It was late on a dark and stormy night.  Actually, it was precisely at 2:11 AM on a Sunday when Superior Controls Engineer, Steve’s cell phone (not his real name as he’s too shy to accept fame) shook him awake.  He rolled over in bed and grunted “Hello!”  “The PCS SCADA is down and we can’t see what’s happening in the Bioreactor,” screamed Bill (not his real name either), the night time operator at the Biotech facility, in panicked desperation.

“OK, stay calm! Have you checked the communication cables?  Is anything loose?”  As Steve went through his list of technical questions he thought about the 10K liter reactor and the enormous value of the therapeutic protein for the treatment of cancer that was at risk.  After 15 minutes of questioning, Steve quickly got dressed and grabbed the keys to the car.  It rained for the entire one hour drive to the Biotech facility.

Bill was thrilled to see Steve when he entered the facility at 3:26 AM from the torrential rain.  Steve immediately observed the industrial SCADA PC constantly rebooting and quickly determined the cause to be a failed mother board.  To do a complete rebuild of the PC would have meant a long period of down time. Steve decided, as he later wrote into his call report,  that by moving the hard drive from the PC with the failed mother board to a new like for like PC he would save the customer from being down and having to scrap the product.  Within 40 minutes the SCADA was functioning and properly displaying and collecting data from the Bioreactor.

Bill was so relieved, he gave Steve a bear hug and thanked him profusely. Steve put this into his call report as well.

As Steve walked out of the facility at 4:45 AM he noticed the moisture in the air clearing and the warm sun beginning to rise.  A warm mixture of exhaustion and pride flowed through his body as he thought through the events of the night.  It was times like this that made him proud to be one of the 75 automation engineers at Superior Controls – and prouder still, to be a critical part of the Superior Controls 24/7 emergency support team.


Superior Controls has been providing 24/7 Emergency Automation support for New England based facilities for over 10 years.  Although the names have been changed, this is a true and typical success story and a tribute to the 75 Superior Controls Automation Engineers who periodically provide this critical after hour support.