HomeConnectivityCisco helps AWNC to improve efficiency of manufacturing plant

Cisco helps AWNC to improve efficiency of manufacturing plant


AW North Carolina is using Cisco’s smart manufacturing solutions at its Durham factory


AW North Carolina, Inc. (AWNC), a manufacturer of automatic transmissions and transmission components, is using smart manufacturing technology from Cisco to improve the efficiency of its manufacturing plant.

With more than 2,000 employees, AWNC’s 1.3 million square-foot Durham factory supplies Toyota with more than 600,000 transmissions per year.

Over 3,000 transmissions come out of the firm’s factory per day, which leaves no room for down time. Each unit incorporates 700-800 highly specialized parts and each part has its own rigid standards, AWNC said.

“Over the past year, AWNC has made a huge technology leap. We got rid of our outdated communications and networking equipment and replaced everything with Cisco,” said John Peterson, general manager of information technology at AWNC. “It’s already paying off with faster speeds, lower power consumption and the ability to process data like never before. The best part is that with all of these improvements, we actually lowered our overall IT operating costs. We’ll save over $1 million in technology costs this year and we have a reliable, secure platform to build on.”

AWNC has deployed a 450-line Cisco Business Edition 6000 unified communications system in its offices. It has installed a Cisco network infrastructure with access points, switches and controllers for secure Wi-Fi coverage to more than a million square feet of factory floor. Additionally, a new FlexPod system provides integrated computing, networking, and storage, AWNC said. FlexPod solutions include Cisco Unified Computing System (Cisco UCS) servers, Cisco Nexus switches, and NetApp unified storage systems. The FlexPod architecture can be optimized for a variety of mixed workloads in both virtualized and non-virtualized environments.

The company highlighted that there has been zero network downtime since the implementation of Cisco’s new technology. The smart manufacturing platform gave AWNC the possibility to embrace cloud computing and implement new enterprise resource planning (ERP) and manufacturing execution systems (MES) to automate and analyze data and processes.

“This transformation has exceeded our expectations on every level,” said Ayako Wilson, senior general manager, AWNC. “In the year it’s been in place, the Cisco network has optimized factory productivity and improved the bottom line of the Durham plant so much that we’ve already recouped our initial financial investment.” With the baseline infrastructure in place, AWNC is planning to drive further system automation and efficiency by analyzing data acquired from the plant floor. Currently AWNC is building a remote disaster recovery site in order to generate automated backups offsite, run the Durham factory’s IT systems from the AWNC Creedmoor facility server room and restore the Creedmoor server room environment from Durham or vice versa. The next step will be to link the Asia, Europe and USA Cisco environments to achieve a global data exchange, AWNC said.

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