Crafting a multi-faceted system integration strategy

A new manufacturing facility required developing and delivering a solution that emphasized enhanced process control, information access and building control.

By Chris Vavra December 13, 2022
Courtesy: Chris Vavra, CFE Media and Technology

Increasingly, system integration projects require more than one specialty for success. In some cases, the integrator must employ the full breadth of their skills. RoviSys had a project where the customer required help in multiple arenas, pushing them to provide a solution that not only addressed all the customer requirements, but did so in a way that was streamlined and efficient. Brian Toler and Aron Friszman, group managers for Rovisys, discussed specifics about the project.

CFE Media: For this client project, they emphasized needing help with process control, building controls and information control. Can you explain a little more about the background about what they were trying to achieve?

Answer: RoviSys had an existing relationship with this Northeast Ohio-based manufacturer, on the process side.

To meet surging demand for its coatings and sealants (fueled by a COVID-19 construction boom), the company needed to build a new production facility. The new facility would provide factory of the future technologies with full information and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) connectivity, as well as the capability to simultaneously mix eight different products and package them for shipment. Ultimately, enabling the company to quadruple capacity for production of sealants and waterproofing products.

New facility is 90,000 sq ft of manufacturing space – including eight fully automated production lines.

The customer had a team of process engineers, but not a dedicated facility management team familiar with integrating facility support systems.

CFE Media: In terms of the three needs, which one did you feel you were strongest at or could most easily help the client in this project?

Answer: All three aspects, which is what makes RoviSys unique. The customer needed a process automation partner and master systems integrator (MSI) that would drive the design, selection and implementation of control systems utilizing technologies that optimize productivity, safety and efficiency. A consultative partner with expertise in both process automation and building automation. This exceeds the capabilities of a typical systems integrator (SI). For this $25 million Greenfield project, RoviSys also brought decades of boots-on-the-ground experience in the specialty chemicals industry.

History with this customer was in process control, with batch and historian/reporting. But RoviSys growth has been faster in information and reporting. Our building automation practice is state of the art, not the lowest common denominator. So, we offered an integrated solution to all needs at a competitive price and with a modern IIoT approach.

CFE Media: With the building controls aspect, how much has COVID-19 changed this approach for your company and what impact, if any, did it have on the project?

Answer: Lead time of items has certainly impacted just about every aspect of the project. It’s been important to communicate regularly with the team as lead times of critical items changes.

CFE Media: Were there unexpected challenges for this project that changed the nature of the project? If so, what were they and how they were surmounted?

Answer: Greenfield projects present unique challenges as the design typically is in flux right up until it’s signed off for approval. It’s sometimes easy to make changes on paper that result in big changes to physically or result in substantial changes to the programming. It’s important to keep all stakeholders up to date so all parties understand the impact changes have on the project.

CFE Media: Was it hard coordinating project plans among the three separate units to keep everything moving smoothly?

Answer: It was an effort that required collaboration with IT personnel, production teams, plant managers and operators. As an MSI with a long track record of proven project management, RoviSys synthesized input from the stakeholders into a comprehensive, cohesive automation strategy.

CFE Media: Was it hard finding common ground for the architectures to meet the client’s needs?

Answer: The key to maximizing the potential of Rockwell solutions is having a partner with the expertise and resources to integrate them into a cohesive, seamless automation strategy. That’s where RoviSys shines. We integrate FactoryTalk Batch, FactoryTalk Historian, FactoryTalk View in hundreds of projects – both process and building. “Connected Architecture” by Rockwell is an architecture that promotes connectivity and flexibility.

CFE Media: What lessons did you take away from this project that will be beneficial for future projects?

Answer: Basics of adhering to timelines, budgets and organizational planning were key to the success of this project, and will be for future efforts – especially those that that are collaborative efforts between RoviSys process automation & building automation teams. Take away was that a commitment and expertise consistently differentiate RoviSys. This customer has engaged with our teams to provide consulting and engineering services for their other facilities around the world.

Original content can be found at Control Engineering.

Author Bio: Chris Vavra is senior editor for WTWH Media LLC.