Eight years ago, CryoGas International – now gasworld US – published an article titled ‘The Value of an Integrated Cryogenic Metering Solution’ by Ken Nugent, Managing Director of Turbines, Inc. The Seneca, South Carolina-based company designs and manufactures liquid, gas and cryogenic turbine flow meters, electronic monitors, accessories, and replacement parts. To catch up on Turbines, Inc.’s recent developments, and where its products are being deployed, gasworld US caught up with Ken.
For readers who may not be familiar with Turbines, Inc., can you tell us a little more about the company, the role it plays in cryogenic metering, and how it got to where it is today?
Ken Nugent, Managing Director of Turbines, Inc. (KN): Turbines, Inc. designs and manufactures reliable, competitively priced liquid, gas and cryogenic turbine flow meters, electronic monitors, accessories, and replacement parts. Founded in 1975, we have earned an industry-leading reputation for outstanding customer service. As I stated in my article in 2013, the goal is to provide a solid, efficient, and most importantly, accurate investment, while also reducing the use of one resource that cannot be manufactured – time. Our flow metering specialists are always available to assist clients determine the best solution for their particular application.
At Turbines, Inc., our people have always been our best assets. Andrew Carnegie once stated, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.” Over the past eight years, our team has worked tirelessly to improve its processes to produce a better product and service. The team’s combined efforts have yielded enhanced partnerships with our clients that continue to grow on a daily basis. Engineering continues to be at the forefront of the operation with both sustaining engineering as well as new product research and development. Technical Support and Field Service have increased both their capabilities as well as availability and continue to be integral components of our dedication to customer service. In-house calibration allow our team to characterize our measurement device’s performance and continues to be the ultimate quality check. Finally, manufacturing remains the foundation of the operation with its tool and die capabilities combined with its custom welding skill set.
Can you tell us about some of your standout moments, and why these are so significant to you?
KN: Certainly, I have fond memories of the new products we have developed. I’m also reminded of countless business relationships that began over yesterday’s application issue and remain intact today as we work towards solving tomorrow’s obstacles. However, if there was one moment or movement that resonates the most it would be the evolution of collaboration. When I first started in this field approximately 40 years ago, issues were solved in silos.
Today, through technological advancements and the resources detailed above at our disposal, we continue to expand the depth of our product lines and services through the partnerships that have been in place now spanning over four decades. Through continued collaboration and existing partnerships, we are proud to assist in transforming ideas into functional designs.
What trends have you experienced in the industrial gases market so far this year? What trends are you seeing?
KN: It is certainly an interesting time in the industrial gases market. On one hand, we are unfortunately experiencing a global pandemic in which the supply and delivery of liquid oxygen is critical. On the other hand, the world is at the forefront of its unparalleled pursuit of green and carbon-free energy. Look no further than the advancements of hydrogen. Not only is it a great vector of clean energy, but hydrogen is also used as a reagent that is used in many industrial, manufacturing and metallurgy processes. Considering such valuable commodities, accurate and efficient cryogenic measurement is a necessity. With time and resources being of utmost importance at this critical juncture in time, asset preservation, time management efficiencies, continual innovative improvements, how service is delivered, and ongoing research and development are paramount in today’s ever changing, global environment. As Covid-19 has taught us, the convenience of tomorrow is never guaranteed. Today must be maximized. Walt Disney said it best, “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
With supply chains suffering on many fronts, asset preservation is one trend currently utilized within cryogenic measurement. One of the primary assets on a cryogenic liquid transport trailer is the cryogenic pump. Operating the pump within the suggested temperature and pressure ratings is paramount for the pump to survive or exceed its expected life span. Turbines, Inc.’s complete delivery system totalizer programming now offers innovative pump cavitation detection. Should pressure ratings not be achieved or exceeded, then power to the pump is disabled. In addition to pressure protection, state-of-the-art dual temperature is available that not only takes a reading of the product temperature but also the pump housing temperature. Once the desired pump housing temperature is achieved, power to the pump is enabled through the pump control option. This feature legitimizes the pump cooldown process and greatly assists in asset preservation.
Technological advances have equipped the totalizers to be far more than originally intended. What once was engineered to display delivery total, the Turbines, Inc. totalizer now offers Point-of-Sale (POS) capabilities, digital billing, touchscreen capabilities for more efficient programming, and built-in tutorials rather than hard copy user manuals. While Turbines, Inc. cannot manufacture time, we can absolutely build equipment that requires less time.
Another trend in the industrial gases market is how service is delivered. With Turbines, Inc. equipment installed on various assets on all major continents, consistent customer support is more difficult than it has ever been. Again, through technological advancement and continued partnerships, Turbines, Inc. now offers video-based tutorials as well as customized on-site training that is tailored around the staff’s knowledge and experience. Fortunately, Turbines Inc. is privately held by two old-school gentlemen that do not view inventory as a four-letter word. To better support its customers, Turbines, Inc. has strategically increased its inventory, staffing and other pivotal resources to withstand the demands Covid-19 has placed on the industrial gases market. Once again, the partnerships in place provide a solid framework that prioritizes vision clarity, consistent communication, mutual respect, and collective responsibility for the betterment of all parties involved.
What is Turbines, Inc. currently focused on?
KN: Years back, the TI team began collecting bulk transport models representing clients that have entrusted us with their respective cryogenic measurement needs. On one hand, each of the transport models indicates the durability and reliability of the equipment our team has manufactured, installed, serviced, and calibrated. On the other hand, each symbolizes the longevity of a multitude of business partnerships that makes the troubles of the daily grind worth the journey. Fast forward to today, Turbines, Inc. is proud to announce the launching of its next generation CDS2000 totalizer. Up until the late 1970s, mechanical registers ruled. In the early 1980s, with the advent of the LED 7-segment display, the digital era entered the truck metering arena. While full color displays and touchscreen capabilities have been available for some time, additional research and testing was required to ensure the technological advances could withstand the most extreme environments cryogenic totalizers are required to operate within.
The CDS2000 Complete Delivery System is a thoroughly engineered electronic totalizing system that incorporates the latest technology and provides the most comprehensive features available to the industry. The CDS2000 is another idea to reality project that is a direct result of our established partnerships. And thus, while new products and processes will always be in our vision, our focus will steadfastly remain on building partnerships so today’s dilemmas can become tomorrow’s solutions.
What’s next for Turbines, Inc.?
KN: No matter how much things change, they stay the same in that it will always be about taking care of the customer. As we have learned over the course of the past year through Covid-19, even the best laid plans go astray. Technological advances continue to drive much of our research and development. We have held several brain storming sessions centered around autonomous vehicle technology. In addition, there are ongoing discussions in which our cryogenic measurement components are immersed within these automated systems. Certainly, the manner in which we deliver service will continue to evolve. Yet ultimately, given our full complement of staff – engineering, manufacturing, IT – everything is possible. Like Walt Disney’s concept of Imagineering, we at Turbines, Inc. are curious as well. We are experienced. We have know-how. We have resources. And we are fortunate to be aligned with a phenomenal customer base whose needs demand solutions. I am proud of the teamwork we have established and look forward to building upon our momentum for decades to come.