Zest Automation & PetroChina – Zhao Dong Platform Network Replacement


Zest Automation

Zest Automation consists of a dedicated team of engineers focussed on delivering quality instrumentation and control systems which enhance safety, production and operability of plants across various industries.

Their mission is to deliver best-in-class, industry-leading instrument and control systems, that are ultra-reliable, intuitive and truly suited to our customers needs.

Zest is managed by its co-founders, Blair De Morton and Brad Noble who bring a wealth of experience to the company. Brad spoke with us about his recent experiences with PlanNet32 Solutions.

“PetroChina, required a network hardware replacement on their Zhao Dong production platform in China. The existing configuration required a detailed analysis to determine if any recent technological advancements could provide any improvement to the overall system”

 “PlanNet32 were recommended to us by our industry contacts. We met and found they communicated in our language and clearly understood network technologies for production networks.”

PlanNet32 engaged with the team at Zest and the PetroChina IT team to understand the requirements and complexities of the proposed program of works. The existing network configurations were reviewed, a revised suite of documentation was provided, and a strategy was developed to replace the network without minimal impact to the team on board.

“Being pleased with the initial works, our client also requested we perform a security audit on their Citect HMI servers and workstations. PlanNet32 did a great job of adapting to our demands and delivered on all of our requirements.”

Over the next few months, PlanNet32 worked with Zest Automation to prepare for and plan the migration. The team flew out to Beijing and from there to Tianjin to ship out to the platform.

“PlanNet32 went to site with us and performed well during the tight shutdown schedule. They did what we asked and completed the full scope of work.

What impressed us was when we encountered an obscure issue with some of the network switches during the deployment that had the potential to delay the installation. PlanNet32 worked through the issue in a systematic way and found a problem with the firmware.”

During testing, PlanNet32 discovered that when certain ports on the switches were connected and the switch was rebooted, it would cause the switch to go into a cycle of rebooting. There was limited support from the hardware vendor who simply offered to replace the switches. Switches that wouldn’t have made it in time. This had the potential to cause a rollback of the entire hardware replacement. Through a process of isolation, PlanNet32 isolated the issue to a specific set of ports on the switch. A code upgrade did not resolve the issue but a code downgrade to a previous version finally resolved the problem.

Since completion of the network replacement project PlanNet32 have been working with Zest on a number of follow-up projects. These include the deployment of a patch management solution, anti-virus and a server backup and recovery solution.

“Clear communication makes PlanNet32 a valuable partner and is another reason why we continue using them. We know the PlanNet32 team can go to site or a rig and competently perform their duties.”

About PlanNet32 Solutions

We provide managed ICT solutions for industrial environments, small to medium enterprises and independent professionals.

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