AUTOMATION AND SOFTWARE INTEGRATION
SPPL can assist, if a facility has existing processes in place, but a production line requires improvement through automation and Software integration, along with other enterprise systems.
SPPL works closely with clients to understand both the existing process systems, and the project objectives. This allows us to create a detailed, functional description document which outlines the Process Automation solution proposed by SPPL. This will typically include:
- A Control System Architecture
- Detailed Operational Sequences
- Examples of the user interface to be used by operators
We also design the reporting system Software and tools that allow our clients to understand and act on the process data collected.
Key advantages to using SPPL for your Automation Integration include our extensive experience, detailed knowledge of automation technologies, deep understanding and knowledge of manufacturing processes and requirements and ability to perform integration at all levels of the GAMP-5 model.
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) have been around for a long time, but as new technology is developed, companies are left holding onto control systems installed in years past which no longer meet the needs of a modern production system. In an age where up-time and reliability are key, the oftentimes misunderstood responsibilities of a PLC are not realized until production goes down due to unforeseen failures.
Although a component of a traditional machine system where core functionality does not change over years of iteration, the PLC lends itself to the IT world, where hardware and software are changing at an ever-accelerating rate. Manufacturers try to stay consistent and allow for easy upgrades by building on top of platforms, but as demands in the automation space increase, even these platforms must be abandoned and rebuilt from the ground up. Support for these becomes very expensive, as spare parts become more difficult to obtain, and experienced technicians leave the field. Though refurbished equipment may be available, the quality of these parts can often cause problems, as there is simply no way to equate their reliability with that of a new control module and a factory warranty.
SPPL extensive industry experience allows for a smooth transition once it’s time to upgrade PLC and SCADA. SPPL always begins by auditing the current system to determine whether it is currently providing the functionality needed, meets with machine and process operators to analyse the PLC programming code and other inputs that interact with the system, completes necessary re-engineering, including interactive panel design, custom build, equipment procurement, risk analysis and a Site Acceptance Test. Finally, SPPL analyses system documentation for completeness and accuracy, providing updated documents reflective of the new system after migration is complete.
On the factory floor, “maintenance” is a word that brings to mind the preventative and responsive tasks required to keep production running smoothly. The “IT” team on the other hand has its similar responsibilities of keeping the business processes within the site. Where these worlds converge is where SPPL delivers solutions.
Advantages of working with SPPL include our extensive experience, but also our close relationships with PLC manufacturer, which ensure our engineers receive ongoing training on current products.
SPPL systematic and holistic approach to System Migration provides an upgraded system that will perform as it has in the past, but with reduced risk of failure and more efficiency. It will also be easier and less costly to maintain as the production environment changes.