Voith launches new VECO-Drive: Most Efficient Variable Speed Drive for Compressors and Pumps

Voith introduces the first member of a new product family in the field of speed control for compressors and pumps: the VECO-Drive. It is an electric superimposing gear and is inspired by the established principle of the Voith Vorecon with more than 600 installations. The VECO-Drive combines a mechanical planetary gear with frequency-controlled servo motors. The electrical superimposing gear is the most efficient way to make speed variable. Servo motors are used to drive a planetary gear. Since they only need a small part of rated power, an overall component efficiency of more than 97 percent is reached. This saves valuable energy and reduces operating expenditures every day.

2017 05 30 080147The new VECO-Drive is an innovative solution combining a mechanical planetary gear with frequency controlled servo motors.

The VECO-Drive is installed between a constant speed motor and a variable speed compressor or pump. With the new VECO-Drive, Voith combines the reliability of mechanical gears with the outstanding productivity of low voltage VFDs. Since additional power is supplied to the drive train, a smaller main motor can be used. This saves capital expenditures. Moreover, the servo motor can be used as a starter to protect the electric grid from high inrush currents.

For the functional demonstration of the VECO-Drive, a prototype system was built and tested in Crailsheim, Germany, in 2016. Voith engineers designed the system for compressor and pump applications with a maximum output speed of 15,000 rpm, maximum output power of 15 MW and a speed adjustment range from 50 to 100 percent. Compared to a typical full-scale medium voltage VFD train with a step-up gearbox, the measured system efficiency of a VECO-Drive is about two percent higher over the whole speed range. Thus, the VECO-Drive system reduces annual energy consumption by more than 2,000 MWh compared to a comparable VFD system. With a typical energy cost of 50 EUR/MWh, these energy savings result in cost reductions of more than EUR 100,000 per year.

2017 05 30 080316The VECO-Drive (middle) steps up input speed and generates a high output speed for compressors or pumps (left). Since additional power is supplied to the drive train, a smaller main motor (right) can be used.

As a matter of principle, the VECO-Drive is designed as a modular system and thus offers individual specifications for different application types, classes of explosion protection and speed levels. Advanced functions like the integrated PLC-based output controller, user interfaces, condition monitoring and simplified maintenance are part of the scope of supply, whereas remote access and remote diagnosis are available on demand.

Voith Turbo, a Group Division of Voith GmbH, is a specialist for intelligent drive solutions, systems and comprehensive services. Customers from highly diverse industries such as oil and gas, energy, rail and commercial vehicles, ship technology, mining and mechanical engineering rely on the advanced technologies and solutions-driven expertise of Voith Turbo.

For 150 years, Voith’s technologies have been inspiring customers, business partners and employees around the world. Founded in 1867, Voith today has around 19,000 employees, sales of €4.3 billion and locations in more than 60 countries worldwide and is thus one of the largest family-owned companies in Europe. Being a technology leader, Voith sets standards in the markets of energy, oil & gas, paper, raw materials and transport & automotive.


Improving reliability with outsourced maintenance strategy

Plant maintenance is a highly skilled operation that requires considerable resources for unexpected repairs and long term planning for preventative maintenance programs. Large scale equipment, such as gas turbines, generators, compressors and large pumps, require specialist knowledge and expertise to maintain optimum performance. Increasingly plant owners are looking to outsource the major elements of equipment maintenance in order to improve reliability and minimize downtime.

Time is money and plant owners the world over aim to maximize productivity and minimize costs; central to this objective is avoiding unexpected breakdowns which can incur huge costs in terms of lost production. Implementing a robust preventative maintenance program is the first of many actions that can be taken to reduce the incidence of failure.

Depending on the equipment, a number of techniques, such as vibration analysis, thermal imaging, flow measurement and power consumption, can be used to indicate the initial stages of a concern. Recording this data also builds up a useful asset history which can be used to predict failures and enable intervention that minimizes repair times.

2017 05 29 094349Overhaul projects require careful planning and execution

In many cases this low level monitoring will be carried out by the on-site engineers, while the data analysis may be conducted by an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or similar product specialist, such as Sulzer. Once there is an indication that a repair is required, or a piece of equipment is scheduled for a predetermined overhaul, the aim is to implement a strategy that will minimize disruption and return the plant to normal operation as soon as possible.

