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PDA Upgrades Failing Controls for Large U.S. Manufacturer
Process and Data Automation (PDA) reviewed and refined the scope of work required to upgrade failing controls equipment for one of the largest privately-held manufacturers of ice cream and frozen treats in the United States, at their production facilities in upstate New York.  The clients needed the upgrades since the existing controls equipment was aged, unreliable and a DEP mandate for tighter controls and better reporting practices had been issued.

Completion of this project moved the facility from an unknown to a known state with respect to automation, as well as providing a comprehensive system overview contrasting the legacy, existing islands of discrete controls.  PDA not only upgraded the core control equipment but also added Monitoring and Automated Reporting capabilities to replace the manual-entry method at the facility.  PDA also delivered process narrative and documentation, that could easily be followed by the client, integrated disparate controls into a cohesive facility-based model and assisted the client’s ERP team with the integration of key data into the Oracle reporting system.  The agile interactive approach to project planning allowed the client to achieve regulatory milestones in an expedited fashion.  PDA also completed the upgrade of the core control hardware with selected use of existing equipment in order the minimize costs.

The major challenges to successfully completing the project included:

  1. A compressed timeline.
  2. Unknown or unreliable site and equipment information.
  3. Multiple trades working on co-operative yet competing deadlines.
  4. Difficulties encountered in implementing the solution included scheduling, the lack of site knowledge, and competing ideas from key client contacts of how to do it “right”.

The solution implemented by PDA resulted in better visibility of the entire process, multiple adjustment points to fine-tune controls and the assurance that only approved materials are transferred.  The facility now has automated chemical injection processes, separation of fat and valving and motors as necessary.  Further, the tracking and data collection for the chemical dosing and for raw and corrected pH and TSS are available.

In the future, the client could consider increased capacity and different correction methods.  In addition, the introduction of remote monitoring and increased data collection should be considered.

PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. Our Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. We also feature a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

 

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Give Yourself Peace of Mind with our Plant Support Agreement

Plant Support Service Agreements from Process and Data Automation (PDA): Offering a Spectrum of Services to Our Customers

There are many advantages to Plant Support Services Agreements from PDA, however only at the point you need support, do you realize just how beneficial it is to have access to a spectrum of services!

Today, we are going to discuss three different, real-world cases in which our service agreement saved the day.

How easy is it really to switch between unique scopes of work? Very easy!

PROBLEM:

A national snack food manufacturer had the opportunity to put this to the test.  “We came to work to find that none of our front office computers would connect to our order entry system, could not connect to the internet and that our IT guy quit without any notice.  My first call was to PDA”.

HOW WE SOLVED IT:

After receiving the call from the plant around 9:30 that morning, PDA had a Digitalization Services Engineer onsite before lunch.  While this isn’t our team’s typical work, our client needed help and our team had the resources. After this emergency callout, PDA worked with the plant to temporarily rework the contract commitment of resources to allow someone from DSG to start their day at the plant for up to two hours a day to ensure that everything IT was behaving for the plant. Doing this allowed the plant to use their PSC commitment to solve this challenge without breaking their budget.

Once the plant fills the internal IT position, we will return to doing the more traditional tasks that we were busy with prior to this event. For PDA’s service department, the goal is to ensure that the client gets the most out of their contract, even if we need to be part-time IT for their office staff.

Can training can be part of our Service Agreement? Our answer is a resounding, “Yes”! When talking about the advantages of our Plant Support Service Agreement, employee training is often not thought of as part of service – but one of our clients discovered that training was their major need.

PROBLEM:

A frozen food manufacturer came to us and explained that their current maintenance employees didn’t have the HMI & PLC skills they currently needed. PDA sat down with them and worked up a plan to help.

HOW WE SOLVED IT:

PDA adjusted their Plant Support Service Agreement to offer training for six months. PDA did handle a little maintenance during the six-month but predominantly handled training. PDA built up a training resource for the client and provided ad hoc training to their employees and the client saw benefits in employee performance very quickly. At the end of that six months, PDA switched back to what their regular scheduled service agreement was. None of this had any additional cost and they remain a happy client.

