We had Doyle Taylor, CEO of Monico, on the show to talk about the application of technology to industrial applications and how this can increase productivity, extend the life of equipment, and make companies more efficient in their operations.
Please excuse any typos in this hasty transcript.
Matt Register: Hey guys, welcome back to the show, Texas Business Radio. Texasbusinessradio.com is the web site. I’m your host Matt Register, here as always with Jay Curry. And we’re talking, we’re talking to owners of very, very niche businesses today. God bless America. There are a million ways to make a living in the United States and we love bringing these guys in to do something for some tiny little corner of the world. But guess what? There’s margin in niche. What do you think Jay?
Jay Curry: I think it’s huge. And I think it’s fun. And I think it’s, it’s what America is all about. We’ve got a great example here. This is a niche business that takes a lot of smarts to put it together, pull it off. It’s a great example of how you can make it in America.
Matt Register: Yeah, no doubt. Doyle Taylor is the President and CEO of Monico. Doyle welcome to the show sir.
Doyle Taylor: Thank you.
Matt Register: So tell me about Monico. Who do you, what do you do? Who do you do it to?
Doyle Taylor: Today Monico is an industrial engine integration specialists. We specialize in large industrial engines and basically put those engines on customer’s networks. Where they can remotely monitor them easily.
Matt Register: Well and you know, we were talking during the break and I want to try to explain this in a way everybody can understand it. You know bottom line is that the companies have invested in very, very large engines, compressors, things like that. Right? That are in remote locations. They are something that they don’t have a full time human sitting there watching this but they need data. Data can give them information that will help them predict when maintenance is needed. Right? When something’s about to fail. What are some of the other things that they’re measuring off of this?
Doyle Taylor: When we first started there was almost an operator per engine. Now they’re lucky if they have an operator for every three or four stations and handling 15 pieces of equipment. So remotely understanding exactly what’s happening with these engines on a, on a second by second basis and being able to use that information is very critical in their operations. Now they simply don’t have the people.
Jay Curry: So it’s a little bit like the cars today. They know what’s going on in that car all the time. You’re collecting that data for equipment out in the field and presenting it to a controller. Who now can watch a whole field’s worth of equipment all over the place.
Doyle Taylor: That’s absolutely correct and down to the same kind of detail level that you do in your automobile.
Matt Register: Well and you know we were talking during the break. You gave us the example of, you know, a lot of the times these compressors were run off of the natural gas that’s going through the pipes. Right? And, and if some of that, you know, fuel is dirty. Right? It’s going to require more voltage for the spark plugs to fire. Right? So being able to monitor that and being able to tell, tells you hey, we need to go service this piece of equipment. Right? It’s having some, some dirty fuel go through it or other things like that. So it saves down time, it saves you know maintenance costs and everything else. Right?
Doyle Taylor: Absolutely. These engines are instrumented with much more, many more sensors than your automobile is. So that you can see those and see the long term trends. So that you can predict when you need to perform that maintenance.
Jay Curry: So why…
Doyle Taylor: Do it in a scheduled fashion instead of an unscheduled shutdown.
Matt Register: Sure.
Jay Curry: One of the delineations though is that you are focused on the equipment when it needs action. Not what it’s doing, you know how much gas it’s pumping or anything. You’re, you’re really there to make sure that these very expensive hunks of equipment are maintained.
Doyle Taylor: Absolutely. But actually we are implementing something right now that will be more towards the operational efficiency side as well as the condition monitoring side.
Jay Curry: Why not do both?
Doyle Taylor: Exactly.
Matt Register: Now, you know, your past products… And again, your company is a company that develops and designs a product and then and then goes out and sells this to the marketplace. So, you know, this, in the past it hasn’t been an engineering company. That has somewhat changed with the invention or the need for you to have a second generation, third generation product. Right?
Doyle Taylor: Exactly. We needed more computing power and more power overall. So we ended up having to design our own computer. That basically will be, you know, water tight, dust tight, throw it up against the wall, very rugged but yet, still do five and a half billion calculations per second.
Matt Register: Well this is interesting, cause, you know, the trend in the industry is to push everything up to the cloud. I don’t know how many guests we’ve had in here.
Jay Curry: Oh, that the, yeah, trend.
Matt Register: Everything is being pushed up to the cloud. All the computing power, all of the, you know, calculation power is being pushed up to the servers in the cloud. But there are times where some of those calculations need to be done as close to the equipment as possible. And as fast as possible and not worry about connectivity issues and other things. You’re going that direction. You’re going the opposite direction as the rest of the market. Talk to me a little bit about that.
