Dresser Masoneilan's valves look beyond the control point
Avon, MA—Like a wide-open process flow, information to improve business practices has be-come part of today's valve and actuator technology, explains J. Patrick Leask, valve products di-rector for Dresser Masoneilan.
Avon, MA— Like a wide-open process flow, information to improve business practices has be-come part of today's valve and actuator technology, explains J. Patrick Leask, valve products di-rector for Dresser Masoneilan .
Dresser Masoneilan, a global supplier of more than a dozen valve product lines, associated actua-tion and valve-mounted instrumentation, now looks beyond the point of control. Current thinking, Mr. Leask says, is to relate information about assets, in particular, flow-control devices, as part of today's state-of-the art process control system.
In a Jan. 30 visit with Control Engineering , here at one of three major manufacturing sites, Mr. Leask explained that about 70% of what Dresser Masoneilan makes is standard product, while roughly 30% is custom engineered to fit specific applications. Other major manufacturing sites are located in France and Japan.
As with many businesses presently, key challenges include competitive business environment and looking at new ways of doing business in a more cost-effective and customer-responsive manner. 'We're re-examining how we do things, because customers are relying on us and our distribution channel to provide a lot more valve and control expertise than in the past. Some end-user custom-ers don't see in-depth valve knowledge as core to running their businesses.'
Along those lines, Mr. Leask says the company is working on broadening its line of services and developing new tools, such as more sophisticated valve sizing and specification tools. An end-user, OEM, or system integrator can input data, such as service conditions, general parameters, and application information, then validate technical suitability of the control valve and generate a complete specification sheet. The Microsoft Windows-based software can export files, including a complete description of the valve construction. Watch for future releases, Mr. Leask says, which will incorporate more intelligence and logic to select valve solutions optimally configured to customer needs and preferences.
"Customers are relying more on us for direct technical involvement," Mr Leask says. "That re-quires comprehensive product and application training for the sales channel. Compared to 10-15 years ago, when sales representatives were more oriented to product solutions, there's a greater emphasis today on the total solution, ease of doing business, and providing value-added services after the product sale. Customers are supported throughout all phases of the product life cycle. Although Dresser Masoneilan is a fairly large company, we have to pick and choose where to fo-cus our efforts in terms of industries and applications."
Dresser Masoneilan's global reach includes participation in "every major geographic segment," according to Mr. Leask, with approximately three-quarters of the business conducted outside of the U.S. Third-party representatives are the primary channel of sale for Dresser Masoneilan in the U.S. and Canada. They provide front-line customer service and support, and coordination with manufacturing operations. Control and instrumentation is now more integral to the total picture, including networking technologies and smart instrumentation to distribute information within the process loop, the plant, and the entire business enterprise, he says. Depending on the market segment, there are varied degrees of appreciation for the more advanced technologies, for asset management and predictive and preventive maintenance.
Mr. Leask adds that, 'In the 1960s and 1970s, we were really a valve company, with focus on flow control. In the 1970s and 1980s, the view expanded to process control, then to managing the process in the 1990s. Now, it's more enterprise management and more complete process solutions. It's not just about offering a better mousetrap. Instead, the key is the application of technology to help people make more informed decisions, such as valve interpretive diagnostics, analogous to a doctor reading an x-ray," states Mr. Leask.
Control Engineering Daily News Desk
Mark T. Hoske, editior-in-chief