G&K O’Connor

Rendering Plant Upgrade


Farmed in Gippsland for three generations, G&K O'Connor produces some of Australia’s best grass-fed beef, grazed on South East Victoria’s premium pastures.

In 2023, G&K O’Connor engaged New Zealand-based company Rendertech, to upgrade the rendering plant. Rendertech partnered with Hennessy to upgrade the plant’s industrial control and SCADA system, and to commission the new machinery.

Switchboard wiring
Switchboard Bus Wiring


Delivering the upgrade without impacting production was the top priority. The upgrade was scheduled to take place over a two-week shutdown, with the Hennessy team delivering the automation and commissioning component over four days.

“Everything was planned to the finest detail, to ensure we could meet the tight timeframe,” Hennessy Automation Manager Paul Krielen explains.


“Hennessy partnered with Industrial Switchboards Limited (ISL) to design and deliver a new motor control centre (MCC) and I/O. ISL and Hennessy have a longstanding partnership delivering industrial switchgear and control systems for New Zealand plants and facilities,” says Paul.

The Hennessy team designed and delivered:

  • New control system, wiring, network architecture and interface with existing safety system
  • New SCADA system, hardware and templating to utilise Rockwell Automation’s FACTORYTalk OPTIX
  • Site-wide WIFI, working closely with the client’s IT team
  • Industrial tablet for monitoring and controlling the system

A new motor control centre (MCC), designed in partnership with ISL, and including I/O

  • VSDs and soft starters to control the new and upgraded machinery
Completed switchboad
Old SCADA versus new SCADA


“The new MCC was shipped and installed pre-shutdown. We performed a code conversion of the existing program and manually verified and corrected issues. Common device types such as I/O, motor and valve control were then converted into Hennessy’s standard function blocks for better control, diagnostics, and integration with the new SCADA system,” said Paul.

Paul said the client wanted to retain the look of the original 1999 SCADA system, to make the transition seamless for staff.

“The entire FACTORYTalk OPTIX SCADA was built to resemble the existing Citect SCADA but with a modern look and functionality,” said Paul.


Utilising Rockwell Automation software, this project was an opportunity for Hennessy to deliver a world-first in automation. Hennessy Automation Manager Paul Krielen explains, “We are one of the first companies in the world to implement FACTORYTalk OPTIX as a SCADA platform in Rockwell . . . Up until now it had only been used as a standalone HMI application,” said Paul.

Pioneering the implementation of FACTORYTalk OPTIX as a SCADA platform provided many opportunities for learning and innovation for the Hennessy team.

“We worked with the NHP engineering team to share what we learnt along the way, and to help shape and improve the product. As Ignition core certified integrators, we have the knowledge and expertise to understand the OPTIX environment and optimise the software for our client while adding value to future development,” added Paul.

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“The G&K O’Connor operators adjusted to the new SCADA very quickly, taking control of operations within minutes. This is a testament to Hennessy’s ability to develop bespoke solutions that meet client’s unique needs.”

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