NJCSI – A growing partner in a developing world

NJC - An ABB Authorized Value Provider

In 2016, ABB Control Technologies welcomed NJCSI (Pty) Ltd (“NJC”) on board as an Authorized Value Provider (AVP) in South Africa. NJC fulfilled all the requirements of the AVP program, and had completed the process of authorization and certification of its engineers as specified and required by the ABB Value Provider Program.

The relationship between ABB and NJC spans more than a decade, having started back in 2006 with a project at Revertex Chemicals. Since then, NJC has completed many projects with ABB systems across Southern Africa. NJC is skilled in ABB AbilityTM System 800xA, Freelance and Manufacturing Execution Systems and using these solutions, they have entered into a wide number of industry segments, such as food and beverage, pharmaceutical, pulp and paper as well as mining and metals.

By penetrating these markets with ABB solutions, NJC has proven to be a valuable channel partner for ABB. In turn, partnering with ABB - the world’s number one supplier of distributed control systems, NJC has been able to leverage a comprehensive and leading offering of world-class products, solutions, services and support.

The NJC "can do" attitude

NJC is a professional engineering service provider of process control, industrial automation and information systems. They focus on the design and integration of control systems and related management information systems to meet the customer’s specifications for performance and reliability. They aim to be the “provider of choice” through their reputation for delivering good quality and innovative solutions, translating into excellent value for their customers.

Their engineers are selected not only for their superior skills, but also because they share the NJC “can do” attitude with positive, friendly and efficient approaches to the challenges for which they develop solutions. They will continue to exceed the expectations of their customers, in their quest to be recognized as a leading provider of world class automation, control systems, industrial IT and manufacturing information systems to entities across diverse industries. While focus is on the design and installation of control and management systems to customers’ specification for performance and reliability, NJC also provides ancillary and related instrumentation and support services. Based on a solid engineering background and resource base of experienced professionals, NJC is able to provide comprehensive service to its industrial clients.

Founded 20 years ago by CEO Sarane Richard-Coombes, NJC has grown consistently and now has a staff of 32.

Sarane Richard-Coombes, chief executive, NJC
“Our partnership with ABB has enabled NJC to grow to the next level, opening doors that would otherwise have been unattainable.”

A partnership growing from strength to strength

The partnership between ABB and NJC is valuable to both partners, as ABB’s sales efforts are multiplied, and gives ABB more penetration into key industry segments. NJC’s in-depth domain expertise provides great value through customized solutions and excellent service delivery to our joint customers.

A year after joining ABB as a partner, NJC was the first system integrator in South Africa to achieve the “ABB Authorized Solution Provider” status, as part of an earlier version of our partner program, in 2007. In 2016, they were again authorized under the current partner program, the ABB Value Provider Program. Notably, in 2012 they were responsible for the first System 800xA installation in the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa.

John McIntosh, Local Business Unit Manager, ABB Control Technologies in South Africa
“Our partnership with NJCSI has significantly enhanced our market coverage with their presence in all industries and allowed us better penetration into key industries like pharmaceuticals. NJCSI’s focus on developing high level domain expertise is a clear and key competitive edge and opens up a range of attractive opportunities for them. From our perspective NJCSI is a great example of a high performing partner and we greatly appreciate the close and collaborative working relationship we enjoy with their entire team.”

NJC has retained Unilever as a customer since the establishment of the business, has enjoyed successes at Evonik, BCL and Northam, and are currently busy with projects at Mittal VDBP, Lignotech, Voermol, Karbochem and Synthomer.

Key projects in recent years in the pharmaceutical and metals industry have been for Adcock Ingram, Johnson & Johnson, Arcelor Mittal VDBP Works, and NJC has recently been busy in the pulp and paper industry with Sappi Ngodwana, MPact Felixton and Lignotech.

As a committed partner, NJC continually makes investments to enhance the customer experience. They have dedicated control desks with quad screens and virtual machines showcasing their capabilities in a dedicated demo room, plus demo boxes with controllers and I/Os. The ABB demonstrations include ABB AbilityTM System 800xA, Freelance, ABB AbilityTM Manufacturing Operations Management and Compact Product Suite. Prospective customers are given the chance to interact with the HMI and try out the programming tools, letting them experience products and solutions beyond the usual Powerpoint presentation.

Training is another area where NJC has made considerable investments. Ten of their current employees have been trained on ABB’s control systems, including ABB AbilityTM System 800xA with AC 800M, TÜV Safety Engineer and Freelance System Engineering. This ensures that their staff have all relevant expertise to correctly specify the customer’s solution and engineer it efficiently.

We highlight here some of NJC’s key projects using ABB control systems.

Kristian Olsson, Global Head of Partner and OEM Sales, ABB Control Technologies
“NJCSI is an incredibly valuable partner for us in the southern Africa region. They are a great example of a best-in-class system integrator who is well positioned in several key growth segments in Africa, in particular in the pharmaceutical and food and beverage industries. We look forward to continue to support the development and growth of NJC as part of our win-win approach to partnering.”

