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.

 

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Digitalization Digest: Why Integrated Systems?

Manufacturers throughout the United States are beginning to enjoy fully integrated systems.  This doesn’t just mean integrated equipment lines, rather, it includes real-time ERP connectivity, connectivity to labeling software and systems, connectivity to physical warehouse via AGV interface and control, and connectivity to the finished goods storage. As plants need to deal with increased capacity requirements or added products, flexible packaging cells, multi-reel labelers, automatically-delivered materials for all portions of packaging, and flying line changeovers, integrated systems can help plants deliver on these requirements.

Generally, these manufacturing systems can be added, or capacity increased via the aforementioned equipment.  However, today’s plants are running increasingly fast and complex packaging solutions that are not as easy to duplicate or extend. Thus, every second of uptime counts when getting the most from packaging assets.  A system that is properly tuned to operate as an integrated system is one that provides immediate, relevant information and connects the machines, the personnel, and the maintenance software operations. For example, a line which can alert operators to pending or existing maintenance requirements, while simultaneously requisitioning the required parts and re-ordering those same supplies, is easier for the plant staff to operate holistically.  The largest pitfall remains legacy equipment that cannot participate in the connectivity the way adjacent equipment or lines are able.  Ultimately, the systems affect personnel and integrated systems help to have personnel more connected with the entire operation, and the true power of integrated systems is realized!

Digitalization Team at PDA

The Digitalization Digest is written by Process and Data Automation and provides real-world thoughts through 1st hand experiences, speaking to the why and how manufacturing should move to a fully digitalized plant operation!

 

Read More | Posted In: Digitalization Digest, News

We’re Not Your Average DSG Team!

Process and Data Automation’s (PDA) Data Services Group (DSG) is not your average software integration group. PDA places a lot of emphasis on training for the benefit of our customers and as such, makes sure that members of the DSG group are certified as ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Fundamentals Specialists and have obtained Cisco Routing and Switching Certification among other industry certifications.

ISA has developed the ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Certificate program to increase knowledge and awareness of the ISA/IEC 62442 standards. The first certificate in the program is the ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity Fundamentals Specialist.  The specialist certificate program is designed for professionals involved in IT and control system security roles that need to develop a command of industrial cybersecurity terminology and understanding of the material embedded in the ISA/IEC 62443 standards. The ISA/IEC 62443 Cybersecurity certificates are awarded to those who successfully complete a designated training course and pass the exam.

“As Cybersecurity becomes a focus in the industry, we wanted to add more credibility to our networking team. Having the ISA perspective allows our customers to see that we have dedicated and direct experience with industrial networking and industrial cybersecurity”, PDA Data Services Manager, Scott McCausland shared.

Earning a Cisco CCNA Routing and Switching certification is one of the best ways for PDA employees to provide our clients with expert networking. Cisco pioneered routing and switching technologies—and continues to lead the way, with the greatest market share and largest installed base across many industries. The overwhelming majority of today’s Internet traffic travels over network pathways built with Cisco infrastructure products. Equally important is the fact that certification keeps our DSG group current with all of today’s technology.

PDA is proud to have a world-class DSG group that is always on the forefront of the latest technologies. Our customers can be assured that our team is one of the most skilled and knowledgeable in the field.

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 Data Services 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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PDA’s expertise on Plant Digitalization leveraged in Food Engineering Article

In a January article for Food Engineering Magazine, Joe Snyder, president of Process and Data Automation offered his expertise on the future of digitalization for manufacturing plants.

An excerpt with Joe’s expertise on how IIoT benefits Production and Packaging:

A system that is properly tuned to operate as an integrated solution provides the basis for efficient operation, but one that provides immediate, relevant information and connects the machines, the personnel, and the maintenance software operations is that much more ahead of simple operational efficiency, says Snyder. For example, a line that can alert operators to pending or existing maintenance requirements while simultaneously requisitioning the required parts and PM supplies and reordering those same supplies leads to a more robust, easier-to-operate facility.

Click to Read the Full Article HERE!

 

 

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PDA is successfully CSIA certified again!
Process and Data Automation is proud to announce that we’ve received our third CSIA certification, a special distinction, following an intensive independent audit that assessed our performance against customer-centric criteria in a wide range of business, project management, and system development areas.

CSIA is a worldwide organization who helps members improve their skills and promotes best practices for business management. The Control System Integrators Association’s Mission is “to advance the business practices of control system integration.” Founded in 1994, CSIA is a nonprofit, global professional as­sociation with more than 400 member firms in 27 countries.

Joe Snyder, PDA President happily stated, “This result is a testament to the commitment we have to working in the challenging field that we do and, despite all of those challenges, manage to make happy clients, happy staff, and a successful business existence!”

What Does a CSIA certification mean to you, the customer?

