Ignition Empowers Business Evolution For Leader In Water Supply Lines
2Gi Technologie – 2023 Firebrand Award Winner9 min video / 5 minute read
Saint-Gobain PAM has launched a business modernization program to remain at the highest level of competitiveness, and digital technology plays a key role. Saint-Gobain PAM chose the 150-year-old reference plant to demonstrate that leveraging Ignition as an enterprise platform could cover every need and that a team of 6 experts could successfully manage the entire transformation, including SCADA, MES, track and trace, quality control, and many other functions.
Saint-Gobain PAM must remain the leader in its market.
Founded in 1856, Saint-Gobain PAM carries the weight of its own history with certain aspects of its processes leading to pain points, including:
- Paper-based processes that gave rise to inconsistencies and a difficulty in collecting production data and making it available in different formats for real-time analysis.
- The obsolescence of hardware and software that controls industrial processes with a progressive disappearance of skills and limits in the connection to other systems such as the SAP ERP.
- Limits in innovation for new services like product traceability, internal quality improvement, and sharing data with its customers.
Competition has forced Saint-Gobain PAM to act quickly at lower cost and with more emphasis on cybersecurity and IT/OT convergence.
Saint-Gobain PAM has chosen to:
- Use Ignition with an adapted economic model that natively embeds numerous technical capabilities.
- To build a team of experts: Three in the Saint-Gobain PAM digital team and three in an Ignition integration team.
- To rely on the expert integration team at 2Gi Technologie, which has been using the Platform for 15 years.
The combined 6 person team faced many challenges, including:
- Defining working methods adapted to a 24x7 factory without interrupting production while guaranteeing optimal support for the transition.
- Building an infrastructure to converge OT and IT and meet the challenges of security, performance, and scalability. Demonstrating Ignition's technical ability to address a wide range of needs:
- Real-time data collection for production traceability and analysis.
- Quality control integrated directly into the production line by providing the operator with a proactive HMI included in an existing application ecosystem.
- Collecting production data to share in the SAP ERP.
- Generating reports automatically on different media for operational and management staff.
- Geographic tracking on mobile devices of warehouse storage.
- Proving that costs can be reduced by using the full capacity of the platform.
- Delivering high value-added functionalities quickly and regularly.
Ignition's Hub & Spoke architecture met every challenge, including security, performance, real-time data transmission, and scalability.
Ignition's open standards made it possible to easily interface with third-party systems, including SAP and VAX architectures (designed in 1977).
Saint-Gobain PAM uses Vision, Perspective, and Perspective Mobile at the same time to keep HMIs adapted to use at the foot of the production line, in a "responsive" office environment, and in mobility
Saint-Gobain PAM achieved tracking by combining an RFID tag placed in the surface of the pipe and capable of withstanding high temperatures developed by its R&D teams and Ignition's ability to collect and aggregate data in real time from various points on the production line.
This unique traceability allows Saint-Gobain PAM, after 15 years of various attempts, to track the detailed production of each pipe manufactured in real time.
Vision has improved quality control with simple and ergonomic HMIs with tactile input for operators permanently wearing protective gloves. For example, one application enabled the integration of a real-time pipe arrival diagram thanks to Ignition's native interfacing functions with the PLCs. The HMI allows the operator to indicate the pipes to be checked and to directly enter the result of the quality control performed on the production line in real time.
Saint-Gobain PAM has also used Interfacing capabilities to connect the SAP ERP and the data stored in the VAX. Collecting production data combined with the ERP data enables the production of various types of reports that natively use Ignition's PDF generation, Excel, and email (SMTP) capabilities.
Implementing reports was an opportunity to standardize the data repositories in order to permit comparisons between different production lines based on Ignition's data modeling capabilities.
The Ignition Perspective Mobile enabled access to Honeywell ruggedized phone GPS and QR code scanning, which allows users to track the geographic location of scanned products and forklift operators to simply locate products in the warehouse area of the plant. Saint-Gobain PAM also achieved mapping through Ignition's native open source Leaflet component integration.
Agility and Cost
To achieve these technological results at the lowest cost, Saint-Gobain PAM systematically called on experts in digital, plant operations, and Ignition and POCs ensured field acceptability and technological compliance.
- The Ignition platform’s agile development features such as its development and testing environment, simple backups, unitary updates, real-time deployment without restart, and unlimited remote clients, enabled the permanent integration of micro-evolutions to match the ergonomics of the operator workstation as closely as possible.
Saint-Gobain PAM can release features in a regular and iterative way during the 3 years of the project without affecting the production of the plant.
The strategy of building a team of experts to leverage the full power of the Ignition Platform has paid off.
In a few months and with optimized costs, Saint-Gobain PAM has a modern and open Enterprise Platform covering all of its digital needs in a manufacturing environment.
The plant put an end to costly and imperfect paper-based information collection processes.
The roadmap has been defined to:
- Deal with the obsolescence of the tools.
- Enhance the value of industrial data for Quality, MES reporting and traceability.
- Deploy internationally thanks to the native integration of multilingualism in the Ignition platform.
New usages are now being developed:
- Integration of environmental IoT sensors.
- Connection of third-party metrology tools for quality.
Saint-Gobain PAM can now even consider extending product traceability to its own customers, from manufacturing to use and after-sales.
Deploy Date: March 2023
Alarms: Very few
Devices used: Schneider (5), eWon (3)
Architectures used: Hub & Spoke + many modules
Databases used: Microsoft SQL Server, Mirrored
Historical data logged: 12,000 rows per day
Created By: 2Gi Technologie
2Gi Technologie is one of the oldest Ignition integrators in the world. As a Premier Integrator, 2Gi Technology has specialized in the digitalization of industrial processes for over 20 years. It is involved in SCADA, MES, and IoT, and can offer full turnkey solutions, including hosting and telecoms. Over the years, 2Gi Technologie has successfully implemented solutions in the manufacturing industry, chemical industry, and water and wastewater management. Thanks to its recognized expertise, including in large groups, 2Gi Technologie is occasionally active in Europe, French-speaking Africa, and the United Kingdom.
Project For: Saint-Gobain PAM
Worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction, Saint-Gobain designs, manufactures and distributes materials and services for the construction and industrial markets. As part of this vast group (€51.2 billion turnover in 2022, 168,000 employees, present in 75 countries), Saint-Gobain PAM has been the leading expert in water supply pipelines for more than 150 years and equips more than 100 capitals and 1,000 towns worldwide each year with its range of ductile iron pipes, fittings, joints and accessories. It also supplies equipment for the municipal casting and building sectors, such as fire hydrants, manhole covers, valves, gully grates, and flange adaptors.