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Tag Archives | CSIA

System Integrators of the Year: The future is today for 2016 winners

ConceptSystems-12-3-1511356Albany, Ore.-based Concept Systems has built a reputation as a problem-solver for its customers in the aerospace, pulp and paper, building products, food and beverage, and metals industries as well as help integration customers get the most out of their project.

The Pacific Northwest is home to airplanes and the raw materials for paper airplanes. It’s also a home for outstanding system integration. Albany, Ore.-based Concept Systems has built a reputation as a problem-solver for its customers in aerospace, pulp and paper, building products, food and beverage, and metals. Michael Gurney, president of Concept Systems, discusses his team’s success and how to help integration customers get the most out of their project in a conversation with CFE Media.

CFE Media What is the one thing plant management can do to help ensure a successful integration process?

Gurney: The most important aspect of the integration process is managing the risks; identifying and mitigating each. The types and scale of risk vary from project to project and change dynamically during the course of a project. This requires that you have a team that has the skill set and processes in place to handle them.

Partnering with a (Control System Integrators Association (CSIA) Certified Integrator is a good place to start, as having processes for risk identification and mitigation is a key qualifier. Getting your integration partner engaged early in the process is the one thing that can be done to ensure success.

We understand automation projects and the inherent risks. As such, we know the right questions to ask to avoid project pitfalls. Most project risks can be identified early in the process if the right questions are asked and all the information is on the table. Like any risk in life, the earlier the risk is identified, the better it can be mitigated. With the proper planning, automation integration should be the norm. Continue Reading →

Improving Your Manufacturing Process With a Main Automation Contractor

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

Continue Reading →

Why It’s Time to Consider Using Vision Technology

coffee_robot_3D_modelBecause the use of vision technologies on the plant floor can give you a competitive advantage, here are the key issues to consider when looking for the right vision system.

How viable is vision technology on the plant floor? On the surface, when you look at the technology and the capabilities it seems like vision should be as common as the programmable logic controller (PLC) and the human-machine interface (HMI). If you think about the technology and its ability to “see” the environment and make decisions based on what it sees, the applications are boundless. Despite its clear advantages, the use of vision technology on the plant floor is not as commonplace as most people would imagine. Why is that?

I believe the main reasons are: 1.) The supporting technology behind the camera; and 2.) Camera installations are often viewed as being not very robust. Continue Reading →

Main Automation Contractor

Our process results in a smoother, shorter startup and commissioning process. That leads to a quicker ramp-up to full production and profitability. Because we come in very early in the design, we can make sure that automation standards, networking standards, communication protocols, and access-to-data factors unique to the plant are incorporated into the design from the get-go.

As Main Automation Contractor (MAC), we work as part of the team, side-by-side with process engineers and owners, to assure that the design-for-automation meets the needs of all stakeholders. We represent plant owners by collaborating with equipment suppliers, and make sure the process design and control system operation is fully vetted before startup. Training begins earlier than in other models, which helps plant operators be ready to run the floor at the time of commissioning, shortening the amount of time it takes to reach production targets.

This is complex work. We have significant experience with the MAC Model, a well-structured project methodology and the depth of technical resources to make sure it happens smoothly. We’ve been told by a customer that for every $1 they invested in the MAC Model, they saved $10 on the backend by having the plant start up properly the first time.

UTILIZING PLANTPAX FOR MAIN AUTOMATION CONTRACTOR PROJECTS
Commonality
• Same look and feel across systems
• Well-organized programs and re-use • Functionality
• Full-featured and scalable

CSIA

Control System Integrators Association seeks to enable industries everywhere to have access to low-risk, safe and successful applications of automation technology by helping its members improve their business skills, providing a forum to share industry expertise, and promoting best practices for business management. www.controlsys.org

Main Automation Contractor and the Future of Manufacturing

A new level of partnership between manufacturers and automation solution providers aims to fill the engineering skills gap.

One thing is certain, the world of automation moves at a dizzying speed.

The evolution of technologies like laser scanning, laser welding and non-contact encoders has been remarkable. Where will 3D printing take us? How will graphene impact the products we use? While technology promises to continue to evolve quickly, what can’t be said with any certainty is what the automation world will look like in 10, or even five, years from now.

Couple this with the fact that many manufacturers have reduced engineering staff in an effort to run leaner and it begs the question: How will manufacturers capitalize on what automation has, and will continue, to offer?

As manufacturers have cut engineering staff, automation solution providers have continued to up their game—specifically to fill the gap created by fewer staff engineering resources at their clients’ sites. This shift has resulted in the emergence of many world-class engineering companies focused on the automation space, as evidenced by the continued growth and interest in the Control System Integrators Association. The CSIA is a global, not-for-profit trade organization that seeks to advance the industry of control system integration and promote best practices. Continue Reading →