Steam Trap Monitoring 2.0: An Introduction to Everactive + Armstrong
This video introduces Everactive’s partnership with Armstrong International. Together, we’re working to bring the next generation of sensor and computing technology to steam trap monitors. With our combined expertise in industrial IoT, customers will see a significant reduction in energy waste, environmental emissions, and overall costs.
Hey everyone. I’m going to take a moment to let people get joined. We’re recording this session, so we’ll make that available after the presentation’s done. Phil – I’ve promoted you to be a panelist as well. If you’d like to speak, you can unmute yourself. Always good to see your smiling face.
Alright, so people are starting to filter in here. There is a Q&A box in the bottom right of your screen. We’ll take some time at the end to sort through those. Okay I think we’re starting to line up with the number of attendees we had on our RSVP. Give it another moment and then we’ll get started.
Thanks everyone for joining this session. This is kind of an introduction to Everactive focused on our batteryless and wireless steam trap monitoring solution that we’re partnering with Armstrong on. Super excited to have you here today to discuss this.
So our agenda for this is that we’re going to go through some quick introductions to our company and myself. And then we’ll talk through our partnership together. I’ll give you an overview of the product, both the hardware and the software. We’ll talk a little bit about why our customers love Everactive. And then next steps for bringing this technology into your environments and to your customers, too.
First, for starters, just wanted to say thanks for joining us in this webinar format. This is not how we typically would want to connect with you. In fact, we’ve already started some visits to go out and be on site at these channel partners. So if you keep an eye on the schedule, I think you’ll see folks from Everactive visiting your facility soon, where you can get your hands on this in person. We’ve also got that TVS 6000 double block and bleed steam trap station that we’re showing alongside the sensors. So a cool combo of the latest and greatest Armstrong technology alongside our technology, too.
At any rate, if you hadn’t been thinking about digital transformation before the last 15 months, you’re certainly thinking about it now. We had customers who felt like: well if I want to check on a steam trap, I can just go over and open a valve. Those days are changed. Now people are really excited about having a digitized access to their steam trap systems, and that’s something we’re providing. We’ll talk through that today.
Transcript continues at 9:27
Partnership with Armstrong
You may be asking you know how we got here or why we’re here? Armstrong has taken an interest in Everactive. You know we do something very, very different in how we manufacture our sensors, which allows you to get more data from more places than anyone else. Armstrong has already built the most comprehensive trap management program with that digital piece SAGE that customers love. So when you bring those two things together you get up-to-the-minute data about your traps in the world-class management program. From a software standpoint, we think it’s going to make your customers more trap-active, more ready to respond to notifications, and conserve a lot of energy. So that’s kind of where the customer journey begins.
We’ve all walked into a facility where a maintenance manager said, “Hey, my plant manager was coming in from the parking lot. He saw 70-pound steam blowing off the roof. He said go find it. And we don’t have an annual inspection coming up for six more months. And I don’t know what the cause is. It’s on me now to go figure it out.”
In fact, the Department of Energy tells us about 20% of steam traps fail at a manual clip. Most of our customers are actually in the teens. I think that number might be a little bit high. We’ve seen a few customers that are in the 20s. We’ve seen customers that are in the single digits, in terms of their steam trap failures per year. So the discussion point we start with is 20, but oftentimes you can think about it as being in the teens.
Now regardless of how many steam traps fail in your facility every year, when they fail most of the time they’re failing open and there’s wasted energy associated with that. We can quantify that in dollars, like wasted steam and what you pay to make that steam. But there’s also the very real problem of overproduction at the boiler, and the wasted greenhouse gases that go into that. So if we have customers who are looking to either save money or reduce their carbon footprint, those are good reasons to stay on top of your steam traps. And we can help quantify that with the software piece of this solution.
The other thing that attracts people to continuous monitoring are these black swan events around reliability. A time where there is a problem with traps that led to them to stop making or have to shut down an area, some kind of emergency maintenance, because a problem was caused around steam reliability. Here’s an example of a trap outdoors in Ohio in one of our customer environments, and actually what we’re looking at here mostly is the strainer. The trap plugged condensate backed up in these lines. This was outside in Ohio in the winter. So when that condensate froze, it busted through the softest metal in the chain, which was this Y-strainer and they were purging steam out to the atmosphere. This is a pretty low impact, low cost example but it makes for a good picture.
