The Pumps & Systems staff spoke with, Axel Bokiba, vice president of product management and business line director at Pulsafeeder, for state of the industry questions entering 2019.
What are the biggest roadblocks to IIoT adoption?
The need for an “Outward-In” Perspective:
Some metering pump manufacturers that were early adopters of IIoT technologies offered proprietary designs (which effectively monitored the health of the pump), but also featured an “inward-out” perspective, forcing users to monitor a proprietary solution for a single type of pump.
Ironically, these early solutions actually added complexity for end users. Most (if not all) plants where metering pumps are deployed also have centrifugal transfer pumps, peristaltic pumps, and various compressors operating in the plants. Should plant staff be required to monitor individual dashboards for each equipment type – or is there a single Distributed Control System (DCS) that can integrate everything together for users and provide overall situational awareness?
Just as traditional businesses wrestled with “Systems Integration” issues for all forms of digital technology – process plants today (refineries, petro-chem, power plants & municipal water treatment plants) must ensure that new monitoring solutions integrate seamlessly with existing control systems – otherwise the additional complexity will be a barrier to entry.
Pump manufacturers that view IIoT monitoring solutions from an “outward-in” perspective seek to minimize complexity via seamless integration to existing control systems.
Do you expect the oil and gas market to continue to grow in 2019?
Numerous reports now rank the United States as the world’s top oil producer, eclipsing 11 million barrels per day, and some forecasts suggest that the United States will be producing more than 14 million barrels per day within 5 years.
The recent ADIPEC event in Abu Dhabi (November 2018) highlighted an astonishing number of projects being awarded. The costs (and average value) for some of these projects represent historic highs. Many of these projects were on hold during the downturn - but it appears as though things are moving ahead full-steam in parts of the Middle East, and in Asia Pacific, and some of these projects will have a global impact on the industry.
Equipment manufacturers might view these bullish forecasts as worrisome – given the direct correlation between over-production and lower prices. The market has shown continued improvement over the last two years, but many believe that now is not the time to be greedy - in terms of daily output, or in terms of geographical competition. While the industry may never-again see $100-plus prices per barrel, it is safe to say that we have a “good problem” on our hands, in terms of managing over-production, to ensure that it does not deteriorate market prices.