• Aero



As consumer demand for frozen sweet-potato fries took off, a food manufacturer wanted to build a new plant in the southern United States to expand its production capacity.

Completed in 2010, with Concept Systems as Main Automation Contractor (MAC), this showcase plant – LEED Platinum certified – is internationally renowned for its environmentally friendly design and construction and operational efficiency that set a new bar for the industry. It is a premier example of process control.


ROI: 24 months

Project duration: 24 months

Client: 6 to 12 engineers
Concept Systems: 6 to 15 engineers

Concept Systems’ time on site: 90 days

Technology used

  • PlantPAx


An award-winning, showcase plant

In our role as the Main Automation Contractor, we developed a control system for engineering, development and PLC for all plant processing line equipment – from the receiving area up to the frozen grading area. We also developed controls for plant support and utility areas.

In this case, Mother Nature added a unique degree of complexity. While other types of potatoes are fairly uniform in size and shape, sweet potatoes are not. The variation required some creative thinking about how to process them efficiently at the front end.

We took a lead role

We directed the controls integration effort and ensured seamless integration and coordination of all areas of process control development. The lead integrator management responsibility also included timeline management, controls development status reporting, meeting coordination, adherence to standards, project cost review, project document management, and other pertinent process control development activities.

We also served as the OEM coordinator and managed the processing facility’s integration tasks, including controls requirements and development, system interfaces, and installation and commissioning efforts.

Recognition for our work

Upon its completion, the plant achieved LEED Platinum certification, becoming the first frozen food processing plant in the world to do so. Food Processing magazine honored the plant with its 2011 Green Plant of the Year Award for design innovation and economic sustainability, among other attributes.

The project presented an opportunity for us to partner with a forward-thinking client on a signature project and learn invaluable lessons along the way. In what might be the ultimate compliment, the same manufacturer subsequently called on us to serve as the lead integrator for the expansion of its processing plant in the Northwest.