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Current Blogs:
Matthew Kenna – President
Sheldon Jahn – VP Engineering

 

 

November 2015 - by Matthew Kenna, CMA

Continuation…

Three months later the first three members have been busy creating designs, setting up supply chains, locations, setting up legal and accounting structures and all is going well. Actually having fun. We are realizing we have most of the skills to get this company off the ground and started without spending too much cash. This is great but of course we are watching the WTI prices and they continue to go down. Down 30% since you came up with this fantastic idea. No worries, the OPEC meeting is on November 27th, they will drop production and it will recover. Let’s keep going. Okay, just realized that a bunch of engineers and an accountant don’t know much about marketing so we start down the path to get a marketing company to help and wow it’s expensive - they ended up doing a fantastic job and it was worth the money - but it was our first big financial commitment. We check back in with the team that is going to invest, including outside investors, and yes they are still in. We move forward with time and money to create our image and name. At the same time OPEC decides to not close the valves and to fight for their market share. Oh crap, the prices will continue to fall! No worries, a) it will turn around, it always does and, b) the guys and investors are still in.

The new year starts and we have enough of the set up done to get started. Let’s start selling! We rally the troops and ask the guys to start promoting MANTL. Most of the guys bravely leave their job in a shrinking economy but a few start to think this is bad timing. Can’t blame them but we have to keep it going. We have already been spending money which puts the pressure on us to sell shares in the company to people outside the core group. Meanwhile, oil prices keep falling and you start seeing a slowdown. How are the customers going to interpret this? Will they continue to buy? How will the investors see this? Short term? Long term? It becomes clear quite quickly that new suppliers are not welcome at this time and are seen as unnecessary work and risk. The end users don’t want to add any more risk to their operations and supplier product margins are going to be pushed down. It is also quite clear that all potential outside investors are risk adverse and the line-up of investors starts to shrink. No cash and no customers. Financial models dictate that is all you need to be successful and we don’t have either, not a good start. But, as with any successful organization, it ends up boiling down to people and the team is positive. We ultimately secure financial backing from some great people that see the long term potential of this company. Next stop June 2015… what will OPEC do? What will the new provincial government do? Will the USA move forward with Iran? Wow there are a lot of inputs into the oil price. Understanding the market and keeping the dream alive is where we need to focus now.

- Matthew Kenna, CMA

 

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September 2015 - by Matthew Kenna, CMA

Now What?
Ok, so you have 20 plus years of experience, you have managed almost every department in the company, you have worked with a great group of people, you have survived down turns in the economy and you have stood by as the company that you have vested 14 years of your prime gets sold to a multinational company.  What do you do?  Cry?  Talk to your wife?  Call your dad?  No, you talk to the great people you have worked with over the past 17 years (there was a 3 year absence while I worked overseas but that is a different story, back to this story).  WTF?  We were just sold to a multibillion dollar company!  Did we get a new contract like they get in the NHL?  Did we get a signing bonus?  Did the previous owners thank you for all your hard work?  Nope, nothing.  Let’s call the guys, consume some beers (Pilsner I would think) and talk.  You have relied on the team for many years, they will think of something. They’ve always come up with ideas in the past to cover the situations we dealt with around the world.

Why not?
We have assisted/partaken/delivered growth for the last company, let’s start our own company!  Let’s do it for us.  It will be hard work but we can make it happen.  First things, first… who do we need on the team?  It’s always about the people.  People build successful companies, not the product, not the over-educated super manager, the people.  Let’s make sure everyone on the team has a customer and people focus.  Let’s make sure everyone is the type of person who will do whatever it takes to get it done and is willing to take on tasks that they are not familiar with.  Ok, we have the team.  Now let’s make sure we have suppliers, they have to be number 2 on the list.  I have always believed that suppliers are a key asset (unfortunately they are listed as liabilities on the balance sheet but that’s another story).  You call the key suppliers and yes, they will work with you.  They are actually quite excited to be working for an independent again.  Large bureaucratic companies tend to force their will on you instead of working as a team, say the suppliers.  Third task has to be to talk with some customers.  Will you support a new independent company in the market?  Will you support a small independent that may not be huge in sales but will be huge in experience and will have focus on supporting your needs?  Yes, of course!  The industry is always looking for choices and sometimes acquisitions and mergers within a market remove choices.  With fewer choices service tends to go down and cost tends to go up.  Sign us up, we are always willing to support an owner-managed company, say the customers.  Forth, but definitely not last, would be investors.  Will investors look at our years of experience, our concepts around new ideas to service the customers, our new product ideas and invest with us?  Of course we will, say the investors.  We saw the last company you worked for grow large and produce a healthy return.  If you guys are putting in cash and sweat equity, I am in.  This is a great idea.
Let’s do it!
You leave your job, get started and then the bottom falls out the market…
More to come.