I have a higher end example. One of our customers produces pharmaceuticals. They use steam to sterilize in place. They had an issue with a couple of traps that failed silently, and they didn’t realize between batches. They ran their sterilize in place process. After they started the next batch of pharmaceuticals, they looked back and realized they didn’t hit their FDA mandate for temperature over time on the sterilizing place system. So they had to flush everything, change out the traps, run the sterilization again. And in order to stop that process and flush all those raw materials: that was about a million dollar opportunity cost for them. That way outstrips the cost of the traps or the cost of waste – steam even in an environment like that. So avoiding those staying on top of the health of your steam system is important too
Alternatives to Smart Monitoring
Other things have been tried to do this. The incumbent is manual inspection. This has been the old standby for decades, but it requires somebody to get up out of a chair and go visit the trap, right? Whether they’re using an ultrasound gun or opening up a valve to see the behavior downstream from the trap, that sort of thing. As a result they’re not going to do it every day. Our research partner at the University of Michigan has 13,000 traps, and they can’t get to all those every year. Some of them are on three-year inspection cycles. As a result, you’re also just getting a single reading, so when that person gets there, even the best steam trap auditor in the world or someone using a UMT is going to place the device on the trap, and they’re going to get one to two minutes worth of data while that recording’s taken place. It gives you a great snapshot of what’s going on in that moment, but we’ve seen times where a single reading doesn’t give you really a complete picture of what’s going on with the traps. Like in the moment it seems like it’s failed, but it might be that there’s something else going on systematically that’s overwhelming the trap, and it recovers later. Or vice versa, there might be a a little blip where a trap seems good but for longer periods of time, we’re seeing issues with it. I have some examples of that we can take a look at later
Battery-powered wireless sensors have been tried, but there are steep upfront costs, often in excess of $1,000 per instrument and that sinks a lot of these projects before they can get started, because you have to raise a lot of money in order to do that. You’re still going to commit to a lifetime of battery maintenance, where you go back and revisit those traps over and over again to swap out batteries. In some environments, that could be 18 to 36 months of going back. The biggest torture tests on batteries are extreme temperatures. Really that’s the biggest one. So if it’s really cold or really hot, that’s going to be hard on a battery. It’s usually pretty hot around steam systems some of our customers outdoor processes it gets really cold and that shortens the battery life extensively
Finally a lot of the protocols for the battery-powered wireless sensors were not designed to scale they were designed for power controls where there’s dozens or maybe a hundred devices participating in the network but to cover thousands of steam traps you’ll have to add repeaters and additional base stations you know just to make sure you can cover everything so as a result people are not really taking on wireless sensors at the kind of scale we hoped about 95 percent of the steam customers we talked to are sticking with manual audits knowing that there are mounting losses between them but not having a better way to go after them until now
Always-On Continuous Sensor
so what Everactive does we make a sensor that sits out on the edge we put one on each trap that sensor is always on it’s continuously sensing the trap and transmitting the state back once a minute it does that using very low levels of harvested energy we’ll talk a little bit more about what those harvesters look like but that’s how we can do this without a battery we know in a steam system we have a hot pipe so we’re going to take the waste heat that emanates off that pipe scavenge it and convert it into electricity and that’s going to power our sensor these are designed to be in industrial environments that ip66 rating is for water or dust ingress into the enclosure so we’ve been indoors and outdoors in all four seasons we can be in spray down environments and food production facilities that sort of thing the sensors themselves are class one division two so if you have intrinsic safety requirements you know electrical classifications around your process areas we meet that standard that wide temperature operating range you know I talked about being outdoors in all four seasons the coldest we’ve seen was when the polar vortex hit the upper midwest a few winters ago it was negative 40. And we’ve seen our sensors in steam tunnels in the south in the us in the summer where the ambient temperature is 160 degrees fahrenheit we’ve been able to survive there’s no problem without ever missing a measurement
