Case Study

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Global Food Leader Begins The Journey to the Connected Enterprise

Converging IT and OT to align multiple processes, people and geographies for greater productivity and sustainability

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  • To help begin the Customer journey to a Connected Enterprise by converging IT and OT to provide increased visibility and remote monitoring


  • Consulting Services - To identify existing IT layer and applications and consider future roadmap and requirements
  • Service and Support Agreement - Remote monitoring of processes at the plant with alarms being responded to within 10 minutes
  • Industrial Data Center - Increases uptime by running multiple operating systems and applications from virtualized servers


  • Risk Management and Cost Savings - The cloud manages virus protection and cyber security, reducing risk and costs involved with managing onsite
  • Smart manufacturing - New system provides improved connectivity and visibility

When a noted and iconic food and beverage company with a global reputation of being a trusted producer of delicious foods puts its trust in Rockwell Automation, then there’s every chance that this is a good recipe for success.

The challenges experienced with information sharing over a number of manufacturing sites all around the world would require an innovative solution to align multiple processes, people and geographies - laying the foundations for their journey towards a connected enterprise.

Given the size of the organisation, converging the plant floor operational technology with the office layer IT infrastructure globally was not a small undertaking but it was certainly a very important one to meet growing production and business goals.

Smart manufacturing drives productivity and profitability. It requires highly connected plants so devices and processes can be continually monitored and optimised.

Through The Connected Enterprise, Rockwell Automation helps food and beverage manufacturers offer a more agile response to changing manufacturing and consumer demands. The company works with customers to help them converge plant-level and enterprise networks, and securely connects people, processes and technologies.

Digital Manufacturing

Leveraging data from the Industrial Internet of Things is the basis of a connected enterprise approach.  “It was important for us to gain an understanding of the existing IT layer and applications as well as considering the future roadmap and requirements,” explained Sean Doherty, Food & Beverage account manager, Rockwell Automation.

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Leveraging data from the Industrial Internet of Things is the basis of a connected enterprise approach.

“In the first instance, it was vital to create a back up of the control layer of the plant so if there were any issues, the disaster recovery would seamlessly take place. The IDC provides a complete back up of the control system layer using FactoryTalk® AssetCentre and was built offsite in our facility in Auckland,” he added.

The majority of the commissioning was performed remotely and was a seamless process. The engineers were onsite for a week but once it was connected to the plant’s network, the remote support centre did the rest of the commissioning process remotely.

Combined IT and OT Support

Rockwell Automation was responsible for delivering the complete solution, converging IT and OT to help reduce downtime through remote monitoring.

“This provided several advantages to the customer as they were able to benefit from our expertise in cyber security and patching and also from the fact that we have a greater understanding of the operational environment than a typical IT provider- providing a complete solution, combining IT and OT technical support in the same number rather than having to bounce between providers and thus getting operations back into production more quickly,” explained Doherty.

“As a result of the service level agreement in place, the processes at the plant are monitored remotely and each filter or alarm is responded to every 10 minutes, with the average response time being only four minutes. In actual fact, every 2 minutes there’s a ‘heartbeat’ sent to the technical support team in Melbourne which then goes to the support team in UK, then US and then back through Melbourne. This means that they are supported end to end with any required patching supported remotely,” he said.

To increase manufacturing uptime at the plant, the customer invested in an Industrial Data Center (IDC)  from Rockwell Automation. The IDC is a pre-engineered solution providing the hardware required to run multiple operating systems and multiple applications from virtualised servers.

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Rockwell Automation delivered the complete solution, converging IT and OT to help reduce downtime through remote monitoring.

The Rockwell Automation IDC provides industry-leading technology from partners including Cisco, Panduit, EMC2 and VMWare. It delivers high availability and fault tolerance, while reducing server footprint.

The IDC is a key component for the Connected Enterprise vision. It provides the capability to bring data from the plant floor and monitor performance for local strategies.

Data Visibility

Peace of mind came from knowing that the Rockwell Automation remote control centre was responsible for proactively monitoring the plant, while complete remote access was also provided from both the plant and from the corporate network, offering real time data visibility.

“This is the first step towards establishing a Connected Enterprise at the plant. The next stage of the project will establish the ability to gain process improvement through the whole organisation by providing the capability for both corporate and engineering to create reports based on real time information from the control system,” said Doherty.

A key goal of this project was to develop a roadmap that addresses all aspects of the operation, while also preparing for technology advances and meeting operational and corporate objectives such as reduced downtime and improved productivity.

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The Industrial Data Centre houses all of your applications in an easily managed and supported environment.

Meeting Global Performance and Environmental Strategies

The icing on the cake, was the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, energy and water usage, and waste. By analysing data the customer is now able to drill down and identify areas that could be improved to help meet these objectives. The new solution also helps with the move towards a paperless environment, with information being stored in the cloud and IDC.

The Connected Enterprise lays the foundation for seamless connectivity and greater collaboration among the many people, processes and technologies that impact product safety and quality. Additionally the digitisation of your operations removes paperwork from the plant floor reducing complexity and compliance costs. Smart operations are connected operations.

The ability to access relevant, real-time and role-based information can enable more informed decision-making at every level and create nearly endless opportunities for manufacturers to improve processes. Additionally, advances in equipment, control systems and information systems can help establish more flexible and more responsive operations.

The benefits of smart manufacturing extend far beyond operational improvements. A secure network infrastructure, greater connectivity and access to actionable information also create opportunities to enhance quality, food safety and worker safety.

“Alongside new technology, the process is about creating a culture of continuous improvement. The Connected Enterprise promotes seamless collaboration and integration enabling the power of real-time data to help make better, more profitable business decisions,” concluded Doherty.


Allen-Bradley, FactoryTalk AssetCentre and Rockwell Software are trademarks of Rockwell Automation, Inc.


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