Case study Energy

Controlled move for storage

Relocating Vopak's mission critical control room with minimum impact

Vopak needed to refresh their mission critical control room to improve its efficiency and operability. The control room is the nerve centre of their site and so any changes needed to be carefully project managed to ensure there was no impact to Vopak's business as usual activities.

To improve efficiency and operability by implementing new rationalised equipment, the control room needed to be restructured using a fresh design, including a new switch room equipped with air conditioning. All hardware needed to be moved along with associated cabling work.

Waterstons’ on site team and project manager worked with Vopak’s engineers to plan and manage the move, minimising disruption to what is a highly sensitive and critical area.


The Waterstons and Vopak team planned the project in detail, with a breakdown of all tasks, their dependencies, time scales and required resource levels (both personnel and technical):

  • The team conducted a simulated project walkthrough with key parties.
  • The project was split into manageable stages; each stage quality checked and signed off before progression to the next stage.
  • Downtime was scheduled at the most suitable time for the business and kept to a minimum to ensure the least amount of disruption.
  • The team defined the equipment in the original control panel that could be moved to the new panel and what could be migrated onto computer systems. Systems were then transferred across to the new panel and, where possible, physical alarms were migrated into computer representations reducing their footprint and allowing for additional logging and remote monitoring.


Waterstons successfully project managed the transition to a new control room - utilising strong planning, coordination and design skills – to time and budget. Scheduled impact to the following major systems was minimal:

  • FuelFacs (Automatic Truck Loading)
  • SCADA (Valve control)
  • MHT (Tank gauging)
  • CCTV (Monitoring System)

Hardware in the control room is secure and environmentally controlled.

An improved wind monitoring system allows more accurate and timely information which can be shared between Vopak sites. The redesigned alarm speaker system adds further resilience. There is now a dedicated switch room with a false floor which means that future work can be carried out with minimal disruption.There are fewer cables due to several systems being migrated from control panel to computer based systems (reduced complexity of relocation). The new layout is more user friendly and provides more information due to the number and size of new screens.

The main hardware appliances previously held within the control cabinet were migrated to the newly built switch room:

  • Existing PC base units were relocated into the switch room.
  • Fiber connections were put in place to connect the new switch room with the existing fiber backbone.
  • During certain key stages in the exercise (when the cabinet was moved) the fire system was taken off line and alternative manual procedures put in place, including having the Fire Brigade on standby.
A successful project minimised disruption to our operations which was largely due to Waterstons detailed project planning and tightly controlled migrations of a number of complicated systems. We now have protected control systems in a secure environment and an infrastructure we can build on. Our requirements were to relocate our control room hardware to a protected environment whilst keeping our automation and safety systems running. It was key that we incurred minimal downtime during the migration.
Peter Lloyd Engineering Manager

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