Manufacturers want to improve their manufacturing process, but they’re not sure where to start. Plus, they want to minimize problems at start up and get the best return on their investment.
Typically, a company will design a process, put specs together and send out RFPs. Controls is just one item on the list. Actually, focusing on controls from the beginning can save time and add value. Integrating controls from day one ensures an automation process that gets a plant up and running faster. This best practice puts a plant in full production sooner than with the traditional approach.
Manufacturers can tap into control integration expertise by using a main automation contractor, often referred to as a MAC, who takes the lead by integrating all aspects of their project, resulting in a smoother and faster start-up. In fact, our customers have shared that for every dollar they invest in this model, they saved $10 on the backend because the plant started up properly the first time.
Three factors are key to achieving these results: engaging a lead integrator early, following a well-structured methodology and tapping into deep technical resources. Together, they create alignment and ensure the plant achieves its integration goals. How does this happen? It starts with identifying and engaging all stakeholders early in the process. Sounds simple, but it takes a MAC team that knows how to work side-by-side with owners, process engineers and operators, while taking a systemic approach and collaborating with equipment suppliers.
By following a proven project methodology, all elements will be considered and addressed. The process should have three main components:
- Getting started: Scope, project kick-off, and functional and detail design
- Building and testing: Acceptance planning, system development, procurement & assembly, panel quality control, factory acceptance testing, and shipment
- Final acceptance: Integration, installation, and training