Tag Archives | control system integrators association

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

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The 2015 Aerospace Forecast

Robots on the rise
David Skidmore, a strategic solutions specialist at Concept Systems and a certified member of the Control System Integrators Association, says machine vision, robotics, and manufacturing intelligence are enabling the aerospace industry to automate tasks that pose safety risks for employees, are tedious, or time consuming – increasing production capacity and improving quality.

“Applications for intelligent robotics are becoming more prevalent,” Skidmore says.

Having a robot move a stack of parts allows the work cell to make active and intelligent decisions, identifying and processing the correct part rather than just pulling a part from the stack. Human interactions with robots are also a focus, with features to ensure movements, speeds, and torques for robots to integrate safely with workers.

Read the original article here.

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.

• Same look and feel across systems
• Well-organized programs and re-use • Functionality
• Full-featured and scalable


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.

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 →

How to Trust Your Integrator


Ranking of System Integrator Selection Criteria Price and global capabilities aren’t nearly as important as knowledge and relationship history when selecting a sytem integrator, according to a 2005 study.

A Machine Control System Should Not Only Perform to Expectations, but It Must Integrate Seamlessly into the Rest of the End User’s Operation

When we look at the reasons behind a failed industrial system integration project on an industrial machine, it typically wasn’t the control technology that failed. For any given integration project, there are multiple technologies that will do the job. The difference is in the application of the technology. And this comes down to the skills of the integrator and how well the integrator interacts and communicates with the machine builder and the end user. For the machine builder, it is doubly important. Not only must the machine control system perform to expectations, it also must integrate seamlessly into the rest of the end user’s operation. Continue Reading →