so as this data makes its way up to the cloud and you can see it in SAGE we’re giving you a new data stream and the reason why I say that is if you’re used to seeing you know data points maybe a couple times a year from going and manually spot checking your traps let’s say you do an annual inspection you get one data point per year in the first hour that our sensor is on the trap you’ll get 60 years worth of data out of that trap now that’s way more than you’re going to parse through yourself you know like reading a report you would do if you got it back from an external contractor and that’s why we have monitoring and detection for failed traps built into the platform so when a trap fails we’ll send a notification we can do that with the alerting built into SAGE already but we can also send emails saying hey this trap has blown you should go inspect it and as I said as our customers mostly are familiar with SAGE are comfortable with SAGE already they can navigate into that platform to look at it they can even see the real-time data there in SAGE I will take a look at that feature that’s coming to stage later this month where you can see live sensor data flowing up through it
So Everactive has partnered with Armstrong to deliver this end to end it’s just our companies involved so there’s not five or six different disparate contractors both products have changed in order to make this work this isn’t a third party integration we’re talking about where there’s some outlying connective tissue you know internal product teams from Armstrong and Everactive are working together on a daily basis to make both this hardware and software better and more compatible but what really attracts people to us is that we do all this without ever changing a battery
What Batteryless Means
So I want to talk a little bit more about what it means to be batteryless. This is a picture of our steam trap monitor on the right-hand side of the screen. Here it’s got an integrated electrical generator that takes that waste heat and turns it into electricity. I’ll show you that here in person in a moment I have a camera on the desk. When you use a thermoelectric generator like ours to generate electricity it’s not very much electricity, a very very small amount, not enough to power conventional electronics. What really makes our company different is that we took that very very small amount of electricity and we can do something worthwhile with it. And the reason why we can do that is we were spun out of research to build the lowest power radios and lowest power processors in the world. Our co-founders are university professors, one from the University of Michigan just about 90 minutes from Armstrong’s headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. And our other co-founders from the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, virginia. They met at MIT when they were getting their doctorate degrees in this type of research electrical engineering for super low power consumption on radio and processing when you bring those things together you can build these systems that power themselves so that’s what it is to be batteryless
I want to show you a picture of the sensor now you know on a real application so the way this works we apply this clamp that takes a measurement on the inlet side of the trap using temperature our sensor sits out there on the edge it’s that little green cube with the fin on top that’s our antenna that fin allows us to do our transmissions we run a probe to the outlet side of the trap as well using that semi-rigid connector it’s flexible you know you can grab it and bend it like a coat hanger you form it once and it’ll stay put so it won’t drag or droop and then that leads to the outlet side of the trap where we can take another measurement on the condensate side at the core there is that thermoelectric generator that makes it all possible from an electrical standpoint I’m going to pause the slideshow here for a moment and show you this hardware on my tabletop
all right so here we are on the desktop you can see we have some steam traps for scale this is our sensor hardware and as you can see we have a clamp here to mate to the pipe we put a little notch in there so if you’re up on a 30-foot ladder you don’t have to take the nuts all the way off in order to put this thing on you can just swing the gate down that’s really really handy that’s a lesson learned from our company so you open this gate up you connect it to your steam pipe there’s a spring-loaded rtd here at the base that does our temperature measurement and then as you go through kind of the metal here you’ll see heat transfer up to this square at the base of this is our harvester it uses something called a peltier device now that’s a scientific principle we did not invent those have been around a long time. inside a peltier device there are two pieces of dissimilar metal. When one is warmer than the other one side of it’s warmer than the other it starts to emit a trace amount of electrical current down these wires I’ll give you an example kind of a point of reference how much electricity we’re talking about. I’m wearing an apple watch this is considered the most power efficient consumer electronics on the planet it’s got a very small battery and it lasts all day right the four big consumers of energy on this watch in order are lte wi-fi this screen and bluetooth low energy so three out of the top four are radios. That’s before we get to processing or storage or sensors those are the most power hungry things.
