Process Manufacturing

Address strategic flow control concerns

Finding the skilled workers to fill those repatriated positions is a challenge for companies looking to support reshoring

By Kevin Parker March 7, 2021
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How will U.S. industry restructure to support the reshoring of productive capacity from overseas? One challenge will be finding the skilled workers to fill those repatriated positions.

While automation and the growing scope and scale of software applications may eliminate repetitive, unsafe or manual work, computerization itself calls for a skilled workforce. Moreover, when it comes to things like data science and analytics, manufacturing has to compete with the financial, medical and oil & gas industries for gifted personnel.

In the recently published 2020 Plant Engineering salary survey (Jan/Feb 2021), 43% of respondents said that lack of skilled staff was one reason why their facilities outsourced select functions to 3rd parties.

One way to make best use of scarce resources is to station them centrally while connecting them as managed service providers across a wide range of production resources.

Industrial fluid motion

To date, most managed services providers are purveyors of information technologies. It’s also proved effective for things like the compressors used in the upstream and midstream oil & gas industries.

Dallas-based Flowserve’s introduction of its RedRaven IoT services platform is a good example of the managed services concept extending into other areas, in this case flow control.

Flowserve’s IoT service suite helps production facilities monitor assets remotely, predict equipment failures before they happen and take preventive measures to avoid business disruptions.

The platform supports any flow control equipment regardless of manufacturer, opening the door for companies to realize IIoT and predictive analytics benefits without major infrastructure changes.

Use of predictive maintenance is growing, made possible by IIoT technology for sensing and connectivity, while analytics are applied to the gathered data.

“We’re betting big on IoT to help companies avoid costly downtime, which is not allowable in today’s world,” said Scott Rowe, Flowserve president and chief executive officer. “The COVID-19 pandemic illustrated the critical importance of digitalization in production facilities.”

RedRaven includes sensors for placement on industrial equipment and gateways to collect asset data that is securely transmitted to the cloud. Companies access critical equipment performance data via a portal dashboard.

The remote monitoring facility doesn’t just identify problems, it addresses issues. RedRaven is suited for the oil & gas, water, chemical, power, food & beverage and mining industries, among others. The name RedRaven comes from the bird known for its intelligence and insight.

Let’s talk it over

On March 9th, Flowserve will sponsor a CFE Media webcast on how IIoT and remote services enable major changes in industrial flow control.

Join us that day, as we discuss application of IIoT, analytics and managed engineering services to industrial fluid-motion processes with Flowserve’s Vice President of Global IoT, Aric Zurek.

Topics will include current challenges in industrial flow operations under COVID-19 business restrictions; how IIoT is being applied in industrial flow environments; why managed services use is growing; and the application of analytics in industrial environments. For more information, visit the Plant Engineering website under the “online training” tab.


Kevin Parker
Author Bio: Senior contributing editor, CFE Media