Associate Publisher of DredgeWire, Heiko Osterchrist, Interviews Jay Wise Co-Owner of Kruse Integration

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Jay Wise

Posted November 11, 2019

By Heiko U. Osterchrist, Associate Publisher, DredgeWire

DredgeWire’s Associate Publisher, Heiko Osterchrist, sat down with Kruse Integration’s Co-Owner Jay Wise during the WEDA Eastern Chapter Conference in Wilmington, De. for an in-depth exclusive interview. Jay was open and positive about the opportunities and future of the dredging industry as well as for his company.

DredgeWire:

Give us a brief summary of what Kruse Integration does.

Wise/Kruse Integration:

Kruse Integration is an industry leader in the design, development and implementation of industrial automation systems for over 27 years. Kruse’s systems include real time controls, field tested instrumentation, manufacturing information services, remote access and compiling critical operating information utilizing a PLC based systems for process control solutions. We served multiple industries in our early years, such as Chemical, Steel,Automotive, Food & Beverage, Pharmaceutical and Manufacturing industries, which all required a lot of process technology. About 15 years ago the Company included the dredging industry as a focus and applied these same quality controls and real time information gathering system designs, which at the time were not common.

DredgeWire:

What industry trends do you see impacting your business these days?

Wise/Kruse Integration:

If you go back 20 years ago in the dredging industry there was little automation or real time information gathering. In the last 10 years and going forward the demand for more real time information to improve operating efficiencies, reduce costs and automate, are driving not only the dredging, but all industries. As an example, the USACE (United States Army Corp of Engineers) imposed 3 years ago DQM (Dredge Quality Management), which is a dredging industry partnership for automating dredging monitoring of Corps dredging projects. Kruse has worked with the dredge contractors and the USACE in designing a PLC system that will gather data from sensors that monitor the dredging activities, operations and efficiency, and then send the data to the USACE Support Center for data retrieval and storage. The USACE Districts can then access the data to prepare summary reports, plots or spreadsheets compilations of dredge operations. The Corp must certify that each dredge meets their DQM. This is an overall trend in the dredging industry that will continue.

DredgeWire:

How is the technology that you are offering different today than in the past?

Wise/Kruse Integration:

As I mentioned earlier, 20 years ago automation was almost nonexistent in the dredging industry. Since then the first steps taken was the development of software and hardware to improve the dredging operation. Today Kruse Integration has developed algorithms to mimic Operator actions based on conditions. Our typical cutter/suction automated system senses cutter depth, tide offset, dredge position and heading (using GPS), equipment loading, hydraulic parameters, engine parameters, service water pressure, product flow, product density, discharge pressure, vacuum pressure, cave-ins, equipment status, fault conditions and cable feed. Using these parameters, Kruse Integration has developed a program, which will actually take over the dredge based on years of experience with Dredging conditions. Whether the dredge is hydraulic or electric, we interface with the motor drives or hydraulic proportional valves to control the dredge in the same manner. Safety interlocks are programmed into the PLC to protect equipment and personnel from harm. Our systems include graphical Operator Interfaces to allow set point entries, monitor system status, display alarms, display real-time and historical trends, and manually control the dredge if necessary. We can also provide Positioning Systems, which are used to graphically and numerically show production, depth, locations and trouble spots.

DredgeWire:

What are the most important facets of automation and services that your customers are looking for?

Wise/Kruse Integration:

In addition to automation and information gathering, customers are asking for remote access, which we offer, for trouble shooting or field changes,as well as allowing the client to view real-time and historic data. Kruse Integration stays current with the latest technology in all industries and we provide our customers with the latest robust off-the-shelf hardware and software. We do not use proprietary technology or software. Our clients own and maintain control, which is important to them. Customers also like our quick response and project turn around, as well as our follow up and on-going support.

We have also designed a system that allows our customers to have total flow control of all booster pumps utilizing one PLC system vs an inefficient manually controlled booster pump(s) system. As an example within the past few years we automated a 12-mile booster pump system that was used by a contractor for moving sediment out of a channel that required deepening. Can you imagine having to manually sync & monitor such an operating system? Kruse Integration’s Autoboost monitors the intake pressure, discharge pressure and flow rate and varies the pump’s engine speed to maintain a preset pressure within selected limits. It will also monitor the engine status for safety and performance interlocks. We also can add a wireless transmitter so the Dredge Operator can remotely monitor and control the pump. This system can be installed on new or retrofit engines or VFD controlled pumps.

DredgeWire:

Has the regulatory environment affected your business in any way?

Wise/Kruse Integration:

Yes, due to more federal and state requirements for removal of contaminated materials, our environmental dredging contractor’s business, along with ours, has increased. Kruse Integration is a leader in the control’s customization of marine excavators, cranes and dredges. There is hardly anything that we have not seen or controlled using PLC’s and graphical interface. Our clients are always coming up with clever ways to approach environmental dredging solutions. We are right there with them working on the plan and creating a solution that will work. Its fun! As mentioned earlier the USACE implementing DQM regulation has helped our business quite a bit.

DredgeWire:

What are the biggest challenges facing you today?

Wise/Kruse Integration:

1.Retention of people is a challenge. The industries we serve require that our team members are available to support our customers when they need it, no matter time or day of the week. Our business is not your standard 9-5. We work on building a culture of teamwork that people want to be a part of as well as giving them the independence to achieve their goals.

2.We are facing more competition, as many of the equipment suppliers are installing their own proprietary automation systems for cranes, excavators and dredges. However, this has created opportunities for us as well, as customers want remote access, positioning systems and control over their equipment, we have the ability, through our programed PLC, to share the data from the various sensors and process and send the data to our customer.

DredgeWire:

What achievements has your company accomplished that you are most proud of?

Wise/Kruse Integration:

Being known in the dredge industry around the world as an innovative, solid, viable and reliable dredge controls integrator.

DredgeWire:

Anything else you would like to comment on?

Wise/Kruse Integration:

Just that we also provide customized project systems. We have many examples from modifying marine excavators allowing our PLC control to automatically dig or rake desired profiles; to control design, modifications and implementation of marine spreader/capper barges. It is rewarding to see the satisfied client get excited about our automation systems upon completion. We love the challenge of working with our customers to develop any custom idea.