The Flowrox President also discusses the skills gap and economic growth

Todd Loudin, president of North American operations and vice president of global snales, Flowrox comments on the annual State of the Industry for Pumps & Systems.

For extensive state of the industry coverage, click here.

With chemical processing as the industry that uses the most energy, what are professionals from designers to end users doing to control those costs?
Chemical industry professionals continue to place greater importance on energy consumption of equipment as a major component of their investment decisions.

What are the biggest roadblocks to IIoT adoption?
One concern is security. However, many IIoT solutions are simply monitoring processes or individual assets. Many IIoT solutions utilize TLS security which is the same encryption utilized by the internet banking industry. If their IIoT monitoring is only monitoring, even if someone were to gain access they could only see process results or equipment failures. They would not have access to change the process in any manner.

Also many customers are taking the wait and see approach. They are unsure which IIoT solution to deploy. However, many pumps and pump systems already have intelligent monitoring functions. It would be wise to invest in these new technologies to experience as many as possible. Then through use they begin to recognize the benefits of IIoT monitoring and also be better informed as to which platform they want to deploy more widespread.

What are they biggest benefits to organizations that are embracing IIoT technologies?
The biggest benefits are maintenance savings, increased process uptime and energy and/or fuel savings. By implementing IIoT monitoring the user can begin to collect data that predicts early wear and tear. The user can deploy maintenance teams to repair assets that are need of maintenance or repair before the asset failure becomes catastrophic and may cause significant cost and downtime. There is a real shift from reactive maintenance to proactive maintenance. Some users with heavily deployed IIoT solutions are claiming they may gain as much as one entire month of additional production per year.

If someone is new to IIoT, what are the first steps they can take to best use the technology?
Purchase any asset that is IIoT enabled and dive in. It is not scary or complicated. As well certain companies can capture data on assets that already have instrumentation and begin to perform predictive analytics. IioT monitoring and analytics can be added to virtually asset. Some areas that can be natural choices are safety, compliance, assets that are under constant repair, hard to reach area and the three Ds. Dangerous, Dark, Dull. Those areas where you don’t want or cannot have people in those areas are natural places to utilize IIoT monitoring.

Is your company affected by the skills gap? If so, what is the company doing to address it?
As a supplier of IIoT solutions our company does not have a skills gap. But customers that should be utilizing IIoT to improve process performance and reduce costs are reluctant. When these customers are visited the younger people Millennials and generation Z are ready to embrace IIoT. Many of the older generations are more reluctant. In industry today we are only scratching the surface of what could be impressive reduction of operating costs and improved productivity. More organizations need to jump in head first and embrace what IIoT can deliver.

What else do the end users who read Pumps & Systems need to know for 2019?
Economists predict the first half of 2019 will be much like 2018 growth in the U.S. However, the prediction is that the second half of 2019 will likely slow and GDP growth for the year will be in the 2.5% range. Also continued fed tightening may hamper GDP growth. Early 2019 may be an excellent time to deploy IIoT solutions to offset slowing economic growth.