British Sugar engaged with Stoneseed’s Project Management services to support the development of a, first of its kind, private mobile network with Virgin Media O2 Business.
Stoneseed’s Chris Allen worked with the British Sugar team, project managing the onsite engineers and suppliers to ensure the successful rollout of the network.
The new private network will provide a secure 4G connectivity for all British Sugar’s manufacturing facilities, spanning multiple factory sites across a large geographical area.
This multi-million-pound investment, will create four ‘factory of the future’ sites, automating the manufacturing process for sugar and other co-products. Part of this automation will be relying on AI to monitor operations in real time and predict maintenance and potential downtime in advance. This reduces disruption, cuts down on wastage and can deliver cost and energy savings – helping avoid unnecessary emissions. Using a 4G private network also makes for increased security and control, and enables seamless, high-bandwidth connectivity in a complex factory setting where introducing WiFi is challenging (due to a highly metallic factory environment with a requirement for both indoor and outdoor coverage).
The custom-built, private, O2 4G network has been created to give British Sugar the reliable, speedy, and secure connectivity it needs to implement next-generation manufacturing techniques at all four of its sites, spanning three counties. Stoneseed provided project delivery capability through its Project Management as a Service model (PMaaS). Giving British Sugar access to project expertise and the ability to flex to meet the projects roll out demands.
The 4G private network is now operational at British Sugar’s Wissington site in Norfolk, and benefits are already being realised. Nick Smalley, Programme Manager at British Sugar commented: “During testing we were encouraged by the early results seen and as we have begun to roll out the targeted priority use cases to our users, they have been quick to feedback the time savings they have seen – with new plant commissioning, plant testing and day-to-day diagnostic processes being highlighted in particular.”
The project is ongoing and Stoneseed continues to support British Sugar’s project team, with the new, private network being rolled out to provide connectivity across British Sugar’s other factories: Cantley in Norfolk, Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk, and Newark in Nottinghamshire. It will cover a total area of 2.17km2.