Published on 28/11/2014 in Customer Stories
Tienen is home not only to sweetness at the sugar factory but also acidity at Citrique Belge. In fact, the two are closely linked. The company Citrique Belge was established in Tienen in 1929. This was a food business that used molasses as the raw material to produce citric acid. Molasses is a waste product of sugar production. Originally, the molasses used by Citrique Belge came exclusively from the Tienen sugar factory. Today, the company processes molasses from various sugar producers. Citrique Belge’s citric acid can be found in soft drinks, sweets, jam and medicines under the name E330. Shampoo and soap manufacturers also use citric acid. Citrique Belge is the second largest producer of citric acid in Europe.
Rapid, cloud-based solution
Up until 2010, Citrique Belge was owned by the Dutch chemical giant DSM. At this time the company used the group’s data infrastructure and ICT services. This changed when the German investment group Adcuram decided to take over Citrique Belge. The company had to look for a solution to its requirements in the area of ICT infrastructure and services. “The options were quite limited from the start,” says ICT Manager Michel Bangels. “There was no time to set up our own infrastructure. We only had two months for the whole carveout.” Citrique Belge therefore went in search of a cloud-based solution. In the analysis of four proposals, Proximus’ design was found to be the best. “The main advantage was the fact that our cloud partner would host the complete infrastructure,” says Bangels. “Both LAN and WAN but also servers, storage, back-up and the helpdesk.” Proximus committed to providing a total solution. “This commitment was very important. Everyone had to be fl exible, so that we could continue to be quick off the mark.”
This was a major challenge. Citrique Belge’s production is carried out day and night, 365 days a year. Of course the migration of the ICT environment had to take place with the absolute minimum downtime. So the preparation for the migration was crucial, including not only the planning of the technical migration but also the retraining for employees. Citrique Belge eventually chose a combined solution. All office applications, printing and fi le servers run in the cloud, spread across two Proximus datacenters. There are around 20 servers and about 8 TB of data altogether. Around 30 production servers run locally at Citrique Belge’s site. Proximus also manages the company network, except the network for controlling the machines on the production fl oor. Citrique Belge prefers to keep this separate from the offi ce network. “We chose a big bang approach,” recalls Bangels. “The entire migration was completed in one week. This was a very delicate task. As a company, you sometimes have to dare to take a big leap like this. Although we did have the advantage of being able to rely on 24/7 technical support from an experienced partner, of course.”
Citrique Belge is a food company. The company, based in Tienen, produces citric acid, a flavouring and preservative for the food and pharmaceutical industries. Citrique Belge produces 300 tonnes of citric acid per day and is the second largest producer of citric acid in Europe. The company has 300 employees.
Michel Bangels has been an ICT Manager at Citrique Belge since 2012. He previously worked for eight years at NetApp and was Systems Manager at lighting company Sylvania for 18 years.