Valve World Americas had the opportunity to speak to Kyle Rayhill, Director, O&G Business Management and Patrick Dunn, Vice President of Sales & Service for Metso (currently Neles) in North America, to discuss the company’s control valve offering, services portfolio and future for growth worldwideIn Neles’ flow control business, the target is to be a leader in defined core market providing innovative solutions for sustainable productivity and extending core.
“It is exciting times for Neles. We are extending our valve business’ distribution channels around the world and optimizing our channels in North America. New partners are coming onboard, new products are being developed and I think we feel we can bring more value to the customer with some of the new ideas we have on the horizon,” says Kyle Rayhill.
“Much of it is investments in the development of operations, supply chain, new systems to deliver our products in the market, required lead times and further investments in research and product development. Overall a lot of investment into the company on many levels and a lot of very positive things happening,” adds Pat Dunn.
“From a new products standpoint, our portfolio has been expanded to include linear control valves and that is coming out this year in North America to our customers,” reveals Kyle.
Having been recognized in the industry for its rotary control valves for several decades, Neles holds a strong position in several industries. It has also recently strengthened its portfolio with the addition of linear valve technology in the Neles product line.
Next stop – North America
“The linear control valve product has the same quality and performance assurances of all the Neles products and we are going to support it and sell it through a representative channel,” explains Pat. “It has expanded our control valve offering and coupled with our new NDX positioner, it is an exciting time for our control valves product offering.”
Neles valves offer an innovative and fundamentally simple construction with excellent operational and maintenance features to optimize and secure process performance at the lowest price level. Neles’ offering is truly massive. All the control valve technologies in linear and rotary configuration, all the actuator options, intelligent valve controllers, severe service trims and decision-making software support are available from one location.
The industry leader is keeping their eye on the price in terms of safety as well. Neles maintains a mission to bring sustainable products to the market which maximize plant uptime with an attractive price point, while fulfilling all safety and environmental requirements.
“In the Jamesbury product line, we have FM-certified burner control valves, which are a very important part of our portfolio. Especially with all the new shale and gas development that is happening in North America, this product is very essential to the safety of these operations,” says Pat.
Another way the company is focusing on keeping their customers safe is with the Neles ValvGuard™, a top class intelligent safety solenoid with partial stroke testing features for emergency shutdown and venting valves. Based on the automatic PST and other diagnostics data, VG9000 increases safety and plant safety targets can be reached more economically than with other solutions.
Let’s get digital
“Digitalization is becoming more and more important in the world today. We have an entire organization dedicated towards it within Neles, and some of the tools that we are developing will make it easier and more efficient for customers to do business with Neles. I think Neles is on the front lines of digitalization, with dedicated resources and good programs coming out already,” Kyle says.
“There are a lot of companies moving toward digitalization and it is really the technology and customer that is driving it. We need to produce these types of products to help our customers succeed. If you are not investing in digitalization, then you are going to be left behind,” Pat explains.
The topic of digitalization has long been embraced by Neles, who offer digital condition monitoring through their range of positioners, such as the Neles™ NDX new generation smart positioner that was launched in 2016. The NDX is a high capacity positioner which is simple to install, easy to commission and intuitive to use. It delivers on-line, performance and communication diagnostics and can be fitted to all valve brands and industry areas.
Another product that has been released through Neles’ service group that has taken the company to the next level in digitalization is the Expertune PlantTriage software. “Our Expertune PlantTriage software allows us to go into these plants and analyze all the valves, making sure they are sized correctly and performing the way they should be. We do not just look at Neles valves in the plant – we look at all the valves – this is kind of an advanced diagnostic system to look at the whole plant and how it is running,” explains Kyle. “Customers nowadays are really looking to have their plants running as efficiently as possible. When you have undersized or oversized valves in your line, you might not be getting the right yield or optimal performance from your process. The engineers and process experts that work at these companies are tasked with the job to optimize their processes, and when you have incorrect valve types or incorrectly-sized valves, that can affect the ability to truly optimize their processes."