let’s take the number four there right bluetooth low energy that’s supposed to be what is the most power efficient consumer electronics radio in the world it has a power budget of 50 micro watts and the way it hits that is it duty cycles turns itself off about 99 of the time fires on in little blips to talk to my laptop or my phone the evernet radio we have in here that’s always on and always listening has a power budget of 200 nano watts so it doesn’t duty cycle and it runs a thousand times lower in its power consumption than bluetooth low energy so if you had a harvester this size a tag and you tried to charge the apple watch it would never boot it would need to be the size of this table and it’d have to be on something very hot like 200 c and you’re just never going to find that around a steam system so knowing that we can use maybe a half inch of bear pipe we usually fit in the unions around the trap that’s really easy to find it’s as opposed to feet and feet of bear pipe like you need to power a conventional radio
so we use this flexible connector to go from the inlet to the outside we make these in a couple different sizes based off your application if it’s too long you can always bend it up and bend the slack up as well and then we use a clamp on the outlet side as well and that makes this remote rtd to give us the other temperature reading I actually have a trap that’s already censored up here so I can give you an idea what that looks like so as we install into customer environments we’ll take down metadata just like you’re used to seeing accustomed to seeing in SAGE this is an 813 right Armstrong inverted bucket one inch lines run through it but it’s not really the line size that determines how much steam flows through this there are reducers in here and we use Armstrong’s database to determine exactly how much waste there is flowing through a trap like this depending on the pmo and the pressure that make the model the application so so here’s our sensor we have a tag as well if you’re using you know tags for trap management today we can integrate those in since we’re using SAGE so we’ll just be adding our sensor and it’ll arrive to the SAGE page you already have and when a customer gets a notification you know they’ll click through and see which trap is failed they’ll have all their location specific metadata if they’ve already put photos into stage they’ll be able to see those as well makes it really easy to know what you’re taking with you and where you’re going when we determine that a trap’s failed so that’s kind of the physical install piece I’m going to head back over to our slideshow here all right and we’ll share our screen so that data leaves our sensor and heads up to the cloud you know in order to be batteryless we use our evernet to do that that’s the communication method between sensor to gateway not listed here the range between sensor and gateway that’s 250 meters nonline of sight so about 800 feet that assumes you’re in an industrial environment where there can be walls and obstructions and things along those lines so it usually only takes a few gateways to cover you know everyone’s process areas a handful for a building for example that sort of thing from the gateway layer up to the cloud primarily we use lte we have some other options there you know kind of depending if you’re in a total cellular black hole we’ve connected to customer provided wi-fi or connected ethernet as well and then the customers interact with the data using SAGE so it’s the same SAGE app or interface that they already know and love so let’s talk a little bit about what’s different in terms of our technical approach we’re doing steam trap monitoring using continuous temperature if you were to spot check a steam trap with temperature that’s not an effective way you know to know how it’s behaving Armstrong said that for decades and that’s true um you need to have a continuous monitor of temperature to understand how a steam trap is behaving
what makes us different is that we can do that every minute so we also provide that data in real time so every measurement we take is available to our customers they can log in and see that minute to minute as well whether the traps failed or not they could look at good traps and see what the real-time data is also we have an algorithm on the back end that factors in the make model application pressure other metadata about the trap we also train on each individual trap so it’s not just that Armstrong 813 I showed you if we were training on that one but every arm strong 813 we’ve ever seen in a similar make model application pressure could be compared to understand that behavior when I say we keep all data online and accessible at any time that’s true you know we’re taking measurements minute to minute but we’ve been on steam traps for years now and customers can go back a week a month a year see how that same trap was behaving maybe when it was installed so if there’s a trend now something’s shifted they can understand it better in context and obviously our big differentiator we do this with no batteries and no maintenance on the solution itself so let’s take a look at some trap data the green line here that’s our steam side of the trap the inlet side this navy blue line is the outlet side of the trap this baby blue line here is the ambient temperature we take a measurement at the sensor body as well we call that ambient depending on where the sensor is positioned there could be some heat wash coming off the system so your mileage may vary but we do make that available to our customers so they can see that trend as well you know in the case of this trap when it’s failed you can see almost no delta t there across the trap not any back pressure to speak of being provided this big dip is where they valved the trap off in order to service it and after they serviced it you can see almost a 100 degree temperature delta in this particular application now different traps can look different not all of them are are this clear and we you know we train on each trap so we have the ability to have different standards based off that application pressure what we’re in service of here’s a trap that’s exhibiting some intermittent behavior so if you think about your annual manual inspection and you look at the time scale here across this graph and this is in you know over the course of a couple days let’s say you know we get up bright and early on may 15th we’re going to do our annual steam trap inspection and we pour our pot of coffee at 8am we start hitting all of our traps we work all the way through the night pull an all-nighter to make sure we check all of them finish up at 4pm the next day anytime in