Case study roper pump
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  • 1. Case Study Roper Pump and Product Development<br />My case study is on a company named Roper Pump. It deals with the product development of their Industrial Pumps and Power-Sections dealing with respect to oil and gas drilling. To give a quick description of this Company and what its product lines consist of I will quote from their webpage entitled “About Us.” “Since 1857, the Roper Pump Company name has become synonymous with quality and dependable service. At Roper, we’ve built our worldwide reputation on reliability. We provide global sales, service, and support through our valuable network of distributors, representatives, and service companies. Today, Roper Pump is recognized worldwide as a leading supplier of industrial pumps including helical gear pumps, progressing cavity pumps, triple screw pumps, rotary lobe pumps, pumping systems and solutions. As an ISO 9001:2000 certified designer and manufacturer, Roper Pump Company is setting the standard for premium quality products.” (Roper Pump) This sums up the Company in a way that gives it more justice than I could. They also continue to achieve and set new standards for engineering and design using broad and innovative solutions.<br />Product development as in Roper Pumps case and many other organizations is the operation of creating new products or approving upon old ones to maximize profits. Innovation is the name of the product development game. Economically speaking you have a supply and demand curve for everything. In Roper’s case, the supply and demand graph is represented by the market of industrial pumps and Power-Sections. That being said there is a set demand for industrial pump motors and Power -Sections is represented by dollars allocated in the market. The supply is divided amongst other industrial pumps and Power-Sections made by other <br />suppliers of the same goods. Now again each industrial pump and Power-Section manufacturer has a share of some of the supply curve or market. This is due to choices and preferences made by the demanding organizations. The demand curve for the market is drawn by these organizations and the amount they have to produce for their market. For a company like Roper Pump to increase revenue and market shares within their market they must move closer to where the supply curve and the demand curve intersect. Roper Pump thus must increase their market share or the supply of their products market wide relative to the demand in the market. By increasing their share with product developments Ropers’ competitor’s experience a reciprocal effect on their share or the market causing product development on their end. Put simply the whole goal for spending funds and implementing product development is to increase revenues within a respective industry because the only way to move to the market equilibrium, which in this case is the overall money in the industrial pump market, they must do so by either better technology within the organization or innovations. This allows them to create of generate a short run first mover advantage over the competition in that product field, while as already stated, generating profits and allow the company to create Economies of Scale. Basic but important to understanding why companies like Roper Pump commit time and money to product development and the steps that make it up. <br />Classical and Neo-Product Development. In simple terms, the operation that generates new ideas and eventually products increases revenues and drives innovation Worldwide. The goal of product development also is to address needs and solutions to problems because the reason for buying either Business to Business or Consumer to Business is to fulfill a need. This area of operations generates most of the revenues for a company as said before. Product <br />Development can also payoff big in profits because an organization is, if the product developed is either new or an improvement on existing products in the market, a step ahead of their competition. Now any new developments put them that much further ahead and increase their profits and investments from stockholders in the market. This means you have to have steps that take ideas and filters the bad ones out before they hit the market. This process starts in the idea stage. This is where a company brainstorms and throws around ideas on improving or implementing new products to bring to market. This is followed by the company then picking ideas that sound like possible investments and seeing how they stand up to current capabilities of developing this idea. If ideas can make it through this stage they then go to the idea validation or the stage where customer’s needs for the product are taken into consideration and where specifications are drawn or produced. Specifications are made to see what the idea will be like and if it might have any noticeable flaws before production. If this stage goes well then the customers are presented with the idea again and if they accept then you take it to the manufacturing and production validation stage. If you are able to produce it and meet projected demands, with current resources, you implement the product into production and launch it into the market. This filtering process of new products ends with the evaluation of the final good or service. You will answer two major questions in this final stage, how it is currently doing compared with what it was expected to do, pass versus fail? Understanding this process means the understanding of the process and actual substance of what goes into product development.