Industrial Control System Software Repository Solution for one of Britain’s Leading Suppliers of Fresh Milk and Milk Product

Published by Iain Rennie on

Challenge

A Major UK Milk and Products Manufacturer first utilised the Asset Guardian Solution over 10 years ago across six different sites. They then proposed to expand the use of their Asset Guardian Solution to include further production sites and to include the following enhanced AG features which are being utilised today:

• Software Version Control
• Disaster Recovery
• Document Control (of all Technical documents)
• Hardware Configuration
• Obsolescence Management
• Password Control
• Management of Forces
• eLearning Training

Solution

There were several steps in the process of upgrading the Manufacturer’s existing Asset Guardian Solution:

  1. Upgrade Existing Asset Guardian Solution to the latest version: This allowed them to move to the new thin client, concurrent user model. This increased the integrity and security of the system while simultaneously making it more easily available to users across multiple UK sites.
  2. Migration of existing data and files to the latest versions: This included all the software associated with six different sites across the UK with over 1,600 different system backup records containing over 10,000 separate revisions totalling over 40 GB of files, as the AG solution was upwardly compatible using the AG migration software.
  3. Separate Asset Guardian Server installed on each site: This made all the files and information instantly available to engineers and technicians working on their site. The AG Web Client also ensures that central engineering staff can access each site’s systems from remote locations. Sites can also be given read-only access to other sites’ information allowing better exchange of ideas and best practice.
  4. Access was given to Asset Guardian’s Computer Based Training: This allowed existing users to familiarise themselves with the extra features of the new version. This meant when the new version went live it was business as usual and all staff were able to continue using Asset Guardian without the loss of any time.
  5. Control of Revisions and changes to control software without interruption: The manufacturer was able to check out software to OEM’s and 3rd party vendors to make changes, check in new revisions of the software as they arrived on site and record details of the changes made, providing strict management of OEM and 3rd party access.
  6. New features provided: The manufacturer enhanced their working practices by using the new AG features to create custom reports and to automatically schedule them to be e-mailed to the relevant personnel allowing live up-to-date information from the Asset Guardian Solution delivered straight to their inbox without needing to have access to the Asset Guardian Solution.
  7. Expanded Use of Asset Guardian: The manufacturer also started to include the use of documentation management of technical documents and drawings, hardware configuration of PLC and SCADA systems and password control providing layers of security and management of the forces applied to Control Systems. As a result, the client started to unlock the full potential of their Asset Guardian Solution.

Benefits

  • The new Web Server/Thin Client architecture made the Asset Guardian Solution available from all locations and for all users without the overhead of installing client software on users’ computers.
  • Concurrent user license model allowed the number of licenses to be reduced while increasing the number of users who can access the Asset Guardian Solution.
  • All existing data and files migrated seamlessly into latest version and was available to all users from day one, ensuring no break in operations.
  • The integrity of files is now fully protected by automatic schedules running on the AG Server constantly verifying all files against recorded checksums, with Admin users automatically notified straight away if any mismatch found. This minimises the risks associated with corruption or infection of software backups.
  • With AG Servers situated locally on each site, in a full Disaster Recovery situation, the Asset Guardian Solution can be relied on to provide all configurations and files to get the plant back in production in the shortest possible time.
  • The manufacturer has now unlocked the full AG features and benefits of their Asset Guardian Solution. Even after using the Software Revision and Disaster Recovery features for over ten years, they now use Asset Guardian for Document Control, Hardware Configuration Management, Password Control and Management of Forces. This has allowed them to replace paper and electronic legacy registers with one Asset Guardian Solution, increasing the efficiency of managing all this different information.
  • With the new sections being utilised, Obsolescence Management of the client’s control systems is now complete and very quickly, cost savings will be made by reducing or eliminating downtime caused by Obsolescence issues.
  • Compliance with relevant industry and national standards has been assured with Asset Guardian’s full audit history allowing all actions to be viewed and reported. All this information can be presented during audits either internally or from outside bodies.
  • Having all their software backed up to a centralised repository and the ability to retrieve the software for each plant asset quickly and know that they have access to the latest revision is key to reducing any downtime due to software being lost or misplaced.

If you would like any more information on Asset Guardian, please fill out the contact form below, and a member of our team will be in contact soon.

Written by Iain Rennie. As AGSL’s Product Development Manager, Iain Rennie is responsible for leading the company’s product development and technology strategy. Before joining AGSL in 2008, Iain was employed for 14 years as a process control and automation specialist for Elite Control Systems Limited, where he worked on projects in Europe, China, the USA and Azerbaijan. He is the company’s Quality Manager, and heads the Asset Guardian software solution development team. Iain holds a Bachelor of Science - Honours degree in Mathematical Physics from the University of Edinburgh, and a Master’s degree in Control Systems Technology from Edinburgh’s Napier University in Edinburgh, where he graduated with distinction. A Chartered Engineer, he is a member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).