The other side to Digital Communication

Well, it has been long since my last blog and the last time I published something was before I joined MICA. It has been just over a month that I have now been a part of an organization which is into Digital Communications. Just a thought which occurred to me quite recently is that whenever we read or hear digital marketing, the only thing which comes to our mind is digital advertisements or social media. Just so you guys know, it is much more than that. Keeping developing countries in perspective where not everyone owns a smartphone but has a feature phone or a basic mobile phone, any kind of communication directed to them turns digital. How is this possible? Let’s discuss it further.

For users having basic mobile phones, communication towards them using technologies like outbound calls where one can capture their mobile numbers and then use it for re-targeting is a very minuscule part of this digital act but what matters is the impact. For basic mobile phones, this is as digital as it can get. Of course, it isn’t Google’s right advertisement at the right place at the right time but still some form of infotainment through integrated voice response by giving a simple missed call can be magic.

Or else to keep you thinking, how about playing an advertisement when you call someone rather than a lame ringtone, how is this for innovation? Or even wondered what if Messi calls you, a football fanatic, how would you feel? Stay tuned to know more!

Understanding a #natgas reciprocating compressor package (part IV)

It has been over 4 months that I’ve been working on this live inquiry from one of our prestigious clients. The tender document on a whole seems to be very simple but if one focuses on the technical aspect of it, and then the complications arise. Like I said in my previous post, gas composition is one very important aspect when it comes to designing a compressor. To keep it simple, more the heavier hydrocarbons in the gas, more complex the process gets. We have to understand in detail the behaviour of gas at different pressures and temperatures. This would help us to decide the compressor metallurgy for that particular application. If it is a sour gas that is gas with high amount of hydro-sulphide or water with high amount of carbon dioxide then the metallurgy of the compressor will change to stainless steel. The piston rod, valves and cylinders may change to stainless steel. To be honest, a compressor can handle any type of gas provided it is informed clearly to the compressor venders.

A reciprocating compressor package consists of many other items such as pressure vessels, driver and a heat exchanger. The driver can be a motor or a gas engine depending on the client’s requirement. The heat exchanger can be shell and tube type or an air-cooled heat exchanger. The exact gas composition in mole% is required while designing the air-cooled heat exchanger. The metallurgy of the vessel also plays a vital role while conceptualizing the package. Generally, upstream gas is requires a good process study. On the other hand, gases contain C1 + C2 + C3>90% makes life easy for the compressor guy as the other items can be finalized easily and accurately. Once the gas is analyzed, selecting the compressor is as easy as pie.

This ends our discussion on selection of reciprocating gas compressors and hope it’s helpful. Many electrical factors also affect the compressor performance which we’ll see later as it involves understanding the compressor package on a whole. Even selecting right instrumentation like valves, gas detectors etc is important which we will discuss later.

Since, we are interested in compressor selection, so stay tuned for the next post where, we will study in detail on selecting a screw compressor for natural gas applications.

Understanding a #natgas reciprocating compressor package (part III)

In my previous post, we studied in detail on how to select cylinders for a particular frame for a given application and how different parameters affect the estimated power calculated by the compressor selection performance software. Once the compressor frame, compressor cylinders, primary driver i: e motor or engine is selected with necessary input parameters; we shall run the compressor to understand the output. Firstly, we need to see if it shows any major errors like exceeding rod loads, cylinders of lower RDP are selected, high discharge temperatures, improper degree reversal values and unacceptable suction or discharge volumetric efficiencies. To solve these issues, let us have a look at each one of them individually as this will enhance our problem solving ability:

  1. Exceeding rod loads: This is the most frequently occurring problem when we select cylinders having large-bore diameters to achieve the required capacity. Rod load is defined as the amount of weight exerted on the connecting rod by the gas and the by the inertia of the moving parts. In this case, we either reduce the cylinder sizes and compromise with the flow or else we can select frames of higher BkW. Rod loads also have to be check for safety relief case where discharge pressure is 1.1*given discharge pressure. The most advisable value should be 80% of maximum allowable rod loads.
  2. Cylinders of lower RDP are selected: This is an error when we select cylinders which cannot operate at that particular stage as the pressure at that stage is higher than the rated discharge pressure of those cylinders. This error ultimately leads to high rod loads.
  3. High discharge temperature: This generally happens when the cylinder are previous stages are either too big for the frame to handle or the cylinder in the latter stages are bigger than the previous stages. This also indicates that the compression ratios are higher in the latter stages. This may also lead to high gas loads in any of the stages.
  4. Degree reversal: As far my experience and observation goes, this happens when the bore diameters of cylinders in the initial stages are very big as compared to the bore diameters of the latter stages. In order to maintain compression ratios for a balanced machine, we cannot use improper cylinder size combinations.
  5. Unacceptable volumetric efficiencies: The ideal volumetric efficiencies should be about 75% to 80%. If this has to be achieved then cylinder selections need to have decreasing compressor ratios and discharge temperatures.

