A production environment of this kind creates a myriad of hurdles for any wireless network.
Huge blast kilns and heavy milling machines together with high energy power transformers and cabling create challenging conditions for radio signals to propagate creating an unreliable and patchy network.
For Morgan Advanced Ceramics this created real problems across the factory floor. The existing wireless coverage (used for monitoring machines) was all but unusable due to its poor reliability, forcing managers to rely on paper based systems to keep track.
Employees across multiple sites were also having issues gaining access to the network.
Since the WiFi system has been deployed we’ve been able to have a staged roll out across our sites and actually rely on the solution for 24/7 usage. It’s been refreshing to have a system where we can look for additional uses for it rather than ways to avoid it!"
The Ruckus ZoneFlex Access Points, with their patented Beamflex, Smart antenna array technology maximised the range of coverage and using adaptive signal steering provided reliable wireless despite the complex environment onsite.
Due to the mission critical nature of the system, a redundant ZoneDirector controller was deployed in a geographically separate location to ensure instant failover in the event of hardware failure. This gave Morgan the confidence to increase the quantity of WiFi controlled production machinery, decreasing cabling and maintenance costs for equipment.
An MPLS network was deployed across the UK based sites, this allowed for Access Points to be deployed remotely but managed centrally, providing a time saving for the IT team, as well as making it easier for staff to get a consistent experience as they moved around the various locations. Coupled with this the centrally managed solution improved the security of the IT infrastructure as a whole through standardising secure authentication across all sites.