Pat adds: “Not only process efficiency, but also personnel efficiencies, because most end users in the industries that we serve, have gone through automation programs to improve these efficiencies and they do not have the personnel capacity that they once had years ago. The Expertune system helps them locate bad actors when it comes to control valve products in their process and it saves them time and money.”
A significant part of Neles’ valve business is done with EPC companies (Engineering, Procurement, & Construction), who are involved in projects within the chemical, petrochemical, refining, and pulp & paper industries. During the EPC project sales phase, there is an extensive exchange of valve and engineering data between the EPC’s and Neles. The timing between the budgetary and final quotation phases can be quite short, leaving both the EPC and Neles, a limited period of time to work on the final specifications and quotation information. This typically requires a lot of manual work to get the data from the EPC’s formats into Neles’ language and then back to the EPC, as well as having to analyze many revised specifications, which are typically changed during the budgetary to final quotation phases. Thanks to our digitalization teams, we will have a new digital project room control room tool, which will enable us to considerably speed up the data exchange with the EPC’s. We are working very closely with the EPC’s on the development of this tool, and they certainly see the benefits of this tool for their projects.
Services that exceed expectations
Neles has made it their personal business to make sure that their customers’ businesses run smoothly. The company’s modular portfolio enables them to create tailor-made valve and automation system solutions that help their customers meet their business objectives.
Today’s market demands that customers continuously look to improve their business efficiency. Neles service solutions have been designed to help meet this goal by delivering comprehensive, business-result-enhancing and long-term solutions. Neles views service as key to their growth in the industry and plans to invest long-term in relationships with their most important customers and suppliers. Creating a separate business line that focuses solely on the services aspect has allowed the company to be able to better understand the requirements of their customers and tailor service solutions to their specific needs. This also ensures that customers are not limited to Neles’ installed bases and instead allows the company to help improve customer profitability by providing them the necessary services, whether the problem is on a Neles device or not. The company is able to offer solutions for other valves and automation systems that are linked with Neles components.
The company also prides itself on providing a service capacity throughout the lifetime of their valves, delivering on-going support to ensure customers will realize maximum performance from their investment.
Making the big difference for the customer
“A big mistake that is made in the valve industry is to develop new products or new designs that are not necessarily what the customer wants. If you speak with a customer and you ask what their needs are and work closely with them, then it is a joint cooperation and you a better chance of that product or new design, being more successful because it is fulfilling a need. You are also able to rely on some of that industry knowledge base to help develop the best product for the process,” says Kyle.
At the heart of Neles is the unending drive to make the big difference for their customers. What makes that possible is decades of accumulated knowledge, deeply committed people and industry leading solutions. Continually remaining loyal to their founding values while reaching forward to the future, Neles recognizes the importance of building and maintaining customer relationships. The company invests heavily in forging, growing and maintaining long-term customer bonds through open and honest communication and trust, while also fostering new partnerships.
Recognizing that their customers are always evolving, Neles has been making valiant efforts to ensure they are the customer’s partner of choice by investing in further developing their products and services. Becoming an industry leading source of control valve expertise, Neles recognizes the value in filling the knowledge gap and assisting customers with quality information they can rely on. Ensuring products and services are easy to understand, easy to use and offering needs based services has allowed Neles to grow with their customer base to improve functionality and efficiency.
Investing in the future
While providing their customers with world-leading products and services built on technological excellence, experience and the highest safety standards, Neles continues to invest heavily in its global footprint and has experienced significant growth in the past decade. Neles’ valve operations network is geographically widespread and includes world-class valve production facilities located in Finland, Germany, China, South Korea, India, Brazil and the United States. Over the last few years, Neles has expanded and developed its valve production facilities and now its extensive flow control services offering covers business solutions and services that optimize equipment use and cost of ownership.
Text by Sarah Bradley.
Article originally published at Valve World Americas August 2018 Magazine.
The text has been up-dated in July 2020, due to company name change to Neles.