A conversation with MTL

Oct. 3, 2006
Keith Larson and I met with former Control columnist and Syncrude fieldbus guru Ian Verhappen, and his new boss Graeme Philp, president of MTL for breakfast this morning. It was a far-ranging discussion, but one of the most salient pieces is worth discussing. I almost said "salient bits" because that's what the discussion was about. Philp has a vision for MTL that is quite different from a traditional automation company, especially one, like MTL, that manufactures its own complete control syst...
Keith Larson and I met with former Control columnist and Syncrude fieldbus guru Ian Verhappen, and his new boss Graeme Philp, president of MTL for breakfast this morning. It was a far-ranging discussion, but one of the most salient pieces is worth discussing. I almost said "salient bits" because that's what the discussion was about. Philp has a vision for MTL that is quite different from a traditional automation company, especially one, like MTL, that manufactures its own complete control system, MOST. "The traditional way," Philp said, "is to sell your components as part of systems, that you also offer to help put together, which leads you down the path to competing with Emerson et al." This isn't what he wants to do. He wants to sell bits. "We have a bunch of products that handle bits. We want to be able to sell those products, just like we were selling bits." Philp believes that there is a large market between the "I can't afford control" companies and the companies that are the primary targets of Emerson and Honeywell. That's the market for MTL products, as well as selling them to the Emersons and the Honeywells themselves. He's got a heck of a good niche going, doesn't he?