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Obliterating Obstacles: Resilience in Modernization

This manufacturing titan of the automotive and industrial products understood the importance of keeping things running smoothly. Unfortunately, as an established company, some of their older custom control solutions were one headache after another for maintenance and support. With multiple batch processes and a plethora of oil blends to handle, they needed a modern solution that could keep up with their growing demand.

Problem-solvers prevail

Our project kicked off after nearly a decade of collaboration, working together across multiple facilities to tackle overall equipment effectiveness (OEE). We implemented Rockwell Automation's FactoryTalk software so we could gather data and create a common information platform, enabling plant operators and engineers to easily spot any system issues and understand their root causes.

A few years later, we were being considered for a project to revamp the distributed control system (DCS) at another facility. We didn't clinch the deal, but things didn’t go as planned with the vendor they selected. Having worked with us before, and knowing that problem-solving is our passion, the engineers on site asked us to investigate issues they were experiencing with their new custom PLCs. 

Our team of Solutioneers, unphased by the high level of customization, relied on their extensive control expertise to address the challenge head-on, and before long, we were awarded the PLC modernization project at seven additional facilities.  

Increased efficiency, increased control

To avoid the problems that inevitably come with a custom solution, which can be difficult to support, we opted for the highly reliable Siemens SIMATIC PCS 7 distributed control system (DCS) equipped with an API library since it embraces a more standardized approach. Building on this foundation, we introduced SIMATIC batch software instead of a custom batch solution. This strategy let us establish a consistent core logic across all eight plants, freeing them from the clutches of the original integrator when it came to changes, support, or maintenance. This manufacturer was now in full control of their system.

The benefits of the new Siemens-based controllers went beyond just improved support. They also delivered increased flexibility and revolutionized visualization, alarming, and interlock tracking capabilities. Gone are the days when the customer had to rely on multiple batch processes and make countless adjustments to achieve the perfect blend for their complex formulations. Now even the most intricate blends can easily be created in one seamless batch, and efficiency has reached unprecedented levels.  

Empowering operators 

Ensuring operator success is key when implementing a new controller. Thinking outside the box, we brought the system onsite but left it uninstalled for several weeks, giving their operators valuable hands-on experience. They had ample time to get their hands dirty and familiarize themselves with the new system before its production debut. This immersive learning period instilled a high level of confidence with the onsite team and ensured a seamless transition from the familiar, yet outdated, control system.  

Boosting sales with strategic enhancements

This customer has set an ambitious goal to double sales by 2028, requiring both process improvements and increased production. Our team of digital transformation and operations technology (OT) experts joined forces with them to hunt down opportunities for strategic process improvements on a global scale. Our plan involves evaluating their existing equipment, OT network, and processes and aligning them with their long-term goals. But we're not just stopping at recommendations. We're committed to gathering the data they need to build a compelling business case for the updates, ensuring buy-in from upper management.

From vendor to valued partner

Our partnership with this blended oil icon has been anything but ordinary. We started as a service provider implementing an OEE solution, but we were always committed to proving that we’re a trustworthy long-term partner. On any given project, we might hit bumps in the road, but we never back down. We fix things quickly, learn from our mistakes, and come back stronger. We tackled their challenges head-on and developed a control solution that truly elevated their operations. That kind of achievement always comes down to our unwavering commitment to customer success, and it’s this relentless dedication that has transformed us from a regular vendor to a trusted partner, always ready to go the extra mile.

We started as a service provider implementing an OEE solution, but we were always committed to proving that we’re a trustworthy long-term partner.