SI In the Spotlight
Bytes Universal Systems (PMC)
Certified System Integrator Partner
About Bytes PMC
Formed in 1984, Bytes Universal Systems is a division of Altron TMT and one of the most experienced and trusted SIs in Southern Africa. The Process Management and Control (PMC) business unit has a string of successful implementations with leading South African companies operating across a wide range of industries including food and beverage, mining, metals and minerals, general manufacturing and utility industries.
Bytes PMC has eleven Wonderware-certified engineers well-versed in Wonderware’s System Platform / Application Server, InTouch for System Platform, InTouch, Historian, Information Server, Operations, MES Performance, Skelta BPM, eDNA Historian and Avantis PRiSM.
Bytes PMC is a company that focuses primarily on MES/MOM (Manufacturing Execution Systems/Manufacturing Operations Management systems) implementations. Very little of its revenue is generated by traditional, stand-alone process automation work (i.e. SCADA/HMI/PLC) as this normally forms part of larger MES/MOM projects.
Bytes PMC has a strong Operational Intelligence competence and is the only company in South Africa that has implemented a central enterprise historian based on the new Wonderware eDNA Historian technology providing the ability to acquire, store, report on and visualise over 10 million tags in one historian.
In addition, Bytes PMC is also the only South African system integrator who has implemented the Advanced Pattern Recognition software (PRiSM) from Schneider Avantis. The core capability of such software is predictive analytics and is specifically best applied in predictive (anomaly detection) condition monitoring.
The company has the ability to implement projects ranging from a few thousand Rands to mega-projects worth tens of millions.
A chat with Gerhard Greeff – Business Unit Lead:
Process Management and Control (PMC)
We asked Gerhard about Bytes PMC, their relationship with Wonderware and their customers as well as his views on the current state of the industries they address. This is what he had to say:
- How did you get started in the business of industrial process control and industrial IT?
After spending fifteen years working in manufacturing plants in various capacities, from supervisor to manager to consultant, I decided that Industrial IT will provide a good career path. I joined the Altron Group seventeen years ago as a consultant in the then Keops Isis division, which later became Bytes PMC within the Bytes Universal Systems division.
- What is the significance and importance of Wonderware certification to you?
Wonderware certification ensures that implementations using the relevant Wonderware product suites will perform optimally in terms of their respective functionality and capability by using best practice methodologies. Certification also means that we are qualified to implement solutions that comply with worldwide software industry standards.
- Why did you choose Wonderware as a solution supplier?
Wonderware has one of the biggest networks of channel partners, support offices and users in Southern Africa. This is important to us as skills in automation and industrial IT is scarce and a big network of competent people gives clients comfort that they can access alternative local integrators should the need arise.
- How will certification improve your business?
Certification gives customers the confidence that Bytes engineers are familiar with and competent in the use of Wonderware products they have either chosen or been recommended. Both existing and prospective customers want reassurance that their chosen SI is competent and qualified in delivering best-in-class Wonderware solutions.
- What trends and challenges are you seeing in your industry?
Money is always tight, but companies are becoming increasingly aware of the need to change in order to be competitive in the global market. Process digitisation enables them to be more competitive through the increased effectiveness and efficiency of their manufacturing facilities.In light of this a number of companies, who would traditionally never look at MES/MOM solutions, are investigating and actually implementing MOM solutions in their plants. The challenge is to understand the reason behind the customer’s requirements as well as the customer’s objectives. Then comes the task of clearly defining and documenting these needs and goals in a way that leaves no room for misinterpretation by the customer or the solution providers. This is very important as ill-defined requirements lead to over- or under-priced offers, sub-standard implementations and customer disillusionment. Once a customer has experienced a failed MES/MOM project, it is very hard for any solution provider to regain their confidence in any alternative MOM solution provider or technology.The Internet of Things and Big Data Analytics are other emerging trends and Bytes PMC is well versed and positioned to assist clients to explore and assess their impact and relevance with regards to manufacturing operations improvement.
- How has Bytes PMC grown and changed in the past year and where do you see yourself in the next year or two?
Bytes PMC has doubled its 2014 revenue and profit in 2015 and is set to double its revenue and profit again in 2016. Related to the revenue and profit growth, the Bytes PMC resource pool has doubled during this time. Our company has a strong pipeline and will continue to expand organically in the coming years in a sustainable and strategic manner.
- Gerhard, is there anything more you want to add?
Yes there is because I think I should mention that Bytes PMC is proud to be the only Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) Recognised Business in Africa and that all Bytes PMC resources carry MESA Certificates of Competency.We strongly support MESA as an organisation providing best practise, methodologies, artefacts and a peer-to-peer knowledge-sharing network bringing together educated customers, technology vendors and competent system integrators.As a predominantly MES/MOM solution provider, we believe that we have an obligation to be aligned with an international organisation such as MESA that focuses on MES/MOM. In addition, Bytes PMC has also registered with the Control System Integrators Association (CSIA).
In a nutshell
Bytes PMC offers the full software development life-cycle for MES/MOM projects, starting from:
- Strategic consulting and evaluation of business requirements with manufacturing executives,
- Developing user requirement specifications for operations,
- Developing functional design specifications,
- Developing detail designs,
- Implementing solutions on the shop-floor and
- Providing post-project SLA support.
Bytes PMC can and has started customer engagements at any of the above project phases.
The company offers turnkey projects, from instrumentation to boardroom through a well-connected network of industrial equipment and solution suppliers.
There are typically PLC, SCADA and communication network services required as part of an MES/MOM project and Bytes PMC has successfully delivered complex turnkey projects, combining equipment and solutions from over 15 different suppliers in one project.
Bytes PMC is the only Manufacturing Enterprise Solutions Association (MESA) Recognised Business in Africa. All Bytes PMC resources carry MESA Certificates of Competence.
Here’s a brief list of where Bytes PMC has implemented Wonderware solutions and enabled customer success:
- Eskom Generation – Plant Data System (PDS) – countrywide multi-plant data acquisition platform using Wonderware System Platform and plant Historians
- Eskom conforms to legal emission limits with help from Wonderware
- Eskom Enterprise Historian – Migration of the PDS system to the eDNA Enterprise Historian for Eskom Generation, Transmission and Distribution purposes (completed in 2016).
- Eskom Integrated Generation Control Centre (IGCC) –Real Time Operational Visualisation of generation business countrywide – Coal, Nuclear, Hydro, Wind & Solar Plants
- Koeberg uses Wonderware-based Remote Event Notification for proactive plant management
- National Nuclear Regulator – Plant Data replication system of NECSA and Koeberg Nuclear facilities
- Debswana Diamond – Ore Processing Multi Plant Information system using Wonderware System Platform for production monitoring purposes – Information is a mine’s best friend at Debswana