Inetum-Realdolmen has implemented HPE Nimble Storage dHCI, a disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure, at BASF Antwerp. Thanks to the managed service contract, nothing further is required of the company. "Everything's taken care of," says Willem Van Lammeren, Team Lead MES at BASF. "That way, we can focus all our attention on further digitalization."
BASF Antwerp is ready for (even) more digitalization
BASF is the world's largest chemical company, with 115,000 employees. The group's second-largest site is located in this country, at the Port of Antwerp. "We employ around 3,500 people here," says Willem Van Lammeren. "To give you an indication of the size, the site is about one and a half times as large as Brussels' city center."
The Antwerp site features about fifty installations, with a total of 200,000 sensors. These capture a wide range of data. "To manage the data for the installations, we use a plant information management system (PIMS). This central data platform is where we store all the sensor data in real time: temperature measurements, pressure, flow, tank readings, you name it."
BASF's previous PIMS was in use for close to two decades. However, the call for something new was getting hard to ignore. "In the beginning, the PIMS was used mainly for basic information and data extraction, allowing our engineers to perform statistical analyses. Due to our increasing digitalization, we now use the PIMS much more intensively. We rely on real-time management to ensure our installations' efficient and optimal performance. Our existing PIMS had reached its limits. To be able to further expand our digitalization, we needed newer, more efficient software. In turn, that software required a more efficient infrastructure in support."
In its search for new infrastructure, BASF turned to Inetum-Realdolmen, with whom it had prior experience. Inetum-Realdolmen proposed HPE Nimble Storage dHCI, a disaggregated hyperconverged infrastructure solution. "This offered a good combination of scalability, performance and reliability," explains Willem Van Lammeren. "As a chemical company, safety is our primary concern. That applies to our IT solutions as well. We were looking for a partner who could develop a redundant solution in order to meet these needs." Inetum-Realdolmen's proposal was to have the infrastructure at BASF Antwerp run at two locations in parallel.
"Inetum-Realdomen's pragmatic approach instantly stood out. Whether technical or non-technical issues were involved, we were operating at the same level. Inetum-Realdolmen truly worked with us to brainstorm solutions. The company's flexibility also proved a major asset. In a large infrastructure project, things seldom go entirely according to plan. However, Inetum-Realdolmen helped us adapt and quickly find effective alternatives each time."
One party for everything
BASF Antwerp opted to rely on Inetum-Realdolmen for both the implementation and the associated managed service contract.
This assures us of a single point of contact throughout. Inetum-Realdolmen is the one responsible for keeping the environment up and running. This allows us to focus our attention on our core task: using new technologies to manage the site efficiently. To manage the IT infrastructure, we rely on Inetum-Realdolmen.”
The added value for BASF Antwerp’s production staff is clear. They enjoy the benefits of faster, more efficient data processing with modern tools. "To them, it feels perfectly normal to have instant access to all that data. That's actually great praise for the project." The roll-out of HPE Nimble Storage dHCI offers BASF Antwerp a solid foundation for further digitalization. "There's no need to worry about our infrastructure's ability to cope with new solutions," concludes Willem Van Lammeren. "The comparative speed also means our people are more willing to try something new, simply because less time is required to set things up. The project clearly promotes innovation within the team."
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