The problem

Kingspan are global leaders in the design, development and delivery of products and solutions for advanced building envelopes. With operations across the UK and Ireland, Europe, North America and Australasia, Kingspan have become a dominant name in the insulation and access flooring systems market.

Kingspan’s Holywell site in North Wales, the largest panel factory in the world, was experiencing considerable downtime due to inefficiencies within their current network. The consequence of which, led to a loss of production to the value of £400,000 per day, and an estimated 4-month recovery period to realign lost production

The Solution

FourNet were asked to help Kingspan design a resilient fault tolerant network infrastructure. The project involved upgrading the network to Extreme Networks Switch Fabric, which would offer significant enhancements in terms of CPU performance and memory capacity, whilst providing 50% more energy efficiency.

The new solution allows software upgrades that feature Shortest Path Bridging (SPB) capability, which in turn provides for:- new services to be added 25 times faster than traditional spanning tree networks;

  • building the network core only once without redesign or reconfiguration;
  • deploying services wherever they are required without constraints on the physical topology;
  • the easy implementation of virtual machine migration, storage convergence and business continuity/disaster recovery plans.

FourNet has successfully delivered an expandable, easy-to-manage network core, which allows the Kingspan IT team to make changes at any time without it impacting service or it triggering network outages.

In addition, Kingspan wished to engage with FourNet to provide IT support. Kingspan selected a FourNet, C-Net Hardware Maintenance Agreement, with additional 24/7 support; NBD (next business day) hardware and engineers to site; and Extreme Network PASS support. Overall, this provided Kingspan access to FourNet’s comprehensive on-site inventory of spares, allowing immediate replacement in the event of a failure; as well as manufacturer maintenance and warranty management; unlimited calls to the technical helpdesk; a one hour response to calls logged; and a fix or replace guarantee on all supported hardware.

A demonstrable benefit of the support agreement was when a trainee forklift driver cut the power and fibre lines, subsequently reducing the data centre’s capability by 50%. Kingspan received a response within one hour; and a person on-site, once electrical engineers had restored power. Working in close liaison with Kingspan, FourNet engineers worked throughout the evening and following morning, diverting network traffic away from damaged fibres and onto backup routes in order to bring the network back into a resilient mode

Return on Investment

By utilising their support contract, Kingspan had access to 1-hour response times, next business day engineers on-site, and scheduled weekend repair work, ensuring the issue was fixed as quickly as possible restoring the network back into full resilient mode.