MEET IAN REID, CEO OF PROXISENSE
Ian Reid joined PrOXisense in March 2019, but is no stranger to the sensing and analytics industry. We asked Ian for his opinions on the company now and also where it can go in the future.
So Ian, you joined PrOXisense as CEO earlier this year. Did you know about us already? And why did you make the decision to come aboard?
Yes, I was familiar with PrOXisense. I had worked with some of the current team in the past, so had been keeping an eye on the company’s development and was impressed with the direction it was taking.
There are a number of benefits that tempted me to come on board. It’s a hi-tech venture capital-backed start-up, spun out of Oxford University and very much part of that world renowned ecosystem – these are a few major attractions for starters.
Once you add in the technology from a world-leader in the field and also market engagement with the ‘Who’s Who’ of global engineering blue-chips – what’s not to like?
For me personally, the real excitement is the opportunity to bring relevant technical and end applications experience to bear on the challenge of getting high value offerings to market across a range of significant industry sectors, delivering growth and creating value.
Can you describe the market sectors that PrOXisense currently operates in? And can you define their needs?
Currently, our offerings portfolio contains eddy-current based turbine blade tip timing and tip clearance sensing and data acquisition systems.
These are applicable to turbo-mechanical systems such as aerospace propulsion systems and steam or gas turbine power generation. There are also, to name just a few, applications in the fields of turbochargers and impeller-based pumps.
These industries have complex supply chains and such blade measurement is vital for R&D, commissioning, through to in-service activities. Accuracy, reliability, tolerance to harsh and noisy environments are key, but above all customers want agile, flexible, innovative partners who are knowledgeable about and empathetic to the challenges of their industries. I believe that’s where PrOXisense can make a difference.
Our portfolio also contains a novel thermal product sensing technology, which allows us to monitor changes of composition of various admixtures in solid, liquid and gas form. This is generating considerable excitement for those who are interested in the major challenge of in-service monitoring of oil for degradation, contamination and ferrous and non-ferrous debris.
Reproducible, reliable, fast, accurate, real-time measurements are key requirements. The challenge for one sensor to be able to do the complete job is significant but the rewards are potentially high. Oil manufacturers, OEMs and operators of assets with anything from gearboxes in tractors to offshore wind turbines want to be able to do this; the combination of such oil monitoring with vibrational monitoring is the Holy Grail for the offshore wind energy business.
Where do you see the current strengths of the company?
Prior to PrOXisense, I led CENSIS, the Scottish Innovation Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems, which drove economic benefit through the application of sensing technologies (many new out of university research labs) to real world industrial problems.
Our most successful industry partners were those that had novel sensing technologies, understood the operation of those sensors in their target environments, and could analyse and interpret the data gathered in the context of the end application. PrOXisense has all those key elements, with unique sensing technology and a growing engineering and BD team that have specific end applications knowledge and transferable skills to work across new industries in partnership with our established customer base.
What about the future, where do you see opportunities for growth?
As we productise our sensors and data acquisition systems, we are working closely with our customers to start exploiting the measurement data streams.
We have already engaged a key supply partner to help us take the next logical step to acquire and develop the data analytics to go beyond an asset health monitoring to a predictive maintenance type offering. We hope to be in a position over the next 6 months to announce a strategic partnership with a key customer in just this area.
We are also working on partnerships to incorporate other types of sensing data streams into our offering, such as vibrational sensors. Ultimately, we want to go beyond predictive maintenance, to help OEM customers and operators of high value assets, that are creating new and exciting “manu-service” businesses, not only to maintain but also to improve asset performance: efficiency, economy and environmental. This will be extendable to manufacturing facilities and could include pharmaceutical production and supply systems – we will be making an announcement of a new project in this area shortly, where the thermal product sensing technique will be applied to pharmaceutical product verification.
So you are saying PrOXisense is ‘one to watch’?
Most definitely. Our team is doubling in the next couple of months, so we have moved to a larger office where we are co-locating our light engineering and test activities with the main team. The next 12 months are going to be full of surprises.
Ian Reid is CEO of PrOXisense.
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