Case Study

Case Study

Industrial Network Upgrade Lays IIoT Groundwork for Leading Minerals Producer

Background

A global minerals producer wanted to implement IIoT at one of their U.S. facilities, and knew they needed help as they were already encountering limitations within the existing networking infrastructure. These bandwidth and connectivity limitations led the producer to first seek help with remediating their existing network and then create a baseline architecture that would enable expansion of the facility’s use of operational monitoring and data mining from numerous key points along the manufacturing processes. This client engaged Malisko Engineering to handle the tasks.

Objectives

Improve the performance of the existing facility-wide industrial network and create a migration model to a network architecture accommodating future expansion with consideration for leveraging IIoT across the facility.

CHALLENGES

  • Educating IT on the design, purpose, advantages and positive results to emerge from the proposed Industrial Network architecture, then getting their support for the recommendations.
  • Operational Technology team tasked with implementing the plans for network remediation and the network expansion for IIoT while IT remained at “arm’s length” for support and execution.
  • Short downtime (8 hour window) to make any changes or additions to the existing network devices, cabling and configuration to improve communication performance.
  • Perform a non-invasive on-site network data gathering focusing on:
    • Identification of nodes, switches and routers
    • IP addresses
    • Connection architecture among the network devices
    • CIP traffic
    • Identify existing VLANs (if any)
    • Use of copper and fiber connections
    • Document the findings.
  • Created, designed, and planned the network remediation based on the findings in the network assessment
  • Created the roadmap to expansion based on an Industrial Demilitarized Zone (IDMZ) design basis to control network traffic
  • Implemented with next generation firewalls
  • Provided thorough documentation of:
    • network topology
    • connection points with IP addresses and profiles
    • configurations
    • physical locations of network devices
    • access control lists

RESULTS

  • Remediation on the network to eliminate current bandwidth and connectivity issues required only a 10 minute downtime window as a result of extensive pre-planning and testing
  • Enabled remote access while improving network security
  • Enabled future monitoring of network and IDMZ – for auditing purposes
  • Technical Education – Empowered the client with the knowledge of how to utilize their infrastructure rather than relying solely on an integrator
  • A very happy client with a viable plan for expanding the facility’s production-side network to leverage IIoT
LEARN MORE

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