Here’s an idea from Emerson’s Anand Iyer.
Back in 2008, working in maintenance group for a leading petrochemical giant in India, there was this discussion on how some measurements were needed for analyzing if there was a savings potential. The control system was old and cabling and other costs were daunting, as the results of such a measurement were unknown.
A wireless solution, adding a wireless gateway in the control room, a few wireless transmitters in the field were all that would be needed. The transmitters would have to report at near wired transmitter scan times for a couple of weeks, but the uncertainty of the viability of the solution later killed the thought.
And this weekend we were planning to rent a car and go out of town. And a thought struck… How about a control system rental? (My initial thought was that large organizations should have a wireless gateway mounted in a portable box, and a few transmitters that could be moved from plant to plant). Anyway, the rental solution may have fit the above scenario like a glove.
Could a provider provide a wireless system with a few transmitters on rent for a couple of months? What would be the challenges? Would such a solution be feasible to both the provider and the user?
The provider would have to account for the following costs:
- Investment in the wireless system and a few transmitters. Provider may have to start with standard wetted parts and diversify based on actual demand scenario.
- Installation costs. This would have to account for uncertainty of work permit availability. Also, some factors could turn out unfavorable like say, what if the plug is being loosened and it is observed that the isolation valves are passing?
- Administrative overheads.
- Removal costs.
In addition, there would have to be sufficient volume of demand to justify such a venture.
The user benefits by taking a trial at a fraction of the complete costs:
- If the solution works, the user can place the order and close the deal. At this point, the user may go in for a fieldbus / wired solution. Yet the experiment would have incurred a very low cost.
The contracts personnel would have to work out fine details like the associated risks: what if the transmitter would fail due to wrong selection of wetted parts or other process scenarios not envisaged by the user? What if the transmitter would fail due to no fault of the user or process?
Or, what if the experiment is a success and the user would like to retain the solution at the rental costs for some time till the CapEx is approved? And so on…
Are there sufficient borderline cases (or would such a proposal create interest to experiment) where users would like to experiment and see if a few measurements (and maybe a few controls ) can give them better profits, so as to justify the business solution to the provider?