PDA Adheres to Best Practices and Benchmarks

As a CSIA CERTIFIED member PDA adheres to best practices in all aspects of business. This means we have in place the processes and procedures that foster honest contracts and fair risk allocation, proper billing, project management, and customer service that is measured.

PDA Has Resources

As a CSIA CERTIFIED member PDA has demonstrated a volume of business with engineering content that assures the availability of ad­equate resources to take on the demands of your automation projects.

PDA Has Experience

As a CSIA CERTIFIED member PDA has a number of years of project experience to qual­ify as members, assuring that your project isn’t some novice’s training ground.

PDA Has Dedicated Technologists

As a CSIA CERTIFIED member PDA meets the challenges of rapidly changing technology with proven technical management processes. This means you get the best, most current, technical expertise available.

PDA Has Successful Business Ownership

As a CSIA CERTIFIED member PDA has shown a record of profit­able business operation, protecting you from integrators who may not be around to finish or support your project. We also have in place adequate liability insurance and proper business practices for activities such as HR, accounting, and general management.

PDA Is Learning Oriented

Through our own internal, audited, quality improvement programs, PDA has demonstrated a commitment to advancing our businesses with better processes and new techniques, particularly in the areas of project management and business management.

PDA is Stable

With HR practices geared toward retaining top talent and business prac­tices dedicated to assuring long-term survival, PDA provides you with the consistency and stability you need for a project.

Process and Data Automation has established many long-term relationships over the years with clients in multiple industries that require and rely on automation and data systems to aid in the success of their businesses. Having the CSIA Certification solidifies the already existing and practiced procedures for project success. New clients can rest as­sured that their projects are being executed by a strong, stable organiza­tion with an independently verified track record for success.

Read More | Posted In: News

How Processors Can Guard Against Cyberattacks

In a recent interview for Food Engineering Magazine, Process and Data’s Director of Data Services, Scott McCausland, shared his cybersecurity expertise.

“Industrial control systems should be isolated on their own networks—independent of any extraneous business network,” says Scott McCausland, director of data services at Process and Data Automation – Data Services Group, a CSIA Certified Member. There should be strict firewall rules allowing specific traffic to and from each network. This forces only the appropriate applications to have access via very specific means to data that could flow between them. It is imperative that each zone has specific conduits for data flow. This is one level of security that can

For more information on how a cybersecurity attack at a processing plant can lead to production disruptions, theft of intellectual property or even a safety failure, click to read the full article HERE.

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Open Lab Exemplified
Engineering firm leverages partnership with Behrend

Any successful business owner knows the value of a reliable supply chain. That’s true not only for materials but also for human resources. A pipeline of talent is as important to the bottom line as efficient shipping of raw materials or the right channel for cost-effective parts.

Joe Snyder ’97, president of Process and Data Automation, an Erie-based engineering and data-services firm, credits a partnership with Penn State Behrend and access to students and faculty members as a contributing factor in his company’s success.

“We have built our engineering core largely with graduates of Behrend’s electrical engineering and electrical and computer engineering technology programs,” Snyder said. “As we have expanded, so too has this relationship, with the addition and growth of our intern program and sponsored senior design projects.”

Annually, PDA employs a half-dozen interns, including ECET, EE, computer science and management information systems majors, and the company sponsors two to five capstone projects with the School of Engineering.

“We have very little luck recruiting the engineers we need from outside the Erie area,” Snyder said, “so we make them. We hire students to work in our design group and teach them how to apply the things they are learning into the systems we engineer here.”

PDA has no problem retaining its workforce.

“We have a very low turnover,” he said. “All but two of the first dozen employees we hired when we started the business in 2002 are still here.” Most of them are Behrend graduates.

Snyder himself graduated from Behrend with a degree in Electrical Engineering Technology, as did his former partner, Mike Benedict ‘99, vice president of PDA. The two started PDA when they were laid off from their prior positions following 9/11. The company, which provides full-service industrial control systems for the food and beverage, metals, pet food, and wastewater industries, grew quickly and steadily.

In 2015, Snyder and Benedict relocated the business to Knowledge Park’s Merwin Building, where they occupy an 8,500-square-foot suite with office space, technical labs, and a high-bay training center.

PDA’s relationship with Behrend exemplifies the college’s “open-lab” model of learning and discovery, in which business leaders, faculty members, and students engage in research and development as teams.

Chuck Capper, an Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology senior, is one of a trio of students working on building a batch processing unit that will allow engineers at PDA to test their work in advance.

“It’s a $60,000 project that will serve as a training tool,” Capper said.

“We are always working with our clients’ machines and materials and they don’t want to shut a line down so we can test our processes,” Snyder said. “We decided to build a general batch processing unit that will allow us to do testing and training here. We can also bring clients here to train them.”

