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FACE2FACE | March 2019

We plan to expand beyond rotary temperature transmitters

Binsfeld Engineering was founded in the year 1970 and was incorporated in 1978 by John Binsfeld, who was into manufacturing torque measurement equipment. Currently, Binsfeld has two product lines – measuring torque on rotating shafts and monitoring temperatures on heated godets. Transmitters for monitoring temperature are used in the textile industry. Binsfeld Engineering specialises in rotating-to-stationary data communication systems. Using digital instrumentation technologies transmitted via non-contact inductive couplings or radio frequency devices, the transmitters provide accurate and reliable signals from rotating sensors.

Unique product range

Speaking on how the company was born, Stephen Tarsa, CEO of US-based Binsfeld Engineering, with his charismatic smile, took us through the journey of the company over the years. He said, “One of our sales representatives, who was selling our torque measurement equipment was from the Southern United States, which is where the textile industry is. A customer there asked us to make a system that could measure temperature on a rotating drum. In the early 1990s, our founder developed the first Binsfeld rotary temperature transmitter, which was called RT101. That was the time, I joined Binsfeld. I joined the company in 1992.”

In 1990, in collaboration with a major fibre manufacturer, Binsfeld developed its first inductively powered rotary temperature transmitter for use on heated godet (draw roll) motors. From these early analog transmitters evolved the TempTrak® All-Digital Design originally featured in the RT300 Series transmitters. The success of the TempTrak® system has been expansive, particularly as an upgrade component on existing machinery, where it has been installed “across the house” at major fibre plants in the United States and abroad. “All our products are manufactured in a small town in Northern Michigan,” said Tarsa during the recently concluded GTTES exhibition in Mumbai.

Binsfeld has been selling rotary temperature transmitters that are used to monitor the temperature in the textile business. On unique features, Tarsa said, “One of the key benefits of the Binsfeld system, as compared to the competitors, is that the distance between the stationary and rotating components is very large – from 9 mm to 25 mm. It does not require precise positioning, and it helps in reducing reliability issues. Most rotary temperature transmitters have a very small gap between the stationary and rotating parts. By having a large gap, small or even large vibrations don’t damage the telemetry. The other key benefit is that the Binsfeld products are very accurate and reliable.”

Further adding to the features of the products manufactured by Binsfeld, Tarsa said, “Many years ago, we offered five-year warranty on our product and we still offer that. Nobody else offers a five-year warranty. The reason we offer that warranty is that we know that the product lasts very long. The products that were sold 25 years ago are still running in many companies without any hassle. That reliability comes from small design details that we learned over the years to incorporate into our products.”

Most Binsfeld TempTrak® wireless transmitters provide a linear, industry standard 4-20 mA output signal to directly interface with off-the-shelf process control instrumentation. Systems are also available with digital output like CANBUS or PROFIBUS. He said, “We have configurations to fit most existing rolls and roll motors allowing simple, yet critical temperature control upgrades without requiring machine modification.”

He added, “We designed a feature in our rotating base so that when the rotary part of the system is spinning, it actually simulates a fan and blows air across electronics, keeping it cooler than our competitors. So if you put all these features together, we have a very reliable product.”

Binsfeld telemetry systems have a proven track record for precision and reliability, both in the U.S. and around the world. The business has exhibited sustained growth in this market and stands poised to serve its customers with sophisticated designs well into the future.

Global presence

On stronger markets around the world, Tarsa had this to say: “Our market is wherever there are synthetic fibre producers. Major countries are South Korea, India, Turkey, the United States and a little bit in South America. There is some opportunity in Bangladesh and of course Europe too. Percentage-wise, we have a good number in the Indian market. Last year was a good year for the company as we sold a lot of products in India.”

“The percentage of our share in the textile business is exactly 50:50. The data shows [over the years] that half of the business is torque products and the other half is textiles. Even our international business in 50:50,” he said.

The Indian challenge

“Our products have quality and are highly reliable. We can price it accordingly. So pricing is a major issue in the Indian market. Typically, once the customer experiences our system, the price will never be an issue. But initially, the price is a consideration”, said Tarsa while speaking on the challenges faced in the Indian market.

Another challenge is that he said “we are a replacement component, replacing the original equipment transmitters. So for convenience to customers we need to emulate the input-output signals and mechanical features. Sometimes, it is a challenge and in some ways, it is helpful. If we design our own machines, then we can be more creative. It is still an exciting opportunity because every time a fibre machinery manufacturer sells a machine, they are indirectly creating business for us.”

2019 and beyond

“Business-wise if you compare the year 2017 to 2018, there was very little change. The year 2018 was slightly better. Both the years were solid years; we didn’t touch the roof, but didn’t go down either,” he said.

On expectations for the next year, he said, “We expect another solid year. We have a number of large sales opportunities in the process including in India, Taiwan, and other countries. Those opportunities can materialise anytime and lead to another good year.”

Tarsa concludes: “We are looking to expand our business beyond rotary temperature transmitters. We have long-time partners working with us in other countries. This year, we are planning to partner with more companies so that we can provide complete solutions including roll motors and temperature control systems. There are large opportunities in India for that solution.”

- KARTHIK MUTHUVEERAN

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