RidgeTech was asked by one of our large confectionary clients to upgrade all of their InTouch Software nodes including both software and hardware upgrades. New corporate policies designed at reducing the risk of cyber attacks required the upgrading of over 90 operator nodes running various versions of InTouch and outdated/unsupported computer operating systems. The challenges with this upgrade were:
- All upgrades had to take place during live production hours
- Creating an industrial plant-wide network for a new centralized server
- Existing client stations had a mix of resolutions and screen sizes, upgrades required conforming to new standard sizes and resolutions
- RidgeTech was given an 8-month window to complete all the project conversions, implementations, and validations
RidgeTech began by creating a master list of all the nodes in the facility, then coordinated with the client to organize the list into specific areas with common production schedules. After an agreed upon list was created, we identified each node’s characteristics with regards to hardware specs, O/S versions, InTouch Software versions, and project sizes. With this information we could then target and rank each conversion area (and node) from a risk and complexity point of view.
The next step was to develop a plan and coordinate with the plant’s production demands to upgrade each node. A schedule was mapped out with RidgeTech’s tasks as well as our client’s tasks that had to take place ahead of our installation for each node. Each node installation required new connections to the new industrial ethernet network, and the stainless-steel enclosures had to be enlarged to mount the new industrial computers. Once the schedule was agreed upon by all parties, we could begin our offline project conversions to InTouch 2017.
At the implementation stage we used our lab to setup one of each of the new screen sizes to set up a base install of software and hardware configuration. We then created an image of each install thereby only requiring the new InTouch project to be installed at our client’s facility. Each node was individually tracked for completion stages throughout; from offline project conversions, to hardware prepared, to onsite validations and a final client sign-off.
RidgeTech successfully completed the project in approximately 3 months, which shattered all expectations from our client, and we achieved this without interfering with any of the plant’s day to day production schedule. With newly upgraded hardware running the latest (at project installation) InTouch 2017 the client noticed impressive performance upgrades on all nodes. In addition to the new nodes we also implemented 4 Historian Servers which has allowed for maintenance and production leaders to take deeper dives into problem areas. Upgrading to InTouch 2017 not only gave our client peace of mind when it comes to cyber security, but it also allowed for future plans of implementing a full-scale System Platform install.