Interstates recently provided a full array of solutions to construct a greenfield meat processing plant for Riverbend Meats in Idaho Falls, ID. Working with general contractor Big-D Construction Corp., based in Salt Lake City, our initial contract was for construction only. As the project progressed, however, we solved scope gaps by pulling in additional Interstates disciplines such as operational technology (OT), control automation and design, instrumentation, control and electrical engineering, and arc flash studies.
Scope Changes Include More Automation
Frequent meetings with Riverbend Meats and their representatives allowed Interstates to offer help when needed. Dennon Windsor, Superintendent at Interstates, says, “We noticed gaps where our solutions could benefit this project. The owner was comfortable coming to us when they had questions or wanted things added, and they listened when we told them about our ideas.”
When Interstates took over the automation of the process equipment, our team worked closely with the equipment vendor to reverse engineer their typical control installation. Our usual method is to seek ways to fully automate a facility and streamline installation. However, for this project, it quickly became apparent that redundancy and hard-wiring would be the best approach. After a two-day meeting with the owner and controls representative, we developed a design that was 90% complete and a great start to the control narrative. “These meetings helped extract information about the functionality the client was seeking. Our engineer, Daniel Wunderink, did a fantastic job. He understood all the changes they were asking for and created new plans we could build from,” says Windsor.
Supply Chain Issues Require Prioritization
Supply chain delays are still impacting construction projects across the country, and this facility was no different. Delayed equipment included power panels, switchboards, generators, and MCCs. To stay on top of these issues, our supply chain team had weekly or bi-weekly meetings with our vendors and the client to better understand the risk.
Jose Figueroa, Project Manager at Interstates, says, “Having progress reports with the manufacturers and distributors was beneficial. We used the information to set certain priorities based on pieces of equipment that would be released before others. This helped us meet project milestones and allowed us to turn over portions of the project to keep moving forward.”
Windsor notes that being flexible and anticipating potential changes helped Interstates navigate overall schedule problems. “We tried to help the schedule by having as much conduit installed, and wire pulled at each stage as we were able, and we anticipated the client’s needs and left room for changes or additions. This probably saved the client money in the long run, and it was helpful for us when a change came through, and we could accommodate it easily,” he says.
The Interstates Full Solution Adds Value
Utilizing several Interstates disciplines benefited Riverbend Meats and helped the project run smoothly. Cary Bandstra, Lead Control Systems Analyst at Interstates, says, “We were able to provide them with the full solution as one Interstates team to run the equipment, power the equipment, and make everything flow seamlessly with just one point of contact.”
Figueroa notes the benefit of having experienced leaders like Windsor as part of this unified team. “It’s valuable to have someone with so much experience on site, who’s well-versed in any problem that arises and can come up with solutions the same day,” he says. Having a flexible and resourceful team allowed us to get the facility running in time to meet the client’s deadlines.
While the inevitable supply chain issues were challenging, the Interstates crew stepped up to ensure the client’s goals were met with a thorough, holistic plan. Bandstra says, “There’s always more than one way of doing things, but working closely with the client and really listening to what they needed helped us find the right solution for the client that ultimately gave them the functionality they wanted.”
This blog was originally published in the Current Connections Spring 2023 issue.