Client Case Study: Powering Smart Just–in–Time (JIT) Manufacturing with Seamless and Secure Connectivity – Everywhere

Mission critical network and structured cabling from Camworth enables Highly Marelli's Just-in-Time manufacturing operations

Category: Insights

14th March 2024

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Executive Summary

Highly Marelli is a global automotive Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems supplier that specialises in providing world-class solutions for car manufacturers.

An established auto parts supplier to the Nissan production line, a major new business win meant that Highly Marelli UK needed to expand its production capacity.

The decision was taken to shift its manufacturing and assembly site at Sunderland, Tyne and Wear to a new location in Washington. The move would enable the company to further diversify its operations and better serve its growing customer base.

The new facility needed to be up and running in just over three months. That included implementing the mission critical network and data cabling infrastructure needed to enable Highly Marelli’s advanced manufacturing, inventory, warehouse, and plant floor just-in-time (JIT) operations.

With the clock ticking, Highly Marelli’s UK team turned to Camworth to design, configure and install a cost-effective converged plant-to-business solution that would deliver secure, reliable connectivity everywhere.

The Requirement

With limited in-house IT resources, Highly Marelli UK needed to work with a trusted specialist technical partner that could design and deliver a full package solution featuring both cabling and network technologies.

“The accurate and timely transmission of data is vital for powering seamless operations across the site. Connecting everything from the manufacturing assembly line, through to our warehouse management system and office infrastructure, it was essential we got this right first time,” says James Sutton, Project Manager.

Designing the network and cabling infrastructure for the new manufacturing plant required the careful consideration of some key business requirements.

In addition to being highly resilient, the solution needed to combine networking, security, OT/IT convergence, connectivity for industrial automation technologies, and end-to-end cybersecurity.

“Our UK manufacturing sites connect directly to a global network. This meant Camworth had to liaise directly with in house IT to ensure the solution design met their strict integration and security specifications,” explains James Sutton.

With the network and cabling design validated, Camworth now had a matter of weeks to undertake a full implementation.

The Solution

  • CommScope Structured cabling
  • Cisco switches
  • Cisco WiFi
  • Fortinet Firewalls
  • Dell VxRail Hyperconverged infrastructure
  • Synology Storage
  • Veeam
  • VMware

The Implementation

The scale and scope of the project meant that the on-site installation phase required close professional liaison with a variety of construction firms and other subcontractors involved in the build out of the new facility.

“The implementation process was positive, with effective communication and support from Camworth’s team.

Alongside providing detailed project plans, they were highly flexible when it came to adapting to our tight timeline. Importantly, they worked hard to minimise disruption associated with their on-site activities,” confirms James.

To streamline installation of the all-important structured cabling across the extensive site, the cabling team worked hand-in-glove with other specialist contractors to overcome a number of challenges. This included two manufacturing units separated by a 40-metre gap and a connected loading block.

“Camworth’s cabling project lead liaised directly with the contractor handling cable containment. This released me to focus on other aspects of the project. Similarly, when the networking infrastructure team came on site, they simply got on with the job and handled all liaison with other contractors,” continues James.

Despite challenging time constraints, the entire installation was completed within the go-live timeframe.

“Working with Camworth was a positive experience from start to finish. Their effective communication and support during the implementation process were key factors in the project’s success,” says James Sutton.

Implementation scope

  • Network and data cabling for two assembly plants, a production plant, goods in/goods out and two offices.
  • Solution features 5 miles of Cat6 cable, I mile of Cat6A cable and 2.5 miles of OM4 fibre.
  • Network infrastructure supports seven fully integrated automated robotic manufacturing cells, highly sequential JIT manufacturing capabilities, and direct customer data feeds.
  • The solution features large firewalls to safeguard data and maintain communications within a global network that connects multiple factories across Europe.

Outcomes

The highly resilient network and cabling infrastructure solution has proved its worth from Day One. Today it enables the accurate and timely delivery of data that powers the highly coordinated JIT manufacturing processes an just-in-sequence delivery approaches that elevate the site’s production performance and responsiveness.

“Focused on robust network infrastructure and backup options, the solution provided by Camworth meets our critical need for data accuracy. This ensures our manufacturing team can produce the correct parts in sequence, preventing disruptions in our delivery to customers like Nissan,” explains James Sutton.

Commenting on how working with just one provider for its networking and structured cabling needs, James Sutton agrees there were several advantages to be gained. Least of which was having one point of contact for all major technology decisions.

“Being able to work with a single supplier with expertise in both areas significantly reduced our project management burden. Camworth’s commitment to delivering a full- package solution was instrumental for ensuring the seamless integration of our network infrastructure during a critical phase of our plant expansion,” he says.

Having completed the move to its new standalone site, Highly Marelli UK is now well positioned to pursue its plans for further market expansion with confidence.


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