New design prevents up to 120 hours downtime per month
The PM2100 BLUE WOLF compressor
Originally the compressor had a weak point: It was necessary to clean the flame trap every eight hours. This meant that 45 kg object had to be disconnected and cleaned by a high pressure cleaner, which meant two to four hours down time and involved two men. If the customer did not comply with the instruction of cleaning, the compressor would not run optimally and the lack of cleaning would eventually cause damage and need for repair.
The manufacturer Pieter Mouritsen A/S wanted to change that situation, so a year ago they hired Strategic Innovation and Design Consultant Andrew Nagel from DEVELOPA for help to optimise the product.
“We had done some research and realized that it would possible to apply new technology that would make the flame trap dispensable, but we needed help to run the design process to ensure that we got the best solution. We hired Andrew Nagel because he had experience with redesign from many different industries and had a good track record,” explains Operation Manager Claus Engelbrecht Jensen.
Silly questions gives smart solutions
The design consultant conducted a systematic process where he made desk research and also interviewed a number of people involved in different phases of the product’s cycle: Personnel in the production, technicians, maintenance staff, logistic department, customers and end users. As part of process studying the value chain Andrew Nagel went to the platform in the North Sea to study the product in its every day environment.
“Andrew Nagel then arranged a brain storming session with key personnel related to the product – internal and external – and that left the meeting room full of post-it’s with new ideas. This session was invaluable – we got to ask all the ‘silly’ questions, challenge everything about the design and the features,” says Claus Engelbrecht Jensen.
After having gathered and analysed the information the design consultant delivered a road-mapped competitive profile for the new product line and associated services. In cooperation with Pieter Mouritsen A/S DEVELOPA redesigned the product.
“The new compressor has a lot of new features which saves the customers from a lot of down time and thus saves a lot of money. Among the improvements are that the product has been approved for operation without the flame trap, which according to our calculations saves up to 120 hours downtime per month if the compressor is running 24/7. To this calculation you must add the man hours for the person handling the cleaning and also the personnel that is not able to work as a consequence of the cleaning,” Claus the Operation Manager.
He also mentions a number of other improvements. For instance that the new compressor is more noiseless than the old one, has a duplex solution that brings down the service interval from 250 hours to 500 hours, it is easier to operate and has four air outlets instead of one. The ‘new’ compressor also has a surveillance system that ensures that the intervals for service check are not exceeded.
The development process has been very educative for Pieter Mouritsen A/S and whet the company’s appetite for more innovation.
“Earlier we had the tendency to think that we had the key to the right solutions ourselves but we have realized how fruitful it is to co-create with our customers. It gave us new innovative input and inspiration and I would really recommend other companies to do the same,” Claus Engelbrecht Jensen explains.
Read the article with Strategic Innovation and Design Consultant Andrew Nagel from DEVELOPA’s five pieces of advice for innovative design here.