Crisis-proofing Maintenance with Cargill
America’s largest Private Company

How Cargill cuts on-site Maintenance with Secomea




“We are committed to helping the world thrive”, asserts the website of Cargill; North America’s largest private company. For this bulwark of the food and beverage market, thriving isn’t a slogan, but the business-model. Cargill provisions entire supply chains, and, consequentially, helps feed millions of stomachs. This weighty responsibility can only be supported with rapid, accountable maintenance.

But thriving in an uncertain world takes savvy planning. After all, global maintenance is susceptible to global crises. Travel restrictions slow in-person maintenance to a crawl, extending downtime and undermining confidence. Rather than suffering through volatility, competitive multinationals need reliable alternatives to flying in technicians.

To address this need, Cargill adopted Secomea Remote Access.

The challenge:
Replacing on-site maintenance for time-sensitive tasks

As anyone who ever cleaned a fridge knows all too well, foodstuffs are time-sensitive. For the food and beverage industry, any anomalous production behavior could be cataclysmic. Tolerances are tight, and downtime carries an unforgiving price-tag.

“The cost of downtime is enormous. Cost of downtime varies per site but can be $1,000-10,000 per minute at most sites, for larger sites this is higher. If the site is completely down, the cost is incredible.”

– Peter Koyanis, IT Manufacturing Infrastructure professional, Cargill Food and Beverage.

The Covid-19 Pandemic placed this threat front and center. Manufacturers around the world were hit by a perfect storm of a global component shortage and inaccessible technical help. Cargill, mindful of the future, looked for a remote access solution to support their maintenance processes through future disruption.

“Everything was manual when Covid-19 hit. When machines went down they would always have to send someone. So Covid hit and we were wary of sending people out to a meat plant. That drove the process of looking for a solution where we wouldn’t have to send someone out – that’s where Secomea came in.”

– Peter Koyanis, IT Manufacturing Infrastructure professional, Cargill Food and Beverage.

The solution:
On-Demand Predictive Maintenance

Secomea Remote Access makes maintenance disruption-proof. With one secure sign-on, remote assistance can get to work immediately via the LinkManager access client. From the comfort of their laptop, technicians can troubleshoot machinery globally.

This speed doesn’t come at the expense of security. Machine-technician connections route through a secure on-site IIoT gateway, called SiteManager. All connections from the SiteManager are firewall-friendly and secured by Relay VPN. Furthermore, SiteManager’s utility isn’t reserved to programming access – the gateway can also collect machine data. This performance data can then be streamed to a cloud, internal server, or analysis tool, enabling companies to analyze device health over time.

With both components working in tandem, Cargill can conduct maintenance predictively – staying ahead of problems before they develop.

“As you keep pushing the limits of IT, you keep needing increased support. Also, we keep pushing the limits of data. The fact that we can also do data collection through the Secomea solution makes it innovative.”

– Peter Koyanis, IT Manufacturing Infrastructure professional, Cargill Food and Beverage.

Cybersecure Access for Industry-Leading Networks

Cargill didn’t need just any run-of-the-mill remote access software. For, as industry leaders, Cargill is unwilling to trust critical business processes to external servers. Relying on a third-party host for user and device management would not deliver the granular control Cargill expected.

“The thing was to be able to fit Remote Access into our environment. We are the biggest in the world… we did not want to put our security into anyone else’s hands… Companies are often very rigid about needing to host in their cloud and that was a no-go for us.”

– Peter Koyanis, IT Manufacturing Infrastructure professional, Cargill Food and Beverage

Secomea Remote Access was ideal for Cargill. Secomea’s GateManager access management server is compatible with diverse hosting formats – and, therefore, the needs of the operator. Companies can take GateManager under their wing as a private, self-hosted server. Consequentially, GateManager Private provides Cargill with unparalleled control of their data. By keeping access control in house, GM private safeguards Cargill against man-in-the-middle attacks, insulating their network from end-to-end.

“We use Secomea to communicate to a network which we can keep enclosed, limiting the liability beyond that. We can run software that we wouldn’t normally use because it is kept safe behind Secomea. This helps us give access to more vendors without exposing Cargill to risk.”

– Peter Koyanis, IT Manufacturing Infrastructure professional, Cargill Food and Beverage.

While some remote access systems provision undiscerningly, the Secomea Solution is selective. Administrators can specify a technician’s access to prescriptive machines and ports in isolation. This unparalleled precision speeds up maintenance by cutting confusion for technicians and administrators alike.

Seamless integration for the Real World

The advantages of an all-in-one remote access solution extend beyond assuring security. For large companies, any new maintenance solution must integrate at scale. The realities of human factors and process management demand any new remote access system must hit the ground running. Accommodating this need, GateManager Private supports LDAP, enabling GateManager to interoperate with Cargill’s pre-existing directory services. It is no surprise that, for Cargill food and Beverage, Secomea Remote access is convenient, cybersecure, and, most importantly, practical.

“If we have issues or if a machine is down – the line is down. If we don’t have remote access, we must call someone to come in, so it can take time for them to come in to look at the machine and fix it. With Secomea they can remote right in and fix the machine. We could do a lot more with our devices. It’s exciting looking forward and seeing what we can do with Secomea.”

– Peter Koyanis, IT Manufacturing Infrastructure professional, Cargill Food and Beverage.

Cargill is but one of the industry-leaders accelerating maintenance with Secomea remote access. Would you like to explore how Secomea could assist your business? Fill out the form below to get in touch with our team.

CARGILL, Inc. is a globe-spanning, multi-billion dollar food producer headquartered in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Founded in 1865, Cargill is the largest privately held corporation in North America. Cargill’s enterprise covers an expansive swathe of the agricultural commodity and food and beverage sectors, from provisioning equipment to manufacturing ingredients. Cargill also participates in several other industries, including finance and transportation.


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