there if we spot check this trap it would probably look and sound normal meanwhile just before we started and just after we finished there’s hours here where this trap’s howling not doing its job so we record this intermittent behavior we raise it to our customers so they can look sometimes we see these as early warning signs before a more complete failure of a trap like the previous slide I show other times these can be traced back to process issues we had one customer that had you know like a dozen traps that were all showing this intermittent behavior that looked like blow through simultaneously and when we talked to them we were able to trace it back to boiler carryover and they were able to resolve that and get it fixed so we see other process issues sometimes where people have missing plumbing or the incorrect trap and they’ll see behavior like this where it’s not it’s not rendering out condensate like it should so it’s much easier to identify when you have continuous data streams and you’re not trying to find the needle in the haystack by spot checking if you looked at it here you’d say failed if you looked at it here you’d say good the truth lies you know somewhere else by looking at the continuous data here’s a plug trap so as I said before we train on all of our traps and that includes kind of what the expected behavior is for the temperature so in the case of this process humming along at 380 we’d know that there’s a lower bound this trap usually operates in even on a modulating process so somewhere along this curve we’d say hey this trap does not go this cold this is not typical and we’d send an alert to our customer saying you need to go check on this trap it’s gone unexpectedly cold
here’s another one that’s blowing some intermittent periods of blow through and then a change between light and heavy load and what I’m trying to illustrate here is that you can see if you were only looking at the condensate side of the trap you might mistake this change in loads this modulation is blow through but if you’re monitoring both sides you can see that there’s a step change on the inlet side of the trap as well so that we take that into account you know as we train on those steam traps finally here’s a trap that’s outdoors and you can see that um there’s a pretty chaotic pattern here almost a 50 degree swing in temperature from the valleys up to the peaks so if you’re doing simple temperature thresholding you would get a lot of false positives or you’d have to set that threshold so how you’d get maybe a missed negative or a missed positive I should say so we we build a signature around trap behavior and when there’s a change in that we can use that you know we factor that in it’s not simple thresholding
so moving from these charts i’d like to show you kind of what this looks like in SAGE so I’m going to bring up our SAGE test environment here and we’re starting to get this deployed out to some customer environments I’m showing you a test environment today that’s at the lab in three rivers so you’ll see updates to the dashboard that shows some things about monetary loss you’ll notice we have monitoring frequency whereas before if you’re used to your customer testing their traps annually this might say 365 days you know frequency good now we can get that down to zero because there’s some amount of traps that are recording data in real time so under our equipment list here and pull those up and you’ll be able to see here on this particular trap there’s a new tab so if you’ve seen SAGE before you’re used to detail settings in history we now have our real time tab as well and in there you’ll be able to see all the data points we’ve measured as they flow through I’m looking at the last 24 hours right now there’s a table here that kind of shows those raw measurements but you can also see these charts if there’s trends and actually use your mouse wheel to zoom in or out until you can get kind of granular down to individual minutes get those singular points of data which can be really helpful if you’re trying to figure out you know what changed when we can also pull this back and look at you know a week’s worth of data and it’ll call that up you can see here some dips where they were making changes to the system really easy to visualize that and inspect it and hover over any individual measurement to get the exact reading
so that’s a Everactive sensors reporting real time to SAGE that’ll be rolling out to customers later this month we’re in kind of a limited test right now on it it’s going really well it’s been awesome working with that team great people there helping to build out this product so let’s talk about some of the technical challenges in our approach let’s say you have a plugged strainer right knowing where our sensor is located we try to get it as close to the trap as possible you certainly wouldn’t want it upstream from the strainer so if we’re downstream from the strainer and the strainer becomes plugged it could present as a plug trap to us so we don’t say plug trap we say unexpectedly cold and then you know the responding technician can go out they’ll double check the strainer check the trap at the same time if you have bad plumbing so if there were no check valve present downstream from the trap and you’re using shared condensate lines you know peaks in the system down there can affect the outlet thermistor so we try to account for that where we can when we have multiple traps in the same area you know that’s something we can put in via metadata and SAGE and keep an eye on so that’s that’s something to be aware of too how do we overcome our technical challenges for starters we don’t make guesses right if we’re not certain what’s going on we stay in touch with our customers through our customer success team we reach out and present all the information we have and then ask for them to take a look but if there’s something they don’t understand you know some anomaly in the data and they want further analysis we have subject matter experts in steam you have some on your staff there’s plenty on the Armstrong staff and Everactive has experts in steam as well and we can help them analyze that data so if they see something from a sensor they don’t they don’t quite get you know they can reach out to us we’ll book a zoom meeting and take them through it
Finally, if a judgment is incorrect, like our algorithm arrives at an incorrect judgment about a trap and it turns out it’s expected behavior, we have a learning algorithm that we can train. So we can correct it and say ‘Hey, wait a minute this is expected behavior for this trap.’ So that’s how we overcome kind of the most common technical challenges around the product there.
