Mr. Alasdair Monk, Global Product Owner for Spirax Sarco steam specialty business explains the company’s business and how ICONICS products and teams are an integral part of the company’s success. This includes not only delivering what Spirax Sarco customers want and expect but also delivering on the company’s and its customers’ sustainability initiatives and goals.

Video Transcript

[0:00] Alasdair Monk, Global Product Owner for Spirax Sarco

So, we're a global engineering company. We employ 8000 people worldwide. We're a leader in our chosen industrial markets, looking after heating and thermal solutions. I work within the steam business. And we provide a range of OEM products and services to our end user customers in industry and a range of commercial applications. My role is very simply heading up connected services which is really about developing a range of smart products and services whereby we connect those products and services that we currently have today, and we make them that much smarter and better.


Customers increasingly recognize that the benefits of IoT enabled remote monitoring, so it provides them with visibility that they've never had before, over the industrial steam systems. And what it really enables us to do is to be able to support them more effectively with our application expertise with that additional insight.


ICONICS role is pivotal. They provide us with the foundational piece for IoT, so what that enables us to do is to capture that insight in real time 24/7. And we bring that into a broader ecosystem which looks at the board asset management of our equipment.


The way in which we're approaching it is to look across the steam system at any issues that relate to the performance of the system: how do you optimize the energy efficiency? How do you make sure that the system is reliable, making sure that it's safe. And ultimately, what customers are looking for is making sure that the system performs to the best of its ability and does it in a reliable way and basically does it in a controlled and safe environment. So, they're really the pivotal drivers for our customers. Well, ICONICS was really the natural choice for us; it really comes down to the industrial automation experience and the heritage of the ICONICS brand. So, you've got that in depth experience of working with our operational customers. So, the maintenance managers, the reliability engineers, the plant managers, so these are people that are our end user customers so ultimately what that enables us to do, is to really focus on building on the next level of value for them. So, you've got that user experience embedded within your platform that aligns to the requirements of those users with the alerts and notifications, the way you get the data. And what it enables us to then do is focus on how do we leverage that to then build out specialist theme applications that can enhance our services. So that part is really, really important. There's also the fact that when we think about the broader ecosystem, you work in the Microsoft as your environment as well. And that's really, really important for us. Microsoft is also our cloud provider; we have utilized a lot of services from them as well. So having the ability to seamlessly move between those different platforms is also really, really important. But the big piece for us was really about the industrial automation heritage.


The best way to think about it is ICONICS is essentially part of family. And what I mean by that is that we're working with ICONICS each and every day, they're embedded within our development team. So, we work through our sprint planning with them, they're part of our agile squad helping us with the development and configuration of the ICONICS platform. And really, what that enables us to do is then focus on doing what we do best as a business which is infusing our knowledge about steam systems and building out those specialist applications.


We mentioned the point earlier where you have to go to site, you're doing inspection, you capture some information physically. Now to be able to do that remotely, have that information in real time 24/7 means that we can be got data at scale. We've got the data when we need it, so we know when the problems are happening. We've got visibility of them, you know, it starts off with most businesses are reactive, they work on a time service intervals. And really what that means is to the point you're inferring that people might be going to site when the problem is not happening. And ultimately what you want to do is make best use of that precious resource and direct it to where the issues are. And so that really is about driving that journey of moving from reactive to preventive maintenance which is really what we're working through right now towards predictive so that’s a big part of the future and really enabling us to better service our customers.


Sustainability is something that is absolutely front and center for us all right now, isn't it? I mean, we're all global citizens who recognize the climate emergency that we're in. And that's reflected in what we do and our purpose as a business. We have a one planet corporate strategy which is really about putting that issue at the center of the organization. And within the IoT is a huge enabler, and it comes back down to some of the points that we've already mentioned. So, what we do know about our customers steam systems is that often the suboptimal in terms of their energy efficiency, performance. And so, if the 80-85% energy efficient, and what we can do is we can start to drive that number up. And customers targets are very much sort of 95% plus. And so, we can work with them, remotely monitor their systems, look at the boiler, identify areas of inefficiencies, look at where we might have steam loss through that system or leakages, and really start to address that through the power of IoT, for the power of remote monitoring, and the analytics and insight that our services team can provide alongside that capability.


How do you create an autonomous, self-regulating steam system that adapts to its conditions? We talked about the drivers to be, that 100% efficient steam system. If you're going to achieve that you need something that can self-regulate itself, almost a system that's aware. So maybe a valve that looks and says,” Okay, we're suboptimal in terms of delivery of steam to our customers process right now. So, what can I do to improve that? I'm going to open slightly at this particular point in time and close in another, so it's getting to that sort of situation where you have that self-regulating autonomous system that ultimately drive our ability to be able to deliver against that sustainability mission that we were just talking to. So, it's a really exciting journey to be on with ICONICS.