GEIP SHOPS SMART
GE Intelligent Platforms (GEIP) has completed the acquisition of SmartSignal, a privately held analytics software company based in Lisle, Ill. SmartSignal specializes in providing remote monitoring and diagnostics solutions to the power generation, oil and gas, and other industrial sectors.
SmartSignal provides predictive diagnostic software and monitoring services. The company has more than 40 product and technology patents and has won more than 25 awards for product excellence.
SmartSignal detects and identifies abnormal equipment behavior and provides exception-based notifications of developing problems along with diagnoses and prioritizations. Its solutions are device-agnostic and are found on equipment from GE, Siemens, Rolls Royce, Alstom, Flowserve, Waukesha, Byron Jackson, Cooper-Bessemer and others.
"The acquisition of SmartSignal shows our commitment to continue investing in GE Intelligent Platforms' Software and Services business and will serve as an important catalyst to rapidly expand the capabilities of our Operational Intelligence platform," said Maryrose Sylvester, president and CEO for GE Intelligent Platforms. "SmartSignal is a recognized leader and innovator with technology that detects looming equipment problems early and with confidence. This acquisition complements GE's existing capabilities in diagnostics and equipment analytics, and gives us the ability to cover a much wider range of asset types and equipment manufacturers for our customers."
And Bently Nevada?
One question the acquisition raises is where this leaves condition-monitoring veteran Bently Nevada, purchased by GE in 2002. Erik Udstuen, GEIP vice president of Software and Services, said it's a complementary relationship. "Bently Nevada products are performing specific functions around vibration analysis. Smart Signal tends to operate at a lower frequency and long time frame, and will cover a broader range of metrics and assets. Smart Signal provides another layer of protection on top of Bently Nevada. A company could use both of them. In fact, they have many joint customers."
Udstuen adds that the "The integration of SmartSignal's proven monitoring and diagnostic technologies will play a significant role in delivering on GE Intelligent Platforms' vision of providing comprehensive operational intelligence solutions to customers. It is a proven remote monitoring and diagnostics solution that aligns nicely with the Proficy architecture to help customers address availability and efficiency challenges in a robust way. The SmartSignal team also brings tremendous domain expertise in predictive diagnostics that aligns very well with GE’s key vertical industries."
Wil Chin of ARC Advisory Group commented, "With this move, GE will be able to combine the asset intelligence from SmartSignal’s EPI*Center with GE Energy’s Bently Nevada machinery protection and monitoring systems for improved insight into the health of not only physical assets, but process assets as well. More importantly, leveraging this solution with GE Intelligent Platforms business solutions, such as Proficy Maintenance Gateway and others, will allow GE to provide comprehensive turnkey asset performance management solutions for any asset intensive industry."
According to Udstuen, GE will maintain Smart Signal's offices in Lisle. "We fully intend to grow that office. We see that single location as a great advantage. We have the GE brand as a strong and valuable brand and that will always be in the lead of what we offer to the market, but many aspects of the Smart Signal brand we’ll keep. At least in the short term, existing customers will see little change."
Alliance Success Story
Smart Signal is one of the bright success stories of the alliance between the University of Chicago and the U.S. Dept. of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory. It was originally started by the U of C based on technology developed at Argonne. Alan Thomas, director of UChicagoTech, the university’s Office of Technology and Intellectual Property, said, "It's great to see technology from Argonne that was incubated through the University of Chicago be adopted in a much wider way by such a prominent company. This is the innovation process at work."