<br />I interviewed with Roper Pump’s Joseph Carl Kalchbrenner Sr., Manager of Sub Surface Oil Engineering and Expert for Elastomer Materials at Roper Pumps, about the Power-Sections operations and their continual product development. What is the Operation in technical terms? <br />The development and continuous improvement of elastomeric materials and new cost efficient production methods used in the application of drilling for oil and gas, specifically the stator materials in power-sections, of an oil drilling string. By development and continuous improvement you mean? I mean the continuous improvement and development of, in this operation, the stator materials in power-sections for oil drilling. What exactly are power sections of and oil drilling string? Another name is a mud motor or a drilling motor. They Progressive Cavity Positive Displacement Pump placed in a drill string that provides added power to a bit while drilling. It uses drilling fluid to create eccentric, or not centered, motion in the motor and transmission to concentric or centered power to the drill bit. Fluid is transferred through progress along a series of small sequential fixed shape cavities as the motor and transmission turn the pumps rotor. The rotor is a medal piece that connects at one end to the transmission and to the drill bit on the other. The rotor is held in place by a tightly sealed rubber stator, which has the same directional helical pattern. The fluid is transferred between the stator material and the cavities in the rotor to create added power. Depending on how you are drilling, through what, and at what angle the power section will change to maximize its output. To get more power/horsepower for example we increase the number of lobes and the length of the power section. What are the input/outputs involved? Inputs/outputs are broken up into two main areas: The Lab and The Field. The Lab is where real world simulations are proposed, modeled, and predictions are made. The lab also is where manufacturing output is monitored and tracked to control product quality. The Field is where operating conditions and performance data are obtained to track, and understand the performance envelop of the satisfactory operation of a specific elastomer and design. What happens in the operation to change input to outputs then? <br />Typically outputs are dictated by requirements and demands from the Field. Often, performance envelops are not fully understood or clearly delineated, leaving holes and grey areas of knowledge which need to be studied with a Gap Analysis. Once new outputs are defined, new inputs are then determined by following a set of subject matter expert algorithms, which will be simulated in The Lab. What is an Organizational Chart in the Operation like? A Subject Matter Expert is the key person and lead. Direct line reports are engineers and technician connected with the Lab. Dotted line reports are Field Service Sales, Operations Quality Control, and Production Management. How is this Operation Managed? Data is collected at all stages of production and in simulation experiments in The Lab. This data is tracked and trend charts are plotted to develop control limits on discrete segments of production. Specific sets of data are obtained on newly developed materials, in The Lab. This data is compared and contrasted to historical, production, lab and field data, and predictions are cast from these comparisons which determine if these may change in the field performance envelop. What are the performance measures that apply and are used? Performance measures are broken up into two primary areas, The Field and Production. The most important measures are Field performance. Customer satisfaction is highly dependent on successful completion of a drilling job. This is a discrete unit of field operation. Power-sections which fail half way through this discrete unit of operation are unsuccessful, and not desirable by the customer. A good measure is in the total number of complete drilling jobs handled by the material without change over to a replacement. Measures for production ultimately are bottom-line the durability of the material and cost. What methods are used to then improve the operation to meet the performance? Both those in the Field and those used in Production? First method is the understanding and Body of Knowledge in Rubber <br />Chemistry and Application Physics. A Subject Matter Expert uses a set of ASTM approved and some “seat-of-the-pants” testing methodologies and apparatus’, which model or can model with some statistical significance, real world field requirements. These include the operation within a broad temperature, and pressure spectrum. We run tests also with the materials in aggressive and corrosive gases and liquid combinations, while simultaneously the component being tested is cycled dynamically. By this simulation in the Lab, with the high stresses and strains and the also at high frequencies of cycling we see an indication of how we expect our material to respond on the job. <br />Roper Pump Co. performs the operation of product development through continual R&D from the field to the lab. They send Joseph Carl Kalchbrenner Sr., as the Manager of Sub Surface Oil Engineering and Expert for Elastomer Materials for Roper Pump Co., to industrial tech fairs, rubber conferences, and other industrial events. Not all these events directly apply to Roper Pump Co.’s business but they can sometimes help provide ideas for cutting costs or new technologies or compounds that could be transferable and increase product quality and durability. Joseph Carl Kalchbrenner Sr. will also go out to suppliers to if the quality of the elastomeric materials, rubber, becomes inconsistent or just to drop in. This check on quality performance is done to see if they are mixing the rubber at correct levels with correct mixing component levels. Or to see the hired out suppliers to give them a new compound for production implementation. There are many other things that Roper Pump Co. does to perform the product development operation, which have been already addressed in the interview. <br />What I have learned from Roper Pump Co.’s product development and R&D operation with respect to power sections of a drilling string is that they like any must always do product development. Sometimes harder than others depending on the market competition and pressures to sell and make more money to keep people employed and shareholder happy. This is why industry must continue to strive, to develop new products. It’s Darwinian, in a way, but to be truly strong to survive industry must innovate. <br />About the author: Joey is a junior at USC-Upstate South Carolina, in the Business College. He is studying Business Operations, Finance, and Marketing. You can learn more about Joey at: http://www.linkedin.com/in/joeyck<br />