A Step Forward With i-Alert

ITT Blakers

3. Good Health and Well-Being 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

The i-ALERT2 smaller than a credit card, yet more powerful than even the heaviest pump. Using the latest Micro-Electromechanical Sensors (MEMS) and Bluetooth® wireless technologies, this tool continuously trends key machinery health parameters, mainly temperature and vibration. Leveraging this allows improved utility and reduced cost compared to a typical “walk-around” monthly vibration inspection program. This data can be synced with mobile devices through an app optimised for both IOS and Android allowing managers to identify problems in equipment before damage occurs.

Author

yash goyani

yash goyani

School

Monash University

Monash University

Professor

Gitanjali Bedi

Gitanjali Bedi

Innovation

Traditional condition monitoring practices and budget constraints force industry managers to prioritise which equipment require monitoring. As a result, many lesser critical assets suffer a suboptimal monthly maintenance regime. Consequently a “fix it when it breaks” mentality has developed in the industrial sector (ITT, 2018).

The solution continuously monitors the equipment. While data collection is considered ideal, empirically doing so was considered far too expensive to justify using on less critical pieces of equipment. “The maintenance cost is just too high” Ronak said. Hence the i-ALERT2 was developed, prior to this innovation’s creation Ronak stated that previously the company used i-ALERT “which required an engineer, technician and a person to physically always monitor on site”, as well as the need for specialised equipment to collect this data. “If a machine is deteriorating it would only be known after some damage has been done”. Ronak has also stated this doesn’t assist with “root-cause analysis”, why the machine had been deteriorating. Hence, i-ALERT2 was developed.


A Step Forward With i-Alert

Inspiration

Traditional condition monitoring practices and budget constraints force industry managers to prioritise which equipment require monitoring. As a result, many lesser critical assets suffer a suboptimal monthly maintenance regime. Consequently a “fix it when it breaks” mentality has developed in the industrial sector (ITT, 2018).

The solution continuously monitors the equipment. While data collection is considered ideal, empirically doing so was considered far too expensive to justify using on less critical pieces of equipment. “The maintenance cost is just too high” Ronak said. Hence the i-ALERT2 was developed, prior to this innovation’s creation Ronak stated that previously the company used i-ALERT “which required an engineer, technician and a person to physically always monitor on site”, as well as the need for specialised equipment to collect this data. “If a machine is deteriorating it would only be known after some damage has been done”. Ronak has also stated this doesn’t assist with “root-cause analysis”, why the machine had been deteriorating. Hence, i-ALERT2 was developed.


Overall impact

Business

Currently the overall impact for the business is quite small. Though this innovation was extremely well received, sales these units are only 5% of pump sales. This demonstrates that the industry is still slowly, but surely breaking out of this “fix it when it breaks” mentality. However, Ronak stated that the goal was not profit, but to “provide customers with an option that is safer and low-resources consumption”.

Society

The ‘Case Study: Bad Actor Process Pump’ outlines how a North America-based chemical company, within 187 hours of installing i-ALERT2 the root cause was tracked down and prevented a potential catastrophic failure (ITT, 2018). This demonstrates the potential to save lives from using i-ALERT2.


Business benefit

ITT was the first company to develop this kind of innovation which involves condition monitoring. Because ITT is the first regarding its competitors to tap into the growing market and global mega trend that is AI intelligence, ITT has gained strong foothold in this relatively new market with plans to improve i-ALERT2. In 2018 ITT released an i-ALERT platform (essentially a cloud-based platform) to further assist in monitoring devices, even from multiple sites.

Consequently, ITTs competitors have also developed similar devices for condition monitoring. By gaining a foothold now ITT has gained the advantage of entering what will probably be a crowded market in the future. Furthermore, being a relatively new market, ITT has leveraged the fact that now is the best time to attract new customers, to simultaneously grow and build strong brand recognition.


Social and environmental benefit

Society

the data from i-ALERT2 can be synced to what is essentially a common everyday device (IOS and android) and multiple devices may be monitored simultaneously, even across multiple industry sites with the i-Alert platform. Comparing this to traditional means (hiring a specialist authorised to use specialist equipment to check each device individually) there is significantly less cost and resource consumption (manpower, buying specialised devices).

The whole infrastructure is also far more efficient. For example, if one device breaks, other devices which are reliant upon the broken unit will also stop functioning. In the traditional method the reliant unit may get fixed instead of the actual broken device, not so with this innovation due to the simultaneous multiple monitoring. Consequently, this means that not only is the whole infrastructure more stable (SDG 9), but industry sites themselves are more sustainable due to the low resource consumption (SDG 11 and 12).

Furthermore, pre-emptive detection means there will be less chance of catastrophic failures (chemical spills, explosions etc) and because people don’t need to be on site to monitor, even if catastrophic failures happen lives will be safe (SDG 3).

Environment

Because of the aforementioned root-cause analysis and condition monitoring, the overall life cycle of pumps and industrial devices will be extended. Consequently, less industry devices will end up in landfills and customers scope 1 emissions will be lessened (SDG 13).


Interview

Ronak Patel, Manager

Photo of interviewee

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ITT Blakers

ITT Blakers

Gladstone, VIC, AU

Business Website: https://ittblakers.com

Year Founded: 1979

Number of Employees: 11 to 50

ITT Blakers is a provider of integrated pump services. The company packages, tests, commissions and services Goulds Pumps, centrifugal pumps, vane pumps, metering pumps and gear pumps, as well as supplementary control systems for these pumps.

Their clients are composed of the following industries;

oil and gas, mining, chemical, refining and water treatment industries.