News and information for the worldwide dredging industry

Jay Wise Advises Contractors to Maintain Electronics on Dredges

Jay Wise at the Kruse Integration booth at the WEDA meeting in Toronto in June.

Jay Wise at the Kruse Integration booth at the WEDA meeting in Toronto in June.

Email from Jay Wise on April 28:

ATTENTION... KRUSE CONTROLS has recently changed its name and is now doing business as KRUSE INTEGRATION.

The automation world is a continually shifting landscape. “Controls” is no longer synonymous with “Automation.” Today, automation systems include a variety of sub-systems, including controls, information technologies and much more.

Similarly, we at Kruse Controls believe our name no longer accurately conveys our focus within the automation world.

We have evolved to focus on numerous sectors within the automation world. Among these are manufacturing control systems, information technologies, dredging automation, security systems, support systems and much more.

KRUSE INTEGRATION is an umbrella that bridges these divisions and sectors, recognizing that our efforts and expertise span the entire automation landscape.

As of now, you can still contact us using our existing email addresses, but we ask that you update your records and start using our new domain @kruseintegration. com immediately. Our address and phone numbers remain unchanged.

For more information on KRUSE INTEGRATION, please visit our new website at www.kruseintegration.com.

After sending the above email to everyone on his contact list in April, Jay Wise is waiting patiently for everyone to update their address books with his new company name. He talked to IDR in his Kruse Integration booth at the WEDA Summit and Expo in Toronto in June about the new name and how dredging contractors can increase uptime.

He found that the attendees were mostly middle and upper management, so instead of technical training, he was focusing on convincing managers to maintain the electronics on their dredges as religiously as they maintain the mechanical systems.

“I spend time in the field dealing with dredging contractors, and bring expertise from other industries, such as food and beverage or automotive,” he said. Those industries, which depend on their automation systems, are extremely careful of maintenance and repair of those systems, he said.

“They have tech support on the staff that understands electronics,” Wise said.

“The dredging industry is not maintaining electronics as they do the rest of the dredge,” he said.

What Wise finds with dredging contractors is that they keep spares for all mechanical processes, but ignore their instrumentation equipment. They don’t do preventive maintenance on electronics; they don’t replace transmitters or computers, and “this affects downtime more than a blown hose,” he said. He has found water damage, ice in a junction box, corrosion in junctions that could have been avoided if someone had been maintaining these systems on a regular basis.

He realizes that the dredging industry is not an attractive industry for electronics. “The dredging industry just isn’t sexy enough to appeal to most electrical engineers or technicians. So it’s hard to maintain skilled staff for PLC program modifications, PC upgrades, instrumentation calibration and wiring issues,” Wise said.

“If I could add up the cost of maintaining electronics, GPS, computers and instrumentation, (many) would have 20 percent more uptime,” he said. With this kind of benefit, “why not keep a guy who can fix transmitters and keep the system in good repair?” he said.

“Electrical guys leave” to go to more challenging industries, he said. His company is leading the dredge industry to provide this kind of repair.

He recently gave a workshop to dredging managers about maintenance of their electrical and electronic systems.

“The audience was very receptive towards it and wanted to know more about it,” he said.

He offers a quarterly maintenance service, including systems that track downtime and the reasons for the downtime that soon pay for themselves. Wise advises that the electrical drawing packages be stored aboard each dredge, so that a technician will have access to them.

Kruse Integration changed the way automation systems worked in the dredging industry several decades ago when Jay Wise and Mike Sassano began applying off-the-shelf software and systems common in other automated industries to dredging applications. With their hands-on service and low overhead, they were readily accepted in the industry, especially in the aggregate dredging sector, where integrating the operation of a dredge with the shore-based processing equipment increased production.

Wise designed and installed systems for each individual operation, and he and other engineers were on hand to solve problems both by visiting the sites, and by viewing real-time operation of the systems on their own computers in the Baltimore area. The nature of the job is such that he doesn’t need an office or storage area, and he and the other engineers work from home on their own computers.

The change in the company name and focus, to “integration” rather than “controls” is a transition that matches changes in the industry, which has become more sophisticated and cognizant of large and small improvements that have a big effect on production and profits.

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