5 things to look for when appointing a Main Automation Contractor (MAC)

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Whether you want to increase production efficiency, improve quality, get real-time data, or modernise your equipment, automation can help you achieve your operational goals.

Given that most operations don’t always have in-house expertise, you may need to outsource to a Main Automation Contractor (MAC). Outsourcing this responsibility will allow you to tap into trusted experts who specialise in the field who can guide you through the whole process and offer ongoing support.

There are many factors to consider when selecting a MAC for your project, to ensure you select the right partner for your project, we’ve put together this list on what to look out for.

Make sure your Main Automation Contractor (MAC) has the right experience

A modern digital plant relies on seamless connectivity between all the automation layers. The MAC must not only understand the technology at each layer but also have in depth experience with implementation and interfacing for all the interconnected elements.

This technical experience should be supported with a rich knowledge and proven track record in your industry. Look for experience and capabilities in:

- full-scope automation and related information solutions,
- multi-disciplined FEED expertise,
- control systems with scalable, modular architecture built on common automation technology
- network design, cybersecurity and integration,
- electrical consulting including coorindation and integration of electrical equipment and systems, management of interfaces, design and procurement of electrical equipment, and performance of electrical studies on load flows, energy management, safety and more,
- knowledge of integrating skids from numerous manufacturers.

MAC - Main automation contracting

Look for independance

Consider a scenario where your digital plant integrates technologies from various vendors. A Main Automation Contract or MAC operating independently becomes crucial. Suppose the MAC collaborates with mechanical equipment vendors in the mining sector, selecting the most suitable automation solutions that align with both project requirements and vendor specifications. This vendor-neutral approach ensures your automation infrastructure is diverse and not confined to a single technology provider.

Innovation and flexibility is important

New technologies are continually emerging with vendors releasing new products and upgrades on tight release cycles. Developing a cohesive automation structure requires a mix of industry knowledge, ingenuity, and flexibility to adapt to these changes when required. Standards developed at the beginning of the project can be unworkable in places due to cost or interfacing issues that emerge so being able to pivot in these situations and maintain the automation system integrity is critical.

Plan for the future

Let's say you're planning a long-term strategy for a power generation facility. Choose a MAC that not only addresses current needs but anticipates future advancements. A forward-thinking MAC in the power sector would integrate solutions that align with the industry's evolving landscape, ensuring your operation stays ahead of technological shifts and regulatory changes.

Look for a long term partner

Ultimately you are not simply looking just for a supplier, but also a trusted partner that can help you operate at optimal performance. The right partner will have the willingness to be there for the long term. Self-dependence is the aim for client’s site team but having access to ongoing support when required provides the necessary safety net. And importantly, they should have the same values and culture that your operation does.

MAC - Control room with the Main Automation Contracting team

Along with these five factors, here are some other factors you should consider when setting up a Main Automation Contract:

 

Proven Project Management Capabilities:

Effective project management is key to the success of any automation project. Look for a MAC with a proven track record in project execution, including meeting deadlines, staying within budget constraints, and handling unforeseen challenges. Examples of successful project management in your industry, such as completing projects within mining sites on time and within safety regulations, demonstrate the MAC’s ability to navigate complex environments.

 

Global Integration Experience:

In an interconnected world, your MAC should have experience working on a global scale. Whether your operations span multiple regions or you collaborate with international partners, a MAC with global integration experience ensures they understand diverse regulatory environments, cultural nuances, and technology standards. This is particularly crucial if your projects extend beyond the borders of your home country or if you collaborate with international vendors and stakeholders.

 

Emphasis on Training and Knowledge Transfer:

Automation technologies evolve, and your team needs to stay updated. A forward-thinking MAC should prioritise training programs and knowledge transfer initiatives. Seek a partner who implements automation solutions and empowers your in-house teams with the skills to maintain and optimise these systems. Practical examples could include previous instances where the MAC conducted comprehensive training programs for client teams, resulting in increased in-house capabilities.

 

Environmental and Sustainability Considerations:

As industries increasingly focus on sustainability, your MAC should be attuned to environmental considerations. Look for a MAC with a track record of implementing automation solutions that enhance energy efficiency, reduce waste, and align with green practices. Practical examples might include projects where the MAC integrated automation systems to optimise energy consumption or minimise the environmental impact of operations, showcasing a commitment to sustainability.

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Choose Mipac for your Main Automation Contract

With Mipac’s depth and breadth of engineering experience, you can be sure any automation project is within our capability – making us the perfect partner in achieving your business objectives.

Our engineering team have the expertise to really listen to your needs, which enables us to deliver the appropriate technical solutions that will help drive success.

From initial design through all layers of implementation up until commissioning, we can design and engineer solutions for single units or entire systems, as well as provide unbiased advice from knowledge of multiple solutions on the market.

By serving as your Main Automation Contractor (MAC), we make sure all components of your digital operation are integrated, tested and monitored until completion – experiencing success. Recently we were awarded the MAC for BHP’s West Musgrave project based on our depth of automation experience

If you want to learn more about how Mipac has delivered these results as the MAC for other customers, Get in touch today for further information!

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