Optimizing this process requires considerable planning, both in terms of manpower and spare parts. Specialist maintenance contractors can provide expert advice and practical assistance in preparing for a major plant service. Experience in these projects is essential to ensure the overhaul runs smoothly and on-site management can also be supplied in addition to the technical support.

In some cases, such as large gas turbines, the OEM may initially have a fixed contract to deliver a long-term service agreement (LTSA), however once this has expired the plant owner is free to continue with a similar arrangement or to engage an independent provider. In many cases the independent option is more attractive, especially in terms of response time and parts repairs which can be critical in returning the asset back to normal operation.

With such high value assets, it is common for plant owners to maintain a stock of spare components, either on their own premises or stored and managed by the independent maintenance partner. For example, spare rotors for compressors are usually held so that when a planned maintenance shutdown is carried out, the service rotor can be swapped out for the spare, minimizing downtime for the plant.

2017 05 29 094416Replacement parts can be manufactured ahead of refurbishment projects

Once the compressor has been recommissioned, then the task of inspecting and repairing the rotor that was removed can be carried out. Again, the plant operator has a selection of providers to choose from and the scale of service will differ between them; some will provide a standard repair of damaged components, while others will offer the opportunity to improve performance and efficiency through improvements to the original design.

The level of technical expertise also influences the ability of a maintenance provider to support a client in the event of an unexpected failure or forced outage. These events are a worst case scenario for a plant manager and it is essential that repairs are completed as quickly as possible. In order to achieve this, maintenance providers need to be able to deliver manpower and facilities at short notice.

Long term maintenance contracts offer several advantages and can be tailored to suit each client. From basic planning and project management through parts supply and repair to complete technical support including asset improvement and life extension, the level of support can be adapted to each set of circumstances.

For those taking advantage of these contracts they can provide a fixed budget for many aspects of the maintenance contract and improve maintenance strategy. Furthermore, the level of engineering expertise and facilities will reduce maintenance periods and minimize time lost for repairs.

Asset management plays a crucial role in determining the reliability and performance of any industrial process. In many cases engaging an experienced and well-resourced maintenance partner, such as Sulzer, can improve project management, make repairs more cost effective and improve productivity while also providing a fixed cost basis that helps with budgeting.

About Sulzer:

Sulzer, headquartered in Winterthur, Switzerland, since 1834, is specialized in pumping solutions, rotating equipment maintenance and services as well as separation, reaction, and mixing technology. Sulzer provides cutting-edge maintenance and service solutions for rotating equipment dedicated to improving customers’ processes and business performance. When pumps, turbines, compressors, generators, and motors are essential to operations, Sulzer offers technically advanced and innovative solutions.

The company is a leading provider in its key markets: oil and gas, power, and water. Sulzer serves clients worldwide through a network of over 150 production and service sites and has a strong footprint in emerging markets. In 2013, the company achieved sales of over CHF 3.2 billion with around 15.000 employees.


Senseye celebrates recognition as global Predictive Maintenance leader

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Senseye, the Uptime as a Service company has just announced that it is celebrating its global recognition as a predictive maintenance leader with its automated condition monitoring and prognostics product by offering a limited discount to new customers in June. 

Recently announced as the NMI Emerging Technology Company of the Year, Senseye has been further recognised by GrowthEnabler as a Top 5 UK mid-size Internet of Things startup and by Disruptor Daily as one of the top 10 IoT companies in the global manufacturing industry.

Alexander Hill, Cofounder of Senseye remarks “The Senseye team has been working hard for over two years on automating the principles of condition monitoring and prognostics pioneered in the aerospace industry to make them accessible to wider industrial audience. We are thrilled to be recognised for our hard work”.

The company is offering new customers in June who quote this release a 10% discount on Proof of Concept projects of the disruptive predictive maintenance product. 

Trusted by a number of Fortune 100 companies, Senseye is the leading automated cloud-based condition monitoring and prognostics product. The award-winning solution is usable from day one and available as a simple subscription service, enabling customers to rapidly begin and expand their predictive maintenance programs.

