When a local Sydney based division of Hanson decided to relocate their pre-cast facilities to Mulgrave they approached us for a potential rewrite of the PLC and SCADA software.
Hanson in short produces pre-cast wall structures out of concrete by creating the casting forms on big metal plates that gets rolled from station to station for all the manual operations required by various personnel.
The plate with the casted products then gets transported in to a 6 level racking systems for final curing.
The reason for the consideration of a re-write was that the existing controls and operator interface was cumbersome and unintuitive for operators to use, was quite unreliable and often behaved inconsistently.
For 5 years since the plants inception operators had complained about repeated failure of the software controls system to perform reliably, Having to call in technician’s to recover from software “hung” scenarios.
Mostly the personnel had simply been resorting to run the system in manual in order to get product out the door and as you well know manual processes are riddled with OH&S issues and implications.
Later we also learned that the OEM had spent a period of over 2 years travelling between their country and the Sydney site again and again to accommodate for the shortcomings of the controls. So needless to say that Hanson was concerned about another “would be” expert attempting to write new software promising all the whistle and bangs.
However after some persuasion and demonstration of past successes in re-writing software they gained some confidence in us.
At the end they ended up spending about $80,000.00 dollars in total on a do and charge basis for the software re-write, they never looked back.
Having pre-tested the system in full simulation (build in features in our methodology) rigorously in-house we ended up spending the exact 10 working days estimated for the commissioning of the exact same mechanical system that once caused so much pain, now operating smoothly in a different location.
Is $80,000.00 expensive in a complete relocation project of well past $2 million? And compared to what?
This is what the project manager had to say at the completion of the project:
“The software bench testing was a huge benefit and greatly reduced the time in the field. I was very impressed with the results and look forward to working with Torben again in the future”.