Payback and Benefits
Now when we talk about the payback for this putting it out in customer environments I wanted to show you that trap. This is the same example trap I had here in the room that we showed on camera a moment ago. From my research partner at the University of Michigan, if this trap is blowing for a year this number from SAGE fourteen thousand two hundred dollars is pretty expensive. Now that’s a big trap; it’s like the size of a roll of paper towel right you can hold it in both hands. Let’s talk about a smaller trap. This is a process trap from a customer environment of ours. It’s a one or half inch lines that run through it so you could hold it in one hand easily. But more so than the line size we’re concerned with the interior orifice diameter and that pressure. Their cost esteem’s a little bit lower than Michigan, but still this is an expensive problem. If this trap is blowing for a year it’s twenty four thousand dollars in waste steam.
So the way we actually show payback and derive value for our customers is: they place our sensors on a trap fails and they find it sooner. In the case of this one, they put our sensors on in April. Two months into their annual inspection cycle, this trap failed and we were able to notify them. They went and changed the trap out that week, so we could confidently say we headed off about 10 months of wasted steam. We could tell them down to the day. So in the case of that trap, that’s a $20,000 savings as opposed to letting the trap blow until when they would have found it with a manual inspection. Not every trap is tens of thousands of dollars most of them are thousands. Some are hundreds, but most are thousands.
Value to the Customer
So in order to figure out what the value is to the customer we start with a trap survey. And before installing the product, before even selling it to them we can build a savings summary. So we can get together with your team and say ‘Hey if you hand us a steam trap list we’ll get all the assumptions there. how many traps are in the facility?’ We do a weighted average of the pressures and those orifice diameters to figure out what their cost esteem is by asking them. And then we can run it through a calculator and say ‘Hey, here’s what it is you stand to save on continuously monitoring your steam traps versus only checking them once a year’ And the payback’s usually very very good. So that’s something we can do before we take on a project. So we know if we stand to succeed or not.
There are outlier cases where people pay a very very low amount for steam and maybe their pressures are low and their orifice diameters are small where it doesn’t make sense to put continuous monitoring on their traps. In some facilities, we put them on 90% of the traps. But if you’re thinking of something like a radiator trap in someone’s office it doesn’t make a lot of sense to instrument that for continuous monitoring. But for industrial processes, HVAC bigger traps like that, or high pressure processes it makes a lot of sense. And we’ll walk through that and show your customer what they stand to save. When those failures occur they’ll get a notification. So they’ll be able to see it right there which trap has failed, they’ll have a link they can click right through to see it in SAGE and find where those failures are.
So what we offer is what we call insights as a service, one fee that kind of covers all these things: the sensors, the gateways, that LTE connection, the steam trap monitoring itself, the notifications that go out to them saying that a trap has failed, analysis from our subject matter experts. If they have a question we schedule insight sessions and that’s a chance for our team to get together with our customers.
We typically do those quarterly. For some of our customers, they’ve requested them monthly where we look through the data for anything other than kind of your standard failures and say ‘Hey, here’s an anomaly let’s take a deeper dive into it together.
That next bullet of uptime assurance we have a whole team here that’s just dedicated to making sure the solution is working. so this is not something where we hand it to the customer, expect them to install it, and never check in with them again. Our team is monitoring the solution, expecting it to be up, and if there’s a problem we reach out to the customer and work to get it resolved. One difference for our model of continuous monitoring versus battery-powered sensors is that they only phone in a couple of times an hour or a couple of times a day. We’re expecting that data to be coming in all the time. So if we’re not getting data all the time you know that could be a problem and we have a team here that’s monitoring the solution to make sure if that is an issue it doesn’t go unnoticed; we’re taking active steps to resolve it.
Finally, we include ongoing support in this model as well. What’s new about this is that now that includes SAGE integration as well. So our customers will get access to SAGE as a part of this.