To find out more about stopping downtime getting you down, book a demo at 

About Senseye Ltd. Leading Uptime-as-a-Service company Senseye develops cloud-based software that automates condition monitoring and prognostics, enabling subscribers to predict failures in machinery months in advance. Senseye harnesses data science, deep expertise in machine learning and real-world industry know-how to provide a robust and scalable approach to reducing downtime and operational costs.  


Are IT and OT the new super duo for plants?

Tom and Jerry, Batman and Robin, Mario and Luigi; some of the world’s favourite duos. Many people wouldn’t add information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) to their list of favourite duos, but the convergence of the two has revolutionised the modern factory. Here, Adrian Swindells, director of industrial computing specialist Distec, looks at how plant managers can implement IT and OT together, without any drawbacks.

Most people in industry have heard of the convergence of IT and OT. IT, which includes computers, storage and networking devices, is used to monitor electronic data. OT, which is traditionally used in industrial environments, covers industrial control systems such as supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems. Plant managers are increasingly blurring the line between the two technologies, with equipment traditionally found in offices being used to monitor data in factories.

This increased data allows both plant operatives and plant managers to more closely monitor production lines, both in terms of throughput and maintenance. For example, industrial PCs can be programmed to pop up a message if a piece of equipment, such as a pump, has been constantly running for a set period of time. This gives engineers chance to check the machine for signs of wear or imminent breakdown. This preventative maintenance approach is much more cost effective than reactive maintenance, when materials or labour may either not be available or may come at a premium.

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For plant managers, IT systems allow them to export factory data to their office and use it to make strategic decisions. For example, they can view data that allows them to predict if they are on track to meet production targets or to meet shipping deadlines for an order. If this is not the case, plant managers can then view more detailed data to determine why.

Despite all the advantages of the convergence of IT and OT, plant managers need to take into account that much of the equipment used in IT applications was not originally designed for use in the industrial environment.

PCs, for example, must be industrial grade to protect them against dirt, grease and washdown. This means that plant managers will need to specify a device with sufficient ingress protection, such as the IP65 rated Nexcom industrial PCs offered by Distec, to ensure reliable performance. The IP65 rating of these PCs means the front panel protects the PC against dust and low pressure water jets.

While enterprise PCs often use the latest operating systems, most industrial PCs are still using the Windows 7 operating system. To maintain regularity across a plant, companies need to work with Microsoft-partnered industrial PC suppliers who can continue to sell the legacy systems that may no longer be available on commercial PCs.

Personnel can also be an issue in the convergence of IT and OT. Often, IT buyers may not be sensitive to the requirements of plant operatives and may not consider the practicalities of use, but plant operatives may similarly fail to engage with new IT systems in plants. It is important to have a strong consultative process with both parties when bringing in new equipment. Companies should purchase from computing specialists with industrial experience, like Distec, who can help companies choose equipment that works for everyone.

While plant managers and operatives can reap the benefits of the convergence of IT and OT, they may not be aware of some issues that are presented by using systems in factories that were previously not intended for such use. By consulting with an industrial PC specialist, companies can make IT and OT their new favourite duo.

About Distec: Distec offers a range of specialist industrial, medical and digital signage products, as well as extensive technical support. The company offers demonstrations, evaluations and loans to ensure the customer chooses the right product for their application. Distec services many different markets, including industrial, POI, medical, retail, education, kiosk and commercial. The company’s products include touch screen monitors, operator interfaces, industrial PC's, SCADA software, medical computers, digital signage and mounting solutions.


Global Political and Economic Uncertainty Create a New Breed of Digital Innovators, Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey Finds

Despite two-thirds (64 percent) of organizations adapting their technology strategy because of unprecedented global political and economic uncertainty, 89 percent are maintaining or ramping up investment in innovation, including in digital labour.

More than half (52 percent) are investing in more nimble technology platforms to help their organization innovate and adapt.

2017 05 24 100746This is according to the 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey, the world's largest survey of IT leadership. While economic uncertainty is making business planning difficult for many organizations, it is clear digital strategies have infiltrated businesses across the globe at an entirely new level. The proportion of organizations surveyed that have enterprise-wide digital strategies increased 52 percent in just two years, and those organizations with a Chief Digital Officer have increased 39 percent over last year. To help deliver these complex digital strategies, organizations also report a huge demand for Enterprise Architects - the fastest growing technology skill this year, up 26 percent compared to 2016.

