LA Services is a small company of around 35 employees based in Revesby in Western Sydney. It provides mechanical and thermal design services, verification, detailed drafting, and finite-element analysis of static pressure equipment.
LA Services has been manufacturing pressure vessels since 1981 in a variety of materials. The company has also manufactured and exported heat exchangers, storage tanks, pipe spooling, piping skids and flare stacks. It also repairs and modifies vessels, boilers and heat exchangers for local industries.
The company recognised the importance of quality assurance to its customers, becoming ISO 9001 certified in 1990. It has developed an efficient quality control system that can be quickly adapted to client requirements. Recent projects have enabled LA Services to expand its quality focus to developing a supporting project management system, providing service strength to its products.
Since 2005, LA Services has been making significant changes to its business operations, leading to notable changes in its management processes and capacity. These changes have resulted in an increase in contractual responsibilities related to oil and gas equipment supply projects.
This has seen a shift in the company’s management from a narrow product focus to a broader process and service management framework. The changes have matured and are continually being adjusted to maintain business continuity in a market that has recently seen a fundamental shift in the way major oil and gas projects are tendered and awarded in Australia.
Tapping into the Internet of Things
LA Services is working in collaboration with Western Sydney University to help integrate Internet of Things (IoT) technology into its business with support from the NSW Government’s Boosting Business Innovation Program.
The application of industrial IoT is, for LA Services, an opportunity to take a typical Industry 1.0 product, such as a pressure vessel, rethink the manufacturing process and shift from a traditional manufacturing business model to being an advanced manufacturer.
Adding IoT capabilities allows LA Services to remain connected to its products through their lifecycle. It provides a greater understanding of performance and material integrity, and streamlines asset management, all value-adding attributes to a product-focused manufacturer.
However, there are significant and complex challenges in managing data, digitising the supply chain and implementing the intelligent algorithms that underpin the processes. Solving the associated problems are beyond the company’s current internal capabilities.
Industry 4.0, blockchain technology and product lifecycle management (PLM) are clear vertical tools that can assist traditional manufacturing industries like LA Services to transition to advanced (digital) manufacturing.
While the challenges are significant, the task of changing supply chain behaviour and transitioning to digital methodologies can be overcome with collaboration across the industry, government and research sectors.