Because of the nature of our business – and because we find it so fascinating – we spend quite a lot of time talking to manufacturers about what they are really trying to achieve. One of the topics that often comes up is the desire to be the best, the supplier of choice, or the benchmark in their marketplace. It’s an aspiration we understand.
Such discussions prompt me to think about why certain brands become household names and how a company gets to the point where its name is instantly associated with quality, a point at which the brand essentially becomes the product.
With consumer goods cosmetic appeal is extremely important and may even win out over performance, but in the sectors our customers work in this is rarely the case. Here, meeting expectations relies on making a product that performs well at a competitive price, and doing so consistently. So the customer knows that every batch will be a good one and each delivery will perform just as effectively as the last.
In the processing industries, getting the best product quality depends on developing a specification that delivers the necessary performance, but it’s equally important to always meet that specification.
One of the things that customers tell us they like about continuous, real-time process monitoring – in our case of particle size – is that it enables you to constantly observe the state of your product and achieve much steadier plant operation. Many use real-time data to drive automated process control, but even in a manual mode it prompts smaller, less frequent operational ‘tweaks’. Essentially, real-time measurement makes it easier to run the plant steadily at an optimal point and get really consistent product quality: no out-of-specification material and no rejected batches; no waste and no re-work.
For some of our clients real-time particle sizing has opened up, or maintained, premium markets that they simply couldn’t access without it. Others can now ship in tankers rather than bags again because of greater buyer confidence.
Helping manufacturers to reach new levels of performance in this way gives us a real buzz since we like to see just what the technology can deliver, so if you have challenging product quality issues you’d like some help with, please get in touch. If there are other aspects of on-line measurement you’d like to cover then we really want to hear about those too.