrial Network?  Many solutions provide healthy network control schemes by physically isolating subnets.  As an example, if a PLC is connected to a SCADA computer and a number of VFDs via Ethernet. It is a good practice to add a second Ethernet card in the PLC for the VFD.  The same applies for other critical I/O and it is mandatory to implement Profinet.  Connecting those independent subnets with the common networking for troubleshooting, online configuration, etc., can be problematic in that many times you would have to work through a PLC program or connect directly with a local switch.  Many cases we write programs in the PLC to act as a traffic manager to make that interface available but that is limited as to the capabilities of some of the Ethernet network devices. The answer with today’s technology lies in the use of VLANs and Routers.   Routers connect networks together and switches connect users/devices.   With the CISCO switches, also available in industrial products by Rockwell, VLANs are a default.  Each VLAN is configured as a separate sub net which allows for segmentation of networks.  This can work as an advantage for control systems.  In the examples above a switch can allow specific traffic between the VLANs which will improve data transfer times and allow for management of devices on all subnets without exposing I/O control or critical control to unnecessary traffic.  Additionally by using VLANs and even one Router the Industrial Ethernet solution has a means of managing traffic between an office, or corporate, network.

 

Industrial Systems, established 1998

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