ECN Automation, Hermosillo, Mexico

ECN Automation is the 2018 System Integrator of the Year for the Small System Integrator Technology. Director general Arturo Freydig shares some of the company's success stories and advice.
By CFE Media December 12, 2017

Jose Palazuelos (left), project manager, and Arturo Freydig, director general at ECN Automation. Courtesy: CFE MediaFinding success in both Mexico and the United States, ECN Automation has delivered solutions for its customers that help manufacturer improve processes. ECN Automation is the first system integrator from Mexico to be named System Integrator of the Year. Arturo Freydig, director general of ECN Automation, discusses how his company meets technological challenges in a time of aging equipment and an evolving workforce. Watch the roundtable discussion to learn more.

CFE Media: Congratulations on being named a 2018 System Integrator of the Year. Talk for a moment about this recognition, and what it means for your team.

Freydig: Being the system integrator of the year 2018 in our category is a great honor for me and the company. It is the source of a great deal of pride for the ECN Automation team for achieving an international recognition from CFE Media.

CFE Media: What are your customers telling you about their needs in manufacturing systems? How is your organization changing to meet these needs?

Freydig: Customers are talking about two technological challenges. One is the control system technologies from the last century are coming up on their final cycles. This is an issue of the lack of spare parts, limited capacities and the risk of shut down. The other challenge is how to leverage the new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and Industrie 4.0 technologies for improving efficiency. Customers need to adapt their process for the new industrial revolution if they want to remain competitiveness in the new era.

Seeking closer proximity with the operations of our customers, we have established an office network that provides integral attention to their needs in instrumentation, automation, and services.

Our goal is not only to deliver projects on time and within budget, but also to guarantee the best quality materials, functionality, and scope.

In addition, we seek to preserve the investment from our customers by providing the life cycle services necessary to maintain, repair, calibrate, upgrade, capacitate, and increase the use of control systems.

CFE Media: In regard to IIoT, where are we today in terms of industry adoption? How do we get to an inflection point where a greater number of small to mid-sized manufacturers will begin to adopt IIoT?

Freydig: We are in the early stages of IIoT. There have been many technological advances, but industry leaders are conservative. Control engineers are responsible to open doors for new technologies, but they are waiting for more clear references and testimonial of success cases. That will take time. When it does happen, it will be exponential growth. Manufacturers and system integrators must be ready for a greater demand for IIoT solutions from now on.

CFE Media: What makes a good customer for a system integrator? What should manufacturers do to prepare for an integration project in order for it to be more successful?

Freydig: Participating in a bid just with a list of material and engineering hours does not let the system integrator add value to the customer’s process. A good customer for a system integrator is one that allows the integrator to participate in the project specification. That will provide benefits for the customer by taking advantage of the integrator’s technical knowledge and experience in many different processes.

CFE Media: In return, what should customers expect from their integrator? What makes a good system integrator?

Freydig: A system integration company investing in personnel development, with technology certifications, good practices in project administration, and a structured company from a financial standpoint. You want a company with experience in the customer’s process, with success cases and recommendations. CSIA certification is a very good indication of a good system integration company.

To handle our projects in a more efficient way, the whole plant is divided into areas. For each area, the deliverable documents and files include at least engineering drawings, PLC programming, and HMI screens.

A "critical path" is defined to establish a higher priority to certain tasks required to complete the area engineering.

A weekly meeting with the client takes place to review project progress and verify the project schedule.

CFE Media: Finding qualified personnel remains one of manufacturing’s most difficult issues. How do you go about recruiting, training and retaining skilled engineers? How has that process changed in the last few years?

Freydig: What we do in ECN Automation is bringing students for their internship so we have the opportunity to identify talented engineers. We offer frequent training to our personnel. We empower people through team building, and let them be a part of our strategic development. This helps promote leadership.

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Learn more about the other System Integrator of the Year winners linked below.