Cybertrol & Van Meter's Award-Winning Critical Infrastructure Project

Cybertrol & Van Meter's Award-Winning Critical Infrastructure Project

Cybertrol recently collaborated with a longstanding partner, Van Meter Inc. (VMI) to deliver an award-winning critical infrastructure upgrade to a boiler system at a Midwest university, highlighting the powerful impact that a well-oiled partnership can have on the outcome of a project.


The image above is for illustrative purposes only and may not accurately represent the appearance of the client's facility.

Our partnership with Van Meter Inc. (VMI), stemming from Rockwell Automation’s PartnerNetwork, has consistently served numerous common customers across Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. This collaboration between system integrator and distributor has enabled us to enhance a diverse range of industrial manufacturing processes and infrastructure systems, reflecting our commitment to regional development and technological advancement.

Our most recent collaboration with Van Meter focused on a firmware and software overhaul of the university’s boiler system. By combining our system integration expertise with Van Meter’s deep product knowledge and technical support, we delivered a strong solution for the client that neither Cybertrol nor VMI could have accomplished alone, also earning us the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork System Integrator and Distributor Innovation Awards, respectively.


Representatives from Cybertrol Engineering (System Integrator Innovation Award) and Van Meter Inc. (Distributor Innovation Award) accepting the awards at the 2024 PartnerNetwork Conference

Comprehensive System Modernization

The university’s IT team initially reached out to VMI when they discovered that the boiler system’s servers were running outdated operating systems. VMI reviewed the entire boiler system and determined that it needed a variety of upgrades to boost efficiency, enhance cybersecurity, and strengthen system resilience. The recommended upgrades included PLC firmware, HMI software, as well as server infrastructure. Recognizing the comprehensive nature of this proposal, Van Meter, with its robust product lineup, turned to Cybertrol Engineering to collaborate on the project. As trusted members of the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork, we were perfectly positioned to knit together the necessary upgrades across PLCs, HMIs, networks, and servers into one cohesive solution. This project utilized a Rockwell Automation PlantPAx Distributed Control System (DCS) to create a unified control environment, ensuring that all components worked together seamlessly: 

  • PLC Firmware Updates: To address obsolescence and ensure compatibility with new technologies, Cybertrol updated the firmware of all Rockwell Automation ControlLogix controllers. Consistent with industry-best practices, we upgraded the processors to the recommended most recent version. These upgrades improved the reliability and efficiency of plant operations, enabling the system to handle more complex automation tasks.

  • HMI Visualization Enhancements: Cybertrol performed upgrades to the latest software version of Rockwell Automation’s FactoryTalk View Site Edition (SE), enhancing the HMIs and providing operators with an interface that follows current ISA101 (International Society of Automation) standards. The new HMIs include standardized graphics, better data visualization, and user-friendly interfaces, facilitating faster and more accurate responses to system changes.

  • Server Reconfiguration: In response to the university’s need for enhanced performance and reliability, we reconfigured the server structure from one server to two standalone servers, splitting up the hosting responsibilities. This new configuration ensured that each server was dedicated to specific tasks, improving overall system resilience and performance. To ensure a seamless transition and minimize downtime, Cybertrol prepared the new servers ahead of time in-house. All necessary software and licenses were installed and tested before onsite deployment.

These integrated technology upgrades collectively addressed the immediate need for system improvements and laid the groundwork for ongoing advancements, ensuring the university's boiler system remains robust, secure, and efficient for years to come.

Though not the initial focus, the project also led to sustainability advancements. The upgrades to more efficient systems naturally lead to reduced energy consumption and operational costs, underscoring the environmental benefits of modernizing legacy infrastructure.

Synergy in Action: The Power of Partnership

This successful collaboration between Cybertrol and Van Meter, made possible by the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork, effectively addressed the complex automation challenges that the university brought to the table.

“Our partnerships, like these in the PartnerNetwork, only make us stronger. We have a lot of shared customers and our ecosystem of partnerships allows us to be more versatile,” says Josh Reitz, Smart Manufacturing Business Consultant at Van Meter.

This partnership, marked by open communication, mutual support, and a shared vision for innovation, played a crucial role in the modernization of the university's boiler system, enhancing both operational efficiency and reliability.

"This project was a testament to what strong partnerships can achieve. Working closely with Van Meter and leveraging the Rockwell Automation PartnerNetwork allowed us to tailor a high-impact solution that met all of the client’s needs," said Tim Barthel, Executive VP at Cybertrol Engineering.

Partner with Us

The success of this project reinforces Cybertrol's commitment to excellence through our strategic partnerships. Looking ahead, we are excited to continue tapping into the expertise of our partners to deliver innovative solutions to our clients to tackle complex challenges and exceed our clients' expectations.

Whether you’re facing automation challenges or looking to enhance your systems, Cybertrol Engineering is ready to bring both our own expertise and that of our network of partnerships to your project. Contact us today to discover how our collaborative approach leads to successful outcomes.