How flexible is your service agreement and how fast can it change to meet our needs?  A Plant Support Service Agreement from PDA is the most flexible and fastest in the industry!

PROBLEM:

Corporate sales for a food manufacturer landed a big contract that required them to re-work one of their rooms with a very aggressive timeline to finish and the normal sales cycle was not fast enough.

HOW WE SOLVED IT:

PDA was able to re-work the service agreement so that they could handle the design portion (laying out control methodology, IO count, the panel builds) which saved them the time they needed to complete their new project on time.

Our goal is to make our service agreement work for the individual needs of the client and that also means being flexible enough to change course quickly when necessary.

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The Spectrum of Benefits of a Plant Support Services Agreement are easy to see:

  • Fixed amount of expense on a monthly basis
  • Fixed, variable, or combination scheduling monthly
  • Scheduling to fit your needs
  • Highest priority for incoming service calls
  • Mixture of engineering, industrial IT, service, and other staff to meet all your needs!

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PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. Our Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. We also feature a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

Read More | Posted In: Application Stories, News

PDA’s expertise on Plant Digitalization leveraged in Food Engineering 2-Part Series

In a recent 2-part Digitalization series for Food Engineering Magazine, Scott McCausland, Digitalization Services Manageroffered his expertise on planning for digitalization in manufacturing plants.

This two-part series takes the reader through the process of becoming a digitalized plant with experts weighing in on how to best navigate the journey.

Part of that journey is a solid assessment of the network environment. That will allow a processor to see any deficiencies and formulate a plan to move forward, says Scott McCausland, “Just because equipment is ‘old’ doesn’t mean it isn’t capable of acting as support to reach a goal. In general, a robust network infrastructure is required.”

Scott later discusses that some machine builders, such as Krones, have already provided a solution that allows the addition of new sensors and data aggregators without touching the original legacy machine. PDA is the North American integration arm for Krones’ Syskron.

Read PART ONE HERE.

Read PART TWO HERE.

Read More | Posted In: Application Stories, News

Plant Support Service Agreement from PDA: Offering a Spectrum of Services to Our Customers
Part 1: Our Team is Your Team!

There are many advantages of having a Plant Support Service Agreement from PDA—and we can tell them to you all day—BUT—it’s not until you need it that you realize just how beneficial the spectrum of services can be. In our ongoing three-part series, we are going to discuss three different, real-world cases in which our service agreement saved the day.

A question we sometimes get about our Plant Support Service Agreement is, “How easy is it really to switch between unique scopes of work?”. Recently a national snack food manufacturer had the opportunity to find out.  “We came to work to find that none of our front office computers would connect to our order entry system, could not connect to the internet and that our IT guy quit without any notice.  My first call was to PDA”.

What happens now?

After receiving the call from the plant around 9:30 that morning, PDA had a Digitalization Services Engineer onsite before lunch.  While this isn’t our teams’ typical work, our client needed help and our team had the resources. After this emergency call, PDA worked with the plant to temporarily rework the contract commitment of resources to allow someone from DSG to start their day at the plant for up to two hours a day to ensure that everything IT was behaving for the plant. Doing this allowed the plant to use their PSC commitment to solve this challenge without breaking their budget.

Once the plant fills the internal IT position, we will return to doing the more traditional tasks that we were busy with prior to this event. For PDA’s service department, the goal is to ensure that the client gets the most out of their contract, even if we need to be part-time IT for their office staff.

The Spectrum of Benefits of a Plant Support Services Agreement are easy to see:

  • Fixed amount of expense on a monthly basis
  • Fixed, variable, or combination scheduling monthly
  • Scheduling to fit your needs
  • Highest priority for incoming service calls
  • Mixture of engineering, industrial IT, service, and other staff to meet all your needs!

PDA is a full-service, CSIA Certified industrial control systems integration firm. Our Controls Engineering group specializes in physical automation system design, programming, and commissioning. We also feature a dedicated Digitalization Group (DSG) that connects automated equipment and systems to the business system environment including protected recipe systems, data collection and reporting, and data historian implementation. DSG can provide the systems you need to set your systems up for proper operation and then provide the tools you need to make sure you execute as planned.

 

Read More | Posted In: Application Stories, News