Caterpillar Energy Solutions: Digitalising Power Plant Control Systems

Working with Zühlke, Caterpillar Energy Solutions has taken its first steps into the digital future by launching a highly integrated plant control system and by embedding agile methods within the company.

Customer benefits

  • Agile methods established as the basis for future development.
  • Greater efficiency, lower costs and improved customer retention.
  • Modernisation of the control system, including remote maintenance. 
  • A groundbreaking control system platform.
  • Greater supplier-independence.



Zühlke was the perfect partner to help us prepare the company for the digital future.

– Michael Trebbi, Project Management & Execution, Caterpillar Energy Solutions

Agile methods and an interdisciplinary team

Caterpillar Energy Solutions wanted to reduce its dependence on specific suppliers and optimise the process of gas engine commissioning by its in-house service team. The solution: comprehensive control software that configures and controls all plant components. Using an agile approach, Zühlke and Caterpillar Energy Solutions worked together in a number of joint teams. After a successful launch, Zühlke gradually handed over to Caterpillar Energy Solutions.

System development from scratch

At the start of the project, Caterpillar Energy Solutions’ gas engines were still controlled by closed-loop controllers. A new system therefore needed to be developed from scratch. On top of this, software development was still new territory for Caterpillar Energy Solutions, and the company was making very little use of agile methods. The rapid progress achieved helped to highlight the benefits of agile development.

Caterpillar Energy Solutions takes control

The end result was a highly integrated plant control system based on industrial touch screen panel PCs. Each system can now be individually configured for specific uses, and the wide range of configuration options makes it much easier for the service team to commission new engines. Having gradually put in place its own software development team – which has, of course, adopted an agile approach – after six years, Caterpillar Energy Solutions has now taken full control of the development process. 


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Photo: Mr Thorsten Knauf

Thorsten Knauf

Director Business Development

Photo: Mr Cord Seele

Cord Seele

Business Solution Manager
Industrial & Consumer Products