Our Service Model
So let’s talk about this business approach, this service model approach. Some customers right away get it, they immediately love it. They jump right on with us because they know it means they’ll never have a piece of hardware they can’t use. If it’s broken or down, that’s covered we’ll fix it. And we’re monitoring it to make sure that doesn’t happen, or if it does that it’s resolved in a timely fashion. Since it’s continuous monitoring, they have a new constant connection to their steam system and its health. They know at all times how their steam system is behaving. Some of the typical objections we get:
This service model is new for many industrial customers. They’re used to buying things, kind of having them and owning them. They’d prefer to buy the sensor, they own the sensor, they’ll figure it out. So you do need to overcome some of that entrenched thinking about uh no i’m used to owning every asset that sits here. We handle that as a service which actually has a lot of advantages for them, but we do need to talk through those to make sure they understand them.
Maybe the most stark advantage for customers is that we’ve completely de-risked it for them right. If this solution isn’t providing value for them, our typical contract runs on an annual basis. So if after a year they try it and they say we don’t like steam trap monitoring it’s not a big payoff for us, we don’t have enough trap failures, or high enough costs to steam to justify this, they can turn the service off. And they’re not stuck with you know a bunch of hardware that they bought and paid a thousand dollars per instrument for and can never see a return on.
We’ve adopted that risk so we’re incentivized to be there with them and we are we cover every single aspect of this solution so we make sure that you know they’re seeing the value that the solution is working well for them. And we’ll work there with you on that too so we’ll be able to answer your questions about this you’ll get access to that data as well.
It’s a true partnership between the customer integrator provider, channel partner and us. So how do we win? See we tend to come in at a lower cost and a much lower risk than traditional instrumentation. That’s very attractive to our customers. We’re far easier to deploy than other industrial internet of things solutions. The sensors auto pair with a gateway, you usually see data flowing within a few minutes of opening the box. We can provide that as a turnkey service where we send an install team in to do that or we can train you or train our customer on how to stand up the system quickly and easily. The hardest parts of this are handled by us which makes it really easy for your customer to become trap active. Finally, on this screen it’s really a tremendous payback. Most of the time we’re seeing you know anywhere from two three four x in return on investment you pay for this monitoring in the system and the deferred steam cost. It’s measurable, it’s easy to prove, and our customers see it; they see their utility bills go down as they’re fixing these traps quicker.
Who We Are Targeting
So who are we targeting when we talk about Everactive steam trap monitoring? We like to start with customers who are testing their traps manually or contracting manual audits. They have some type of steam system maintenance plan already in place. If they have never thought about replacing a steam trap before to try to convince them that they need to jump into continuous monitoring, that can be a big leap. So as you think about who to bring this to think about your customers that already have some familiarity with steam trap maintenance. Among those customers, if they’re looking for ways to improve their efficiency or specifically cut their co2 footprint, their carbon footprint, fewer greenhouse gas emissions or cut costs we can clearly illustrate that. So those are great ways to get the conversation started.
Our best target customers understand the value of replacing their failed traps and they’re ready and willing to act on notifications. Meaning that if we put this solution out there and they’re not going to take action on it, they’re not going to replace the traps there is no point in monitoring them. Our whole play is that you know we allow them to find failed traps sooner. And if they act on them quickly, they’ll see tremendous benefit from that. If they’re unable or unwilling to do that they’re probably not going to see big benefits out of continuously monitoring their trap if they leave it failed. So that’s kind of a walk-through of what we do from the top level down where we think we can be really successful. And who our target customers are, talking through next steps if you’re ready to start this customer conversation, talk to Philip he can help you get the ball rolling: qualifying your customers, understanding where to put these for best impact and benefit to your customers. He also has marketing resources like one-pagers and videos. Next, we’ll work together with you to take this message to your best customers; assisting you in pitches, performing technical demos like the one I did today. We have a team here that can handle that pre-sales conversation: sales reps, myself, other sales engineers that can help you demo. And we can work on those proposals I talked about, including the projected savings.
So taking those trap lists and processing them and saying here’s what it is you stand to save by switching to continuous monitoring. Once this solution is up we’d be working together right. So you’ll get real-time data from the site. We’ll work together on these quarterly insight sessions; as I said before we have a dedicated customer success team that checks in and makes sure the customer is using the solution, resolving those notifications, and fixing their traps. We can build together on opportunities for expansion. Whether that’s getting to more steam traps on the customer site or jumping to other sites within that same company if they’re a multi-site company. So that’s kind of what the roadmap looks like to get this out onto your customer site.
To learn more about Everactive’s and Armstrong’s collaboration, click here.