KROHNE is a world-leading manufacturer and supplier of solutions in industrial process instrumentation. Following on from completing a highly successful Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) with KROHNE Ltd in 2013, the University of Kent was excited to embark on a second KTP with the company.
KROHNE’s core products are Coriolis flowmeters. Existing commercial meters for multiphase flow measurement are very expensive and not a viable option for many users. KROHNE sought to extend the application of Coriolis flowmeters to a broader range of industrial processes where complex flow conditions are encountered. This would open up new market opportunities for the instruments and allow KROHNE to gain a competitive edge in the field of multiphase flow metering.
To meet their goal, KROHNE decided to embark on a second Knowledge Transfer Partnership with the University of Kent. The key to a successful KTP is the transfer of knowledge from the Knowledge Base to the company with the help of a graduate or post-graduate called an ‘Associate’. For this KTP, the Associate was based at KROHNE’s R&D site in Wellingborough under the supervision of Prof. Yong Yan from the School of Engineering, and Dr Xue Wang from the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Actuarial Science. The academics offered their unique expertise and experience in soft computing for multiphase flow metering to the company.
As a result of the KTP, the fiscal type approval of KROHNE’s current product for bunkering in the marine industry is nearing completion after detailed testing and evaluation. The project has also developed two feasible solutions for the company to move forward in another market which has even more potential.
“The Knowledge Transfer Partnership provided a unique platform to bring state-of-the-art soft-computing and machine learning techniques into our business to advance our products to a higher capability level. The success of the KTP owed a lot to the capability of the University of Kent in building effective industrial partnerships and having an excellent track record in industrial research. KROHNE will continue to collaborate with Kent beyond the KTP by supporting a new post- graduate studentship which we expect to be just as successful.”
Edward Jukes, General Manager at KROHNE
The Associate gained significant professional skills from the project including new instrument development, high-level project management and practical skills for field trials. The Associate led a number of seminars at the University, and gave technical presentations for a range of audiences from academic conferences through to industrial exhibitions.
The University’s academic team worked closely with the engineering team at KROHNE to tackle real-world problems, focussing on the latest development in soft computing algorithms for multiphase flow metering. In the process, they enhanced their understanding of product development, regulatory compliance, intellectual property rights and strategic planning. The University has since published four research papers based on the project, and the research arising from the project has been presented at conferences, seminars, and workshops. In addition, the results from the data gathered have been incorporated into taught modules on both undergraduate and postgraduate courses to provide real-world examples for students.
The KTP has contributed and enhanced the long-term partnership between the University and KROHNE, as evidenced by the newly established PhD studentship with significant financial support from KROHNE, plus other externally funded new research projects with in-kind support from KROHNE. During the KTP project the academic team established links with other companies within the KROHNE group, which will provide opportunities for future collaborations with industrial partners in the field.
The partnership was delighted to have been awarded an ‘A’ for Outstanding on this completed KTP project. Less than 10% of projects nationally are awarded this grade so a great achievement for all involved.