Business continuity for a plant 'always on'

Noberasco chose Elmec to create a reliable network architecture for interoperability between offices, warehouses and production

Designed to ensure continuous availability and high performance, the networking architecture designed by Elmec with Noberasco can support the growth of the company and cope with emerging trends, allowing the installation to achieve the highest productivity with low running costs.

The Challenge

From the need to expand production spaces and to reunite all the company functions, previously located in two plants, in a single pole to optimize processes, Noberasco has created a new completely innovative structure. The plant, whose layout has been designed according to the production cycle and company needs, is characterized by a remarkable level of automation, with control and traceability systems for tracking the product along the entire chain up to shipment.

In order to ensure the perfect functioning of these sophisticated production systems, it was necessary to use a high-performance network infrastructure, capable of serving all areas of the new site, ensuring high reliability and availability to drastically reduce the risk of any possible interruption involving the arrest of the entire plant. Hence the need to find a reliable partner for the implementation of a network infrastructure capable of withstanding the production rhythms of the company.

Thanks to its vast expertise and high-tech solutions, Elmec has proved to be the ideal partner for the organisation, design and implementation of the IT architecture of the new Noberasco plant.

Elmec has faced many challenges. On the one hand, the need to reduce the risk of any possible interruptions linked not only to the industrial automation component, but also to the use of office automation and collaboration tools that use both wired and wireless access alike in a non-discriminatory manner. On the other hand, the need to integrate the different souls of the plant, which despite having a highly productive connotation, include warehouses with high industrial automation completely dependent on the network infrastructure (wireless & wired), logistics areas and then an important section of offices with strong expectations of expansion in the coming years.

The challenge was therefore to build a network infrastructure capable of ensuring 24 x 7 x 365 days of operation per year and reducing possible downtime to almost zero.

The Solution

Following a careful analysis of the site and the customer's needs, the solution put in place by Elmec implemented a service consisting of pro-active tools and a Network Operations Centre (NOC) able to constantly monitor the activity and react quickly in case of problems.

To meet Noberasco's needs, it was necessary to design a solution that could guarantee high performance and availability while minimizing the failure factors.

As far as the devices are concerned, we opted for Poe+ systems, a fundamental solution aimed at providing services to the Wi-Fi infrastructure chosen by the customer, in particular for highly automated warehouses. Special attention has been paid to the implementation of all the necessary redundancies, such as dual power supplies with power stack technology to ensure in each cabinet an energy pool shared between the switches.

Benefits Achieved

Elmec played a key role in the design and implementation of the network architecture of the new plant. The solutions proposed enabled Noberasco to integrate the several company functions into just one infrastructure able to guarantee, on the one hand, the maximum interoperability and, on the other hand, to satisfy the specific needs of the individual departments.

Thanks to the solution designed and implemented by Elmec, Noberasco will be able to optimize the processes of all the production lines, reducing to almost zero the risk of possible stoppages and downtimes of the plant.

Designed to ensure continuous availability and high performance, the architecture will be able to support business growth and address emerging trends, enabling the plant to achieve maximum productivity with low operating costs.

All this was made possible through the use of Cisco Catalyst technology. Within the site two data centers were built interconnected with a double 10Gbit fibre ring to each distribution cabinet. As part of the solution, a pair of switches (3850x) were implemented in stacks on each cabinet to ensure the redundancy of equipment for each zone and the logical division of networks into VLANs to ensure the isolated transport of services.