- Matthew Kenna, CMA

 

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November 2015 - by Sheldon Jahn

Bench Testing

Pump tests were originally used as a simple quality check. However, over the years the pump tests efficiencies and fluid resistance tests (compatibility testing) have been used to fine tune the rotor stator fit, pump test and field performance.

As a customer, do you know your supplier’s test bench procedures and standards?

In a perfect test world, a +/- 10% test result may only require an interference fit change of only +/- 0.004” (0.0.10mm). This would have absolutely no effect on pump run life. In the real world, from test bench to test bench with a different process and control loop we find a significant range of results. Fluid and gas absorption downhole will be have a greater effect on pump performance than +/- 5% variance on a pump test but without consistent bench testing it is much more difficult to factor downhole conditions into proper pump fit.
Of course it is natural to assume that test bench designs differ between individual companies. This has a direct effect on the end user and should be a topic of conversation with any PCP supplier. Equipment and processes must be standardized or tests from bench to bench and field to field are unreliable as a direct offset comparison.

The tolerance on an improved test has tightened over the years. There are a myriad of variables present when testing a pump and the bench itself can be flawed in design. It is not uncommon for a +/- 10% variance in results to be traced to the design concerns listed below.

Human error
- site glass or stop watch; it is nearly impossible to use 1 minute or less test intervals and get an accurate reading.
- the scaling on the site glass is too large, this problem can be compounded if the operator has to choose a start and stop increment on the site glass.
- the reaction time on a stop watch is too inconsistent
- any type of manual valve control or an automated valve control with different open and closing speeds will cause an issue.

Calibration
- tank calibration is not possible but basic hand calculations can be made. Often the drain and valve are not used in the calculation or poorly calculated so test error is created from the beginning.
- several meters are required based on the wide production range of a PCP. In place calibration is expensive and time consuming.
- human error can be introduced if the operator does not change the meter when the pump flow is outside of a meters range.

Pressure
- a digital pressure sensor is recommended as analogue gauges designed for 5000 psi (34,000 kPa) have poor resolution. On a low efficiency test requirement 100 psi (689 kPa) can turn a pass into a fail and vice versa.

Temperature
- stabilized temperature is critical, 5C can make a 5-15% efficiency change based on elastomer type, pump geometry, speed and head pressure. We prefer to standardize with the stator housing not more than -5C from water temperature. Example. 45C or warmer stator housing 50C water temperature.

Pump Intake Pressure
- some test benches use gravity feed into the pump intake 1-2 psi (6.9 to 13.8 kPa) and other use charge pumps without an automated bypass pressure regulator which can provide intake pressures of 100 psi (689 kPa) or more. The high pressure on a lower efficiency pump will push fluid through the pump giving a high flow rate at zero head pressure while the low pressure on a high volume pump may not have enough flow to properly charge (fill) the first cavity.

Zero head pressure volumetric flow
- ISO uses the flow at zero head pressure at the actual flow rather than a nominal flow rate. This provides a correction to the proper flow rate for that pump under the test parameters.

MANTL has designed its test benches and testing procedures according to ISO 15136 in an effort to eliminate inconsistencies. What this means to our customers is an optimal pump fit every time that translates into longer run lives and maximizes the return on investment. More Experience = Less Downtime

- Sheldon Jahn – VP Engineering

 

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