NEWS RELEASE January 2019
Value of Weir Pump and Valve Division and Colfax Howden Fan and Compressor Division positively impacted by Reservoir of Subject Matter Ultra Expertise
Weir has its pump and valve divisions up for sale while Colfax is offering to sell its Howden air and gas handling equipment division. Both of these companies have unique process expertise in difficult applications. The challenges in power, mining, steel, and other industries are abrasion, corrosion, and temperature excursions.
It can be argued that the value of this retained expertise has not been fully leveraged. However this will change in the new digital world. IIoT and Remote O&M will be empowered by the Industrial Internet of Wisdom (IIoW). This initiative will connect people, knowledge and things. Most importantly individuals such as specialists at pump, valve, and fan companies will utilize IIoW to create a new level of wisdom. They will become subject matter ultra-experts (SMUEs). This breed will not only advise on the initial purchase decision but throughout the life of the component.
The purchase decision is the most important in the life of the component. Many wastewater plants have purchased one large aeration blower to handle all conditions including wet weather. Since the normal needs are less than 50 percent of wet weather conditions, the blower operates inefficiently. The energy consumption of the large inefficient blower will substantially impact treatment costs. Initially two blowers should have been purchased with one running normally and two in wet weather.
Over the life of the plant repairs and replacement will cost much more than the new blower. Energy consumption during the life of the plant will be the biggest cost. In most countries the cost is 1.5 to 2 times that in the U.S. So minimizing energy consumption is critical. Operation of the blower in the optimum manner is the best way to reduce energy consumption. Systems which control the blower based on ozone levels in the wastewater optimize performance.
Designing pumps for FGD recycle slurry is difficult due to the very large size, abrasive conditions and corrosion potential. The FGD scrubber designs differ. One type requires twice the slurry but less pressure drop than the other. The spray tower flow is so large that only a few pump companies can supply the slurry pumps. The rod deck design can utilize less expensive pumps while only slightly impacting fan cost. So it is important to understand the capabilities of pump and fan suppliers. The successful system will be one with the collaboration of both the pump and fan SMUEs.
For equipment suppliers such as Weir and Colfax-Howden it will be difficult to leverage this subject matter ultra-expertise unilaterally. These companies can collaborate with suppliers who design, build and then virtually operate and maintain the systems. Alternatively they can acquire or be acquired by companies or investment groups who are offering the total systems solutions capability.
Historically the equipment providers have outperformed the system suppliers in terms of long term growth and profitability. However IIoT empowered by IIoW will change the dynamics. System suppliers in the past have made very high profits in the boom times and lost money during the slow downs. With total solutions the sales revenue will become consistent. More importantly subject matter ultra-expertise has a higher R.O.I. than any other product.
Therefore the opportunities to purchase the Weir and Colfax –Howden divisions should be considered in light of how the very valuable subject matter ultra-expertise will be leveraged.
Details of this analysis are found in N031 Industrial IOT and Remote O&M