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Remote Terminal Unit Manufacturers: The Ultimate Guide

If you ever want to hear a lot of crickets, ask a room full of engineers if they like having a partial solution. Ask a crowd of technicians if they enjoy not having all the right tools for the job. You'll be met with a nearly profound silence. That is if it isn't drowned out by laughter.

We all know that a partial solution is no solution at all, but too often, we settle for having a patchy or piecemeal approach to our remote telemetry.

We do this for supposed cost reasons or because we work with vendors that don't offer everything. But it doesn't have to be that way.

remote terminal unit design meeting
Two engineers discuss RTU development options at an RTU manufacturer.

When looking for remote terminal unit manufacturers to design, build, and implement systems that monitor and protect your remote locations, you should never look for a partial solution. You should try to find a partner that gives you the comprehensive service and quality you deserve.

What does it mean to have a remote terminal unit manufacturer that is a one-stop-shop for all your needs? It means peace of mind. Here's how to find it.

How to Find the Right Remote Terminal Unit Manufacturer

To start with, we have to define what we mean by a "one-stop-shop." There are a lot of things that go into it, including:

  • Advanced technology
  • Ease of use
  • Price
  • Customer experience
  • Customization possibilities
  • Company reputation/durability

Every manufacturer will have all of these at some level or the other (even if some of them are nearly zero). You want a provider with the highest marks in all areas. Let's look at some of the specifics in these broad categories.

The Importance of Technology

Obviously, the conversation starts with technology. Here are some of the pieces you should be looking for:

Intelligent Remote Monitoring

When you have RTUs, you're undoubtedly looking for them to work effectively. You want remote monitoring units that can be programmed to detect the important events that you designate no matter how minute or subtle they may seem. You want monitors that will let you know when the temperature creeps up a single degree beyond the normal range; not one that waits until there is a 4-alarm fire.

Integration of High-End Technologies

It's one thing to monitor; it is another to be connected to high-end technologies that allow reporting to happen in a rapid, logical fashion. You'll want to be connected to the best SNMP managers, so that you can get alerts to the right management at the right time, and so that you can integrate your legacy technology.

Technology Solutions for Legacy Equipment

You're not going to upgrade your entire system all at once. That's not financially possible. What you can do, however, is to work with a company that has master equipment to translate old protocols into your new system. There are some masters that can convert alarms in 25 standards and proprietary protocols.

That way, you maintain system integrity while slowly upgrading all your equipment. After all, the last thing you want is a partial solution.

RTUs That Work in Any Conditions

Many of your remote sites are going to be rugged. That's why you want an all-in-one RTU solution that can operate in any condition. Some of the features to look for include:

  • Temp control units
  • Backup battery supplies
  • Power-increasing options
  • Protection from the elements

We admit that the last one is pretty difficult for some. That's why you want to look for technology backed by something vital: durability, a solid reputation, and experience.

The Importance of a Reliable Manufacturer

How do you know something can withstand the elements? How do you know that you can trust your technology will be protected? And how do you know that you'll be getting a solution that lasts? You have to look at the manufacturer and their reputation.

Some things to look for in an RTU manufacturer include the following.

A Reputation for Durability

Again, you don't just deserve durability; you depend on it. There are manufacturers that have earned a reputation for making RTUs and protective enclosures that can withstand extreme temperatures, rain and snow, high winds, smoke, and more. That's not a luxury. That's doesn't just mean that you have to replace them fewer times, as wonderful a benefit as that is. It means, literally, that they work when you need them most. What is that worth to you?

High-End Customer Support

From installation to the last day of service, you need to know you can rely on customer support to troubleshoot any problems and keep your system running. In some companies that means talking to a person reading from a manual they don't understand. In others, it means working with engineers who know the technology like the back of their hands. It also means a set of easy-to-read guides and manuals that actually make sense.

Installation Services

Most companies offer some kind of installation services, but not everyone offers them from highly-trained technicians who understand both the system and the needs of your industry. If you have that, you have a solution that is working right from jump street.

Free Training

These are complicated systems. Training can help your team take full advantage of what they have to offer while nearly eliminating the chance of human error caused by not knowing how to program or monitor alarms. Training also helps open up possibilities for further use by sparking new ideas. Factory training is the best route of all.

The Importance of Customization

So, right now, we have looked at manufacturers that have:

  1. High-end technology
  2. Expert staff
  3. Great customer service

If you put that together, it adds up to the possibilities of customization. No two industries are the same, and no two companies in any industry have the same needs.

If a company has the technology, knows how to use it, and works hand-in-hand with their customers at every step, they can create a truly customized solution.

The benefits of this are obvious. An off-the-shelf RTU network might do the job to an extent, but it isn't designed to fit perfectly. You might end up buying too many RTUs and having a wasteful surplus. Or you might end up buying too few, and making decisions on what doesn't need to be monitored.

That is our old enemy, that partial solution. Customization means never having to settle for incomplete. It means having a network that fits you perfectly, which saves money without sacrificing efficiency or coverage.

Price and Quality in Remote Terminal Unit Manufacturers

Now comes the big question: is the custom solution going to be the least expensive option? The answer is no. There are a lot of smaller companies that can offer partial solutions for a lot less money. But that raises its own issues. A basic list of these includes:

  • Technology that isn't compatible with your legacy equipment
  • Technology that isn't durable enough to withstand the elements
  • RTUs without a master, forcing you to sift through more vendors
  • Poor or non-existent customer service or training
  • The possibility that they go out of business, leaving you high and dry

If you're an engineer or manager reading this, the hair is probably going up on the back of your head. That's because you recognize that all of these "solutions" guarantee something is going to go wrong. And that is going to cost you money. That's one of the truisms in our business.

The cheaper solution can almost always end up being the most expensive.

That's why it's cost-effective to pay for quality. When you prevent accidents, shutdowns, slowdowns, and disasters, you save money. You save time, and you save the work your people have to do. Then, you and your team are able to do your own important work.

There are a number of manufacturers on the market like Megasys, Cordell, Honeywell, and Solarwinds. The key to finding the best manufacturer is to work with one that not only manufactures the product, but also provides comprehensive customization services, offers the best quality, durable solutions, installation, training, and technical support.

When you have all of that for your remote terminal unit manufacturer, you go far beyond a partial solution. You find a true partner.

DPS Telecom has the experience and expertise to help companies monitor what matters most - including their costs. Our technicians can work with you to install RTUs with easy-to-use interfaces for more automatic responses. Reach out and get a quote today!