Doyle Taylor: Absolutely. You know, connection issues and simply the cost of transmitting huge amounts of data. We’re already a integral system, or intimately connected to the control systems. So if we can do some of that analytic’s at the edge of the network, we can make immediate, real time recommendations to the control system to save that piece of equipment or to schedule maintenance in a real time fashion.
Matt Register: But some of the dangers of sending in all the way to the cloud for those type of decisions. Talked to, what are some of the dangers of doing that?
Doyle Taylor: Most of these systems are closed industrial networks and they never touch the Internet. They’re completely closed systems. So the idea of sending data through the Internet to the cloud…(coughing)
Matt Register: Is problematic. Right? I mean it causes them some issues. They don’t want to let go of the security of that data. Is that right?
Doyle Taylor: It’s all about cyber security. Absolutely.
Jay Curry: Now once you open it up… it’s open, you know. And whether you want to believe it or not somebody will figure out how to get in there. And then you’ve got a problem.
Doyle Taylor: Every security conference I go to there’s only two types of networks. Those that have been hacked and those that you don’t know have been hacked.
Jay Curry: Yeah. I love it. That’s so true.
Doyle Taylor: And, and again this product was designed from the ground up as a cyber security device for industrial control systems. Which references another term and that’s the industrial Internet of Things.
Matt Register: Sure.
Doyle Taylor: IOT.
Jay Curry: Big term coming out.
Doyle Taylor: Were the industrial portion of IOT.
Matt Register: Well and that’s a tremendous amount of data coming out off this equipment. Right? I mean it’s real time streams of data that is coming out of multiple, multiple sensors. Right? And you’ve got to be able to do the calculations. Show the calculations to the appropriate person right there on site and then send the rest of that data or a portion of that data up to the cloud to be able to do the rest of it. Right?
Doyle Taylor: Absolutely. We’re sending almost all of the data to the cloud. But we’re also going to be doing analytics. Not to provide to the operator but to provide recommendations directly to the control system in real time. So in one example, we’re actually doing compressor monitoring and telling the control PLC how it can increase or decrease the speed efficiently and safely. So that’s a good example of what we’re doing with analytics.
Jay Curry: And the time that you can save in that, from a person getting involved versus electronics. And you’re telling the electronics turn it on for third, third of a second verses a manual person.
Doyle Taylor: This is in milliseconds.
Jay Curry: Yeah. That could be the difference between an explosion and not.
Doyle Taylor: Explosion or a piece of equipment that costs many hundreds of thousands of dollars…
Jay Curry: Going off the tracks.
Doyle Taylor: Experiencing severe damage.
Jay Curry: Right.
Matt Register: Well and companies are certainly willing to pay to avoid that. I mean it’s insurance for them. Right?
Jay Curry: Oh, big time.
Matt Register: To insure that, that big piece of equipment isn’t going to go down. Talk to me about the culture of your company. And how, when you guys have developed your own engineering team. I mean you went from, you know, hey we’re going to outsource our engineering to develop us a product. And then we’re going to go sell that until, until, you know, that product runs its course. Right? To the point that you are an R&D company. You have, you have your own engineering team. Talk to me a little bit about that decision.
Doyle Taylor: Well, that decision was a very expensive decision, to develop my own team. But we have very specialized needs and we went to the market. And we didn’t find what we needed. And so we decided we had to develop it ourselves. And me and my wife have invested, you know, a lot of money in becoming a development company for very specialized products.
Matt Register: No, it makes all the sense in the world. And look, hats off to you. I mean this is a little corner of the world and there is margin in niche. Isn’t there Jay?
Jay Curry: Oh. He’s done a great job. And I think the future of this, is he’s on the edge, so to speak. Right?
Doyle Taylor: Edge analytics.
Jay Curry: That’s right.
Doyle Taylor: Cyber security.
Matt Register: Nope, that’s exactly it. Doyle Taylor, President and CEO of Monico. Doyle thank you very much for joining us.
Doyle Taylor: Thank you for the time, appreciate it.
Jay Curry: Great story.
Matt Register: All right. And guys there’s no reason to take notes. We’re going to have links to all of these guys. The web site is monicoinc.com, monicoinc.com. We’re going to have that link right there from the front page of Texasbusinessradio.com. Go visit it. Guys, we are out of time. We got to go pay some bills. We’ll be back right after this. Don’t go anywhere.
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In addition to hosting "Texas Business Radio," Matt is an investment banker and serial entrepreneur from Montgomery, Texas. He is the owner of RREA Media and Register Real Estate Advisors and a Managing Director and Principal at Corporate Finance Associates. He has a BS from the United States Military Academy at West Point and an MBA from Rice University in Houston. You can read more about Matt HERE.