Project: Ferro-SA, South Africa

Ferro-SA, formerly Synthomer Chemicals, is located in Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa and produces chemicals such as paint bases, resins and waxes.

Back then, Ferro was about to remove the old Unix Advant system and replace it with RSBatch. NJC secured the deal by offering a good price on the pilot plant. They are now rolling out the Freelance and System 800xA Batch solution across the entire plant.

In 2006 NJCSI upgraded one reactor that was obsolete. NJCSI installed an S88 compliant System 800xA Batch on top of Freelance with two AC 800F controllers and three Freelance Operations operator stations. Subsequently, NJCSI upgraded two more reactors into the ABB DCS. They then upgraded the final reactor 7 onto the ABB DCS. In 2016 NJCSI upgraded the current IT infrastructure to a fully virtualized DCS environment.

“ABB DCS is quite a user-friendly system compared to other systems available in the market; the HMI graphics and trends configuration are easy to follow and easy to train for new operators. The operator work station receives data directly from the controller network; failure of one HMI does not affect the other HMIs. The reliability of the system is so high that we experienced no issues even after the recent upgrades.  

NJCSI offered us a good solution when we had to upgrade K7 from Adroit SCADA and Moeller PLC. They further upgraded our biggest reactors, putting the entire system into the virtual platform. We have a full SLA with NJCSI and their performance when it comes to plant support is exceptional. They have a good track record when it comes big and small projects, including improving performance and reliability of our plant. One of the small projects recently completed was optimizing the temperature control in our bigger reactors which reduced our gas consumption by 25%, saving us millions per year. “

-- Thomas Mabuza, Site Maintenance Engineer, Ferro-SA

Project: Voermol Feeds in Maidstone, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

Voermol Feeds in Maidstone, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa is a company of Tongaat Huletts, an agriculture and agri-processing business, focusing on the complementary feedstocks of sugarcane and maize. Voermol produces animal feeds.

Freelance and System 800xA Batch is used in the supplementary feeds plant as well as in batching, routing and offloading. They have since upgraded to SV5.1 and added the balanced feed mill and block plant to the virtualized system as well. 

In 2006 and 2007 NJCSI upgraded one part of the plant from an obsolete DOS based batching system. They installed an S88 compliant System 800xA Batch, two ABB AC 800F controllers and four Freelance Operations operator stations.

More recently in 2014 and 2015 Voermol Feeds decided to upgrade their other two plants at that site and NJC's ABB solution was chosen due to its solid performance in production and the reliability of its information management and reporting features.

NJCSI provided the latest technology with a fully virtualized ABB system. The system now boasts five redundant servers, four ABB AC 800F controllers and 8 operator stations running on thin clients. NJCSI are currently busy with the integration of System 800xA into SAP ERP.

“Previously having third party systems for batching was not reliable from a production and reporting point of view. One of our plants was already running ABB DCS and it provided reliability and proved to be a good batching solution. For this reason, we decided to upgrade our other two plants at this site to ABB as well.

NJCSI performed the IT virtalization upgrade as well as the ABB DCS 800xA Batch and ABB Freelance upgrade. This was commissioned successfully during the 2014/2015 shutdown. We are very happy with the solution provided by NJCSI from a system performance and production point of view. This ABB batching solution provided met all our expectations.”

-- Richard Wytrykowski, Site Instrumentation Engineer, Voermol Feeds

The food and beverage industry is generally hard to penetrate due to limited budgets. However, once the system is in expansion DCS projects are easier to justify. NJCSI’s SAP integration capabilities were key to clinching the deal.

Richard Wytrykowski, site instrumentation engineer, Voermol Feeds
“Previously having third party systems for batching was not reliable from a production and reporting point of view. One of our plants was running ABB DCS already and it provided reliability and proved to be a good batching solution. For this reason, we decided to upgrade our other two plants at this site to ABB as well."

Project: Adcock Ingram in Clayville, Gauteng, South Africa

Adcock Ingram in Clayville, Gauteng, South Africa is a pharmaceutical company producing high volume liquids like cough syrups and suspensions. They used ABB AbilityTM System 800xA with batch for five production suites as well as the bulk storage and finished goods storage facilities, for integration with the packaging machinery and for ECS integration with Oracle ERP.

The entire project took place from 2012 to 2016 for the upgrade to SV6. This is a flagship project for NJC. It was their first entry into the pharmaceutical industry in South Africa with a CFR21 compliant validated solution and ERP integration with Oracle ERP, which was a world first.

Some other notable projects with ABB control systems included:

  • System 800xA with batch – Johnson & Johnson (Pharmaceutical industry)
  • System 800xA upgraded from Harmony Infi90 – ArcelorMittal SA (Metals industry)
  • System 800xA upgrades – Lignotech and Sappi (Pulp and paper industry)

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