Snyder said the unit that Capper and his teammates are building will enable the company to “demo the daylights” out of the beer brewing software owned by their parent company, Krones. PDA was acquired by Krones, a German manufacturer of integrated packaging and bottling line systems, in March 2017.

The company expects to remain in Knowledge Park, close to the deep talent pool at Behrend.

“We’ve begun engaging other engineering disciplines in our projects, which allows us to create multi-disciplinary projects that more closely match the majority of real-world work examples that new engineers will encounter,” Snyder said.

While jobs are not a given to those who do internships or projects for PDA, Snyder said they are often offered.

“The nice thing,” he said, “is that, upon graduation, those students are able to hit the ground running.”

*REPOST FROM PENN STATE BEHREND’S SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING NEWS (https://behrend.psu.edu/news-events/school-publications/school-engineering-publications/engineering-news-2018/open-lab-exemplified)

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Belden Training Coming this May

Process and Data Automation and Grant Industrial invite you to 2 days of training!

Day 1 focuses on NETWORKING. The training offers the basics of Ethernet, Redundancy Options and the Advantages of Using Network Management tools.

Day 2  focuses on CYBERSECURITY. In the training, you will learn to identify cyber risk within your Industrial Control System and how to secure, protect and manage against cyber incidents.

You can come to ONE or BOTH days of training!

Dates & Times:  May 15th & 16th   | 9:00am-4:00pm

*Lunch will be provided each day.

Cost:  FREE

Location:  5240 Knowledge Parkway Erie, PA 16510

RSVP: Cheryll Snyder (Process and Data Automation):

csnyder@processanddata.com |814-866-9600 EXT. 248

*Denote which day or days you will attend when you email her.

A LIMITED NUMBER OF SPOTS ARE AVAILABLE—REGISTER TODAY!

What to expect in DAY 1 Networking Training:

Introduction to Ethernet

  • OSI Model
  • Where things fit

Layer 2

  • Traffic & Addressing
  • How Switches Work
  • Managed vs Unmanaged

Layer 3

  • Traffic & Addressing
  • How Routers work

Redundancy

  • Standardized vs Proprietary
  • New 0ms Standards

Network Management

  • Monitoring
  • Troubleshooting
  • Configuration
  • Documentation
  • Live Demo

What to expect in DAY 2 Cyber Security Training:

Corporate and Industry Drivers
• Cyber Security for Industrial Control Systems (ICS)
• Industrial Cyber Security Statistics and Incidents
• Cyber Security Perspectives and Evolution
• Cyber Security Standards
• Defining Risk and Risk Assessments
• Defense in Depth
• Zones and Conduits
• Securing Infrastructure & Endpoints

Change Detection and Compliance Auditing
• Demonstration of Belden & Tripwire tools and Utilities
• Network Management, Monitoring & Configuration
• Protection of Controllers in their native environment
• Tripwire Enterprise
• Tripwire Log Center

Training brought to you in partnership with:

 

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SCADA Lab Expansion

Process and Data Automation continues to expand the SCADA Lab at our Erie facility on PSU’s Knowledge Park at Behrend campus.  The expanded SCADA lab, shown here, allows us to simultaneously run 20+ virtual environments showcasing a wide variety of industrial software solutions as well as related VM management, networking management, and connected database products.  Microsoft, Rockwell Automation, Inductive Automation, Wonderware, GE Intelligent Solutions, and more continue to run daily in this lab….all fully connected to many process simulation systems and controllers in our Industrial lab.  The expansion fuels additional support for all of these plus our ever-expanding repertoire of MES solutions, primarily centered around Krones’ SitePilot modules.

Give us a call or drop a note to set up a tour!  We’re happy to share how we leverage this environment to make our team better, how to enable clients to learn and gain comfort with solutions, and how to reduce onsite time and risk when it comes to deployment of solutions.  sales@processanddata.com

 

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Rockwell Automation Awards Process and Data Automation’s Data Services Group

Process and Data Automation’s Data Services Group (DSG) has achieved the status of Recognized Systems Integrator in the Information Discipline for Rockwell Automation.

Inclusion in this select group of systems integrators comes with the completion of factory training, demonstrated competency on FactoryTalk Information software products, and successful ratings on customer satisfaction audits on projects comprised primarily of FactoryTalk Information software products.

“Rockwell’s portfolio of FactoryTalk Information products fits well with the mission of our Data Services Group: to effectively marry business side data with factory floor information,” says Joseph Snyder, President of Process and Data Automation. “The extents of products they offer fit a wide variety of applications and provide excellent quality for our clients” Snyder continues.

“We have worked extensively with the FactoryTalk (FT) Trans-action Manager, Historian, and PlantMetrics products for a long time,” says Jim Barish, Process and Data Automation’s Vice President of Client Relations. “Being recognized as only the 28th Information Systems Integrator in the US is truly an honor and a testament to the quality of the solutions our companies can deliver in combined efforts”.

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