To understand the above, one has to sit with the compressor performance software and try every combination. Once results flash for all different combinations then it will result in better understanding of the working of the compressor. The points discussed are the major errors which we have to tackle in order to achieve an efficient compressor sizing. There are other minute things and also, many concepts related to the gas composition. The working of the compressor highly depends on the gas composition. If the gas contains heavy hydrocarbons then we have to consider many other possibilities. So, tune up for the next post where we will look into details of the compressor relation and the gas used.

Understanding a #natgas reciprocating compressor package (Part II)

In my previous post, I had spoken about the estimated power shown by the compressor performance software which is dependent of a few major factors.

Lets us understand each one of them separately:

  1. First and foremost, the design suction pressure specified by the purchaser for which the package is to be designed. If we observe, we will realize that as the suction pressure increases, the estimated power reduces with other parameters kept constant.
  2. The discharge pressure specified by the purchaser for which the package is to be designed. If we observe, we will realize that as the discharge pressure reduces, the estimated power reduces with other parameters kept constant.
  3. The input design capacity is always is 1.03 times the flow specified by the purchaser and the estimated power reduces with reduction in capacity with other parameters kept constant.
  4. The suction temperature plays a vital role in design of the air-cooled heat exchanger but as far as flow is concerned it affects it exponentially. The trend is as the suction temperature reduces the power reduces too with other parameters kept constant.
  5. One of the important factors is deciding on the number of stages which is a trade of between estimated power and cost of the air-cooled heat exchanger. As we increase the number of stages the estimated power of the main driver reduces with other parameters kept constant but the cost of the ACHE (Air-cooled Heat Exchanger) increases as the size of the ACHE increase to accommodate cooling of the gas passing through every stage.
  6. There is always a loss of pressure till it arrives at the battery limit i: e inlet of the package; so we have to consider it and it is called skid edge suction pressure loss. Logically, with increase in loss the estimated power reduces with other parameters constant.

Above parameters are the inlet conditions on which the estimated power variations are discussed. There are certain other functions like pressure drops per stage and discharge temperature after the discharge KOD on the estimated power fluctuates but that will seen in the output shown by the software. We will get into deep understanding of the output later. The actual power is always more the estimated power as estimated power is only a guideline to select a compressor frame. Once we select the frame which can be a 2-throw or a 4-throw machine depending primarily on the required capacity, it is time to select the compressor cylinders. While selecting compressor cylinders; a major point to keep in mind is the rated discharge pressure of that cylinder. Every stage has a unique discharge pressure depending on the number of stages we use to design the compressor. The RDP (Rated Discharge Pressure) of every cylinder should be at least 1.5 times more than the inter-stage discharge pressure. So we can keep increasing the sizes of the cylinders till the RDP of the cylinder higher that the inter-stage discharge pressure. However, keeping in mind that the cylinder sizes should be decreasing per stage as this would result in decreasing pressure ratios per stage. When the pressure ratios are decreasing the machine is said to be balanced. Due to this the discharge temperatures also reduce per stage and the thermal stresses are handled well by the machine. The driver to be selected depends on the requirement given by the purchaser. It can either be engine driven or motor driven.

Once all of the above is done, we can move ahead the check the performance and understand the results it shows. Based on the results, we will have to make a few changes which we will look in detail in the next post. Till then stay tuned to be a reciprocating compressor sizing expert.

Understanding a #natgas reciprocating compressor package (Part I)

Now for any amateur, understanding and conceptualizing a reciprocating compressed natural gas distribution package isn’t a cake walk. I have been working in this sector for almost 14 months now. First thing that comes to our minds is what does the customer exactly want? Frankly, this field is so complex, that at times even the customer has no idea what he is looking for. The sales people in this sector always follow the rule of “customer in” and not “product out”. We need to share all the information with our internal customers and external customers for designing an efficient machine.

So let’s get on with the designing aspects of a reciprocating package. It all starts with the parameters given to us and recording it in the compressor performance software. The most important ones are design suction pressure, suction pressure range, suction temperature, required flow, ambient temperature, gas composition and discharge pressure. This compressor performance software has many minute things which a rookie application person generally misses out. Nevertheless, any software you use as in of any company i: e Ariel or Cameron or Dresser-Rand, all having the same functions. It is the compressor that has limitations but not the software. Different companies include various assumptions which are calculated by the software internally which remain hidden. Estimated Power vs. Flow is something all the sales engineers are worried about. I would like to elaborate on the flow/capacity. This is the most essential piece of information given by the purchaser. The highlighting point is that the design flow should always be considered at 1.03 times of actual specified flow given by the purchaser. Most of the performance softwares do consider it but a few do not. To confirm the best person would be the operator at the site and the application engineer sizing the compressor. Sales person is the link between these engineers. The best advice would be to always consider 3% more flow than the required capacity. This extra consideration in the flow is also known as No Negative Tolerance (NNT). Now, let us move on to the power aspect. The performance software shows an estimated power on the basis of various input parameters. We’ll get into the details of these parameters later. The power flashed by the respective software is actually the frame BkW. The frame which we select shall be having a higher BkW than the estimated figure shown. The frame rating should not be very high as compared to the estimated power as that would result in under-utilization of the compressor frame.

