The Pumps & Systems editorial staff spoke with several industry leaders from Eaton for the 2019 State of the Industry issue.

Eaton contributors:

  • Nicole George, product manager, pumping variable frequency drives, Eaton
  • Steve Zbytowski, senior product manager, motor protection and soft starters, Eaton
  • Jake Wysocki, product manager, software & IoT, industrial controls division, Eaton
  • Ceren Bacinoglu, product manager for Eaton’s pilot devices

Read more of our State of the Industry 2019 coverage here.

What is the next thing to watch for in motors & drives?
We see the next phase for motors and drives combining the technologies where the motor and drive will become one product. The intelligence of the drives will be combined with the intelligence of the motor or compliment each other. They will no longer be stand-alone components. We are starting to see this already with the motor management relays. Most of the industry players already have the intelligence built in, so they can monitor things like temperature, torque, etc. At Eaton, we are already introducing the logic into our PowerXpert C445 intelligent motor management relay. It provides the highest level of monitoring accuracy and protection for the entire power system-from the incoming power source feeding the motor all the way to the individual pump or load. C445 helps customers provide the highest level of motor protection for their motors while maximizing uptime.

As energy becomes more costly, the importance of effective power management becomes increasingly apparent. Eaton industry-leading technologies are helping end users manage electrical, hydraulic and mechanical power in a safe, reliable, and efficient manner. Continuing a 100-year heritage of innovation, Eaton pumping industry experts are providing accurate power control to reduce energy costs and extend system life, while advancing energy efficiency and sustainability.

What are you seeing in terms of motor “health”?
Communication on networks and collecting data are two of the big points. Pumping systems typically do not require a lot of attention, so detecting when a system is about to fail can be a challenge. The benefits allow users to pick or choose information that they need to understand how their systems are operating. The algorithms allow for better detection of potential maintenance items that cause motors to unexpectedly fail. The motor protection device is now smarter, faster and more user friendly. Having differing algorithms in the hardware that is measuring the health and wellness of a system will help save energy and make the system more efficient.

What are the biggest roadblocks to IIoT adoption?
Educating end users and different players throughout the value chain and how can they use it in their business models. Also, looking at the opportunities and asking questions such as - Do I retrofit today? What will I get out of it? And, what are the benefits of the new design? The installation base may or may not have the communication ability, which makes it more difficult. IIoT is intimidating for a lot of businesses due to the perceived complexity. It’s important to give the industry credit that pumping systems have been collecting, measuring and analyzing data for years now through SCADA systems and other local communication networks. Introducing IIoT simply modernizes the way we’ve been doing things and provides additional value and insight into the system.

What are the biggest benefits to organizations that are embracing IIoT technologies?
Definitely the analytics. Organizations basically have x-ray vision into their systems and they can make better decisions because they have the intelligence. They are armed much better with data and analytics. What we really need to embrace is how to analyze the data collection and use it. The organizations that have embraced this are leaps and bounds ahead of everyone else. It’s a well-known fact that predictive maintenance of existing equipment will most likely save costs and help ensure safety. These expanded capabilities will enhance maintenance and operating decisions while providing critical equipment information to process control and business systems allowing for more informed decisions related to budgets and long-term modernization plans.

Is your company (or the ones you serve) putting programs in place to attract young employees? To hold on to retirement-age employees?
Eaton's internship and co-op programs offer hands-on experience that includes networking and coaching as well as opportunities for entry-level positions and leadership development programs. We also offer continuing education and leadership development programs for employees to empower professional development.

When it comes to automation, how do you expect it to affect the process industries workforce in the next 5 years?
Automation is likely to increase in all industries, including process industries. Within the next 5 years, automation is likely to supplement humans rather than replace. For example, systems will increasingly be able to suggest how workers should prioritize time spent by pointing to areas in the system that are most likely to cause problems, like motors that are failing, or pipes that are leaking.