SIGIT Automation

Automation, instrumentation, controls and electrical services in Canada and the U.S.
Written by: 
Jeanee Dudley
Produced by: 
Victor Martins

SIGIT Automation has been in business since 2004, when John O’Rourke established the firm with the goal of providing integrated automation solutions to clients in the petroleum and energy industry. The turnkey specialty electrical company provides engineering, manufacturing, data hosting and varied field services in order to provide high quality automated systems to customers throughout North America.

“Electrical controls and automation is our specialty,” says O’Rourke, CEO of SIGIT. After more than a decade in business, O’Rourke and his team have fine-tuned the process, drawing on a set of trusted strategic partners to provide diverse expertise to clients.

Utilizing a high-tech operating structure, SIGIT is able to closely monitor and manage projects, building a sense of trust and reliability with customers in both the public and private sectors.

The firm operates around eight core values, all of which are integral to delivering high quality solutions and building lasting partnerships with clients:

  • Employees come first, as O’Rourke acknowledges the high value of human resources.
  • Integrity follows, setting a standard of expectations for clients that every project is treated like a priority and dealt with honestly.
  • Safety is next on the list, both to protect the company’s personnel and the clients and communities involved in its projects.
  • Helping customers is next, making service a priority in order to assist clients in achieving their operational goals.
  • The team’s treasured entrepreneurial spirit engages innovative growth and supports the professional development of team members.
  • New technology is a major focus, allowing SIGIT to build efficiencies and maintain best practices while maximizing value for clients.
  • -Efficiency and effectiveness are at the heart of every evolution at SIGIT, providing cost- and time-conscious solutions to customers.
  • Change, a given, allows the business to press forward while remaining open to new challenges and opportunities.

Leading experience

O’Rourke first became involved in the oil and gas industry in the late ‘80s while on hiatus from his studies at university. While working with his father’s firm, O’Rourke Engineering, he decided to learn a trade. He worked as an electrician for several years before returning to school and graduating in 1993. His varied experiences over the years have allowed him to take an informed and unique approach to the complex challenges SIGIT faces as a business.

In 2009, he brought in partners and began expansion into the United States. O’Rourke now has full time staff both at the company’s headquarters in Calgary, Alberta and at the U.S. operational office in Houston, Texas.

Including the leadership team, SIGIT employs 25 full-time people as well as around 25 contractors who round out the operation. With these vital partners, the company provides engineering, manufacturing and data hosting. As a vendor-neutral company, none of these services rely on a limited supply chain, freeing the company to provide systems that more precisely meet the needs of project owners.

Specialized divisions

The company’s engineering division leverages innovation with efficiency-conscious systems to build safe, effective designs that exceed the expectations of clients. This integrated approach seeks to build proverbial roadmaps for clients from concept to completion. In-house capabilities include estimation, drawings, scheduling, cost and quality-sensitive purchasing, testing, commissioning, training and ongoing support for the lifetime of a system.

SIGIT Automation

On the manufacturing end of the business, SIGIT provides custom fabrication and assembly service for a range of control panels, enclosures and skids for a variety of applications. From the very simple to the very complex, SIGIT works to pull an efficient, durable system together than will properly serve the needs of end users. Integrated capabilities and extreme attention to detail guarantee customer satisfaction with turnkey, functional end products for heavy industrial customers.

Included in these processes are instrumentation and programming for projects. While many manufacturers can deliver a complete control interface, few can compete with the skill level at SIGIT that allows the business to deliver completely turnkey projects. When the crew leaves, a project is already operational, with less customer time wasted through troubleshooting a new system.

No industrial operation can run efficiently without proper monitoring and management. The company’s integrated, scalable data collection and supervisory program allows end users to manage operations and identify problems quickly. With better system supervision, companies can see significant savings through prevention; that means recognizing and issue sooner and calling in the backup in time to reduce capital losses incurred by downtime and operational damage.

SIGIT uses eSCADA, a unified HMI, Web-enabled supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) and MES software solution that allows end users to view real-time and historic data. In turn, the system allows operators to make effective, real time decisions, even remotely from anywhere a user has access to the Internet. Many clients have the program enabled on laptops, tablets and smartphones.

Putting expertise to work

O’Rourke says on of the most memorable projects has been work on XTO Energy Inc.’s 15-07 Kaybob Gas Plant. “The company just came into Canada and we did their Fox Creek, Alberta, expansion,” says O’Rourke. “This is a large 150 million cubic feet/day sour gas plant. Celtic Exploration contracted our team to design and implement the electrical, instrumentation and controls for the plant. This was a 29-month project, completed with a six-person team.”

According to a case study on the project, the control system implemented consisted of high-availability-redundant ControlLogix PLC system with remote IO racks. Facility SCADA was accomplished with Wonderware Archestra System Platform. A ring topology fiber network was implemented as the main data acquisition network with branches to Ethernet and Serial networks.

For PennWest Energy Trust, SIGIT upgraded the client’s Mitsue plant. “We changed out an aging system and completes an Allan Bradley upgrade. The company was able to keep up production numbers throughout the project, even while competing with fires in the region.”

In northwest British Columbia, SIGIT completed automation, controls and electrical systems for Crew Energy Inc. in 2009 at the company’s Septimus gas plant. The facility included compression, refrigeration, water and condensate storage. Power generation, process heat medium, emergency and maintenance flaring, fuel gas, and instrument air systems was installed. A de-butanizer package was installed to stabilize condensate and provide an on-spec LPG product for sale, with condensate stored in atmospheric tanks and LPG stored in pressurized vessels.

In the U.S., SIGIT also recently worked for Devon Energy Corporation at the client’s Oklahoma City CANA Plant expansion. With a crew of 12, SIGIT provided coordination between contract engineering, automation suppliers and personnel, and provided commissioning configuration for on-time completion. Also, in the United States, the team worked for the Department of Defense on a critical data and control project along the northern border.

Looking ahead, O’Rourke says his team has more than $7 million in backlog lined up for the coming years. To continue to build business in both Canada and the United States, SIGIT is focusing on educating its target market about the broad possibilities of a properly integrated controls and automation system.

Meanwhile, the business will continue to embrace technology and innovation while still delivering high-quality, turnkey projects throughout North America. While oil prices have gone down, O’Rourke explains that markets on both sides of the border are strong.

O’Rourke looks forward to new challenges and opportunities as SIGIT Automation continues to grow in Canada and the United States.

Strategic Partnership(s): 
Kepware Technologies
MNP (Meyers Norris Penny) Calgary