Though, we are using a software to size our reciprocating compressor package, there are various input parameters like pressure drops and discharge cooler temperatures which the software calculates. However, these are figures which are calculated on basis of various formulae but when practically observed, these values differ. Thus we can say, compressor sizing is a perfect blend of theory and practical knowledge. Also, the skid suction pressure loss is to be taken as 1% of the suction pressure. The after-cooler discharge temperatures should be 6 deg C more than the considered ambient temperature.

I am sure the above information will be helpful in understanding the initial stages of compressor design. For more information, tune in for the next post where we get into cylinder selection and performance analysis.

Email Id – The Virtual YOU.

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A few weeks back, I had a chat with my best friend who works in a California based company. Though his job profile is that of a social media analyst but the outcome of his code is directly related to marketing. I was baffled because I knew he works on Ruby on Rails – an open source full-stack web application framework for Ruby programming language. I assumed that his job is coding and it didn’t interest me at all.

Yesterday, all of a sudden he tells me he earned money by selling 15000+ email ids to a person from Italy. I asked him, how can he sell something indefinable? How is the buyer benefitted out of it? Who sells email ids? And before I bombarded him with further questions, he interrupted me and asked, if I knew the value of my email id? I thought to myself and visibly had a big NO on my face.

Then he explained the basics of B2B lead generation, web scrapping, web crawling and the term Inbound Marketing was redefined.

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Conventional marketing tools and tactics are obscure now. It is due to two key shifts, the rise of the caller id and rise of Internet.The habits of B2B buyers’ have changed. No one wants to waste time engaging in telephonic conversations to increase sales and market their brand. Rather approach companies who generate sales lead i: e search and provide information of potential customers for particular kind of products or services. This is done by using different techniques but all aimed at scrapping the information of the customer. It is generally in the form of email ids or contact numbers.

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But the only challenge is to derive logic on how to obtain pure information of a customer for a desired product or service. Once the information is collected using software like Python Scrapy, Ruby Mechanize etc and sold, the respective client will use it to increase useful traffic to his/her website and convert leads to sales.

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More we sign up on social networking websites like Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest etc using a particular email id and store information about ourselves, better and easier it gets for SMAs to hack and sell them. Social media is their daily bread and butter. So, don’t be shocked if this unreal sphere has given you a brand new identity which helps many businessmen.

These companies don’t only sell email ids but sell the virtual you. So, every email id you make has a definite value but also proves to be priceless for many.

INDUSTRIAL DIGITAL MARKETING.

The above topic is a combination of digital marketing and industrial marketing. A proper blend of the two will prove to be very fruitful for the manufacturing industry.

With decreasing selling prices due to intense competition, the cost price of the product has to be condensed to increase the profit margins. The ever-increasing cost of the raw materials is choking the growth of manufacturing industries. Not much can be done about the world economy dynamics on which the cost of the raw materials depends. There is a latent need for a change in the marketing methods.

Since I’m working on a project which involves cost reduction in the compressed natural gas packages, I have realized only effective marketing can help in achieving sky-high targets. The traditional marketing tools like looking for the right person in any organization to push sales by unethical ways, giving presentations to only a small group of people, travelling different places in search of new markets etc have to be discarded. Conventional marketing tools are leading to an unaccountable rise in the cost of the product.

We have to agree that this is the age of the computers which has a profound impact on us.

By effective marketing I mean, we need to understand the power of social media and internet. Manufacturers, engineering and industrial companies should generate more high-quality sales leads at a lower cost from using online marketing hubs – Websites, blogs and blog sites. We have to boost communication using Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook etc i: e e-commerce and not just by plain telephonic and email conversations.

Below are few ways to accelerate industrial sales using push and pull digital marketing:

  1. Website redesign and development of blog sites
  2. Keywords research and search engine optimization (SEO)
  3. Creation of landing pages and calls to action buttons
  4. Email marketing for lead nurturing
  5. Social media marketing
  6. Banner advertising in niche industry e-newsletters’
  7. Directory Listings
  8. Pay per click advertising (PPC)
  9. Content creation
  10. Measurement, tracking and training
  11. Direct Mail
  12. Printed Collateral

E-Commerce is not about replacing existing channels of distribution, but rather augmenting them for the global, networked economy. Industrial OEMs need to understand that today business needs to be conducted on both fronts, physical and digital.

Content marketing is very important. Now anyone can question saying who would be interested in knowing that pipes of new diameters have been launched or new threads have been developed?

New engineers coming in this field will be benefitted a lot if information was stored somewhere rather than asking the seniors all the time. And this information can also be marketed to increase sales as new customers will be aware of it. Any kind of data is useful if used judiciously.

If we think from the customer’s point of view, it will be easy for them to find the right solution to their problem using internet and social media rather emailing, calling and meeting the sales executives. This saves a lot of time and money. This will also lead to more opportunities and unexplored markets will be conquered.

These links will help you to get more knowledge on above topic:

Thus, mechanical fraternity has to accept digitization with open arms which creates a win-win situation.