Cyber security vulnerability is at an all-time high, with a third of IT leaders (32 percent) reporting their organization had been subject to a major cyber-attack in the past 24 months - a 45 percent increase from 2013. Only one in five (21 percent) say they are "very well" prepared to respond to these attacks, down from 29 percent in 2014. Despite very visible headline-grabbing attacks such as the recent WannaCry ransomware attack, the biggest jump in threats comes from insider attacks, increasing from 40 percent to 47 percent over last year.

"Making a success of technology has always been challenging, and this year's Survey says that it has just got harder still," said Albert Ellis, CEO, Harvey Nash Group. "Layered on top of astonishing advances in technology is a political and economic landscape that is dynamic and changing fast, sometimes in surprising ways. However, what is very clear is that many technology executives are turning this uncertainty into opportunity, driving their organization to become more nimble and digital. CIOs are becoming increasingly influential as CEOs and boards turn to them for help in navigating through the complexity, and the threat and opportunity, which a digital world presents."

"Organizations have moved on from a world of strategizing and talking about digital, to one in which they are actually making it happen, and we are now seeing widespread and active implementation," said Lisa Heneghan, KPMG's Global Head of Technology, Management Consulting. "The businesses we see as Digital Leaders are taking a pragmatic approach, applying technology and automation across their business, including in back office functions, to create a platform for broader transformation".

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Now in its 19th year, the Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world. Additional findings from the survey include:

Digital leadership has changed
- Almost one in five CIOs (18 percent) report their organizations have 'very effective' digital strategies.
- CIOs at these digitally-enabled organizations are almost twice as likely to be leading innovation across the business (41 percent versus 23 percent), and are investing at four times the rate of non-leaders in cognitive automation (25 percent versus 7 percent).
- Overall, the survey found almost two-thirds (61 percent) of CIOs from larger organizations are already investing or planning to invest in digital labour.

CIOs love their jobs, and are more likely to be involved at the Board level
- CIOs who are "very fulfilled" in their role is at a three-year high - rising from 33 percent in 2015 to 39 percent this year.
- For the first time in a decade, more than seven in ten CIOs (71 percent) believe the CIO role is becoming more strategic.
- 92 percent of CIOs joined a Board meeting in the past 12 months.
- However, the CIO life span is just five years or less (59 percent), although many want to stay longer.

Female CIOs receive salary boost
- In a striking development, female CIOs are far more likely to have received a salary increase than male CIOs in the past year (42 percent and 32 percent, respectively), but still, the number of women in IT leadership remains extraordinarily low at 9 percent, the same as last year.

Big data/analytics remains the most in-demand skill
- While the fastest growing demand for a technology skill this year was enterprise architecture, big data/analytics remained the most in-demand skill at 42 percent, up 8 percent over last year.

Complex IT projects - increase risk of failure monumentally
- Two thirds (61 percent) of CIOs say IT projects are more complex than they were five years ago, and weak ownership (46 percent), an overly optimistic approach (40 percent), and unclear objectives (40 percent) are the main reasons IT projects fail.
- Over a quarter (27 percent) of CIOs say that a lack of project talent is the cause of project failure, but project management skills are absent from the CIOs top list of technology skills needed in 2017, dropping a staggering 19 percent in one year.

About the Survey
The 2017 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey is the largest IT leadership survey in the world in terms of number of respondents. The survey of 4,498 CIOs and technology leaders was conducted between December 19, 2016 and April 3, 2017, across 86 countries.

About Harvey Nash
Harvey Nash has helped over half the world's leading companies recruit, source and manage the highly skilled talent they need to succeed in an increasingly competitive, global and technology driven world. With over 8,000 experts in more than 40 offices across Europe, Asia and the USA, we have the reach and resources of a global organization, whilst fostering a culture of innovation and agility that empowers our people across the world to respond to constantly changing client needs. In the Nordics we work within private and public sectors to deliver a portfolio of services including; recruitment of management and specialists, interim, assessments och IT talent solutions through NashTech and their team in Vietnam. We have offices in Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. Together with our sister companies Alumni and Impact Executives we are the Nordic's leading provider of complementary recruitment and leadership services, helping organisations develop their leadership and talents.

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About KPMG International
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 152 countries and have 189,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

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For more information about the survey and to request a full copy of the results, please visit