HDI Instruments’ Will Condon speaks to the importance of field tests, certifications, and meeting customer needs
Will Condon is a project manager for HDI Instruments, a leading provider of battery-powered, stand-alone gauge systems based in Houston, Texas. Recently, HDI released their Certified 2000P Mud/Standpipe Gauge System, a digital gauge specifically designed to handle the rugged and hazardous environment of the rig floor, which is the culmination of over twenty years of field testing. Mr. Condon spoke with Modern Pumping Today about the critical role that such field tests play for their products and why certifications are one of the most important criteria his customers look for.
Modern Pumping Today: How important is field testing for your products?
Will Condon: Field testing is immensely important to us. We’ve got a platform—our electronic pressure gauge platform—and digital instrumentation in general that is twenty-years field proven.  HDI Instruments was started roughly twenty-five years ago, and, as you can imagine, there were many concerns in the industry about introducing a new platform back then. People would look over electronic instrumentation and were somewhat resistant to changing what they were familiar with.
However, it was through the field testing—these people seeing the toughness and durability of our equipment—that we built our reputation. For that reason, we take immense pride and place intense focus on our field testing, because without the certification and the ruggedness of our equipment we would not be where we are today.
MPT: What are some of the criteria you rely on in setting up a field test?
Will Condon: Certifications are huge component of what we do. Because our equipment is on the drill floor in Class 1, Zone 1 intrinsically safe environments, certifications are necessary for most of the work they’re needed for.  As I said, HDI Instruments is approaching its second decade of providing this type of equipment, so we’ve worked closely with the certifying bodies for many, many years. We have a very good working relationship with CSA, ATEX, DNV, and other third-party certification groups to ensure our products are in compliance.
It’s important for us not only that our equipment works from a practical standpoint but also is engineered to meet industry standards—both for today and the future. Many things have changed over the past five to ten years with regard to both regulations being tightened up and customers seeking higher quality, which is a large part of why we expect our role as an equipment provider to the oil industry to grow. We’re constantly striving to produce equipment that is more robust, more solid every day to keep up with these standards.
They are rigorous. They are demanding. They require investment. But they are necessary!
MPT: How often does a product innovation begin with meeting a customer’s need from out in the field?
Will Condon: With perhaps only one or two exceptions, literally every product HDI has produced started out in response to a customer’s need. For example, our 2000B Panel Gauge was created due to many industry voices telling us they needed something more than the existing hydraulic, liquid-filled pressure gauges. The old gauges would lock up because of friction, and then they would produce inaccurate readings or cause injuries to workers or provide the driller with improper feedback.
When we attend conferences, like OTC or the SPE/IADC Drilling Conference, we meet face to face with our clients or people who stop by our booth, and we’re always asking, “What do you need from us? Look at our technology… Look at what we do… Where can we extend our offerings to better meet your needs?” Many times, we find avenues that make perfect sense within our family of products.
We’re always looking, always building, and creating products based on customer needs. Our customer’s voice is critical to our research and development practices, so our products are designed with that thought in mind—and we’ve been doing that for over twenty-five years.
MPT: What customer needs brought about the 2000P?
Will Condon: In particular, the 2000P is based on our existing, field-tested M100—which has been successful for pumping trucks on land applications for ten to fifteen years. However, the M100 lacked the critical certifications needed for the offshore theater. We took the same internal components as our Certified 2000B Panel Gauge and created a solution for these offshore users—who need that certification for use with their pipes, mud pumps, and so on. The certification process is very diligent and thorough, so we’re proud to offer a product that can meet their needs. ■

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