Predicting and preventing failure
Interdisciplinary research and development help Jeff Guerin (BMath ’91) and his colleagues solve an important industry problem.
Interdisciplinary research and development help Jeff Guerin (BMath ’91) and his colleagues solve an important industry problem.By Jeff Guerin (BMath '91) Alumnus
Over the past years, there have been reports of cruise ships that failed to manoeuvre and stranded people at sea, or failed wind turbines that were unable to generate power. These applications, and many others, have one thing in common in their design: bearings!
For society and the economy, mobility has to be guaranteed — and this can be achieved by increasing the reliability of moving lubricated parts, such as bearings. That’s why Sean Volkaert and I founded 4LinesFusion in 2016, an industrial analytics company that provides engineers and operators with risk assessments on their applications, and recommendations on how to reduce downtime and save money.
Over the past decade, we’ve created SeerWorksTM Reliability, an industrial analytics solution that proactively assesses lubricated machine elements. In the age of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), this solution can be augmented into existing platforms to give the operator peace of mind. The industrial analytics market is massive: it's expected to grow from USD 11.29 billion in 2017 to USD 25.51 billion by 2022 — and we are well on the way to being part of that!
My training at the University of Waterloo has been very valuable to create our product. I must stress that without my deep knowledge of mathematics and coding, I would not have been able to create the algorithms that let us assess the processes that lead to bearing failure. (Sean and I also run another company, Ortech Systems, which focuses on collecting medical data and complex mathematic modelling.)
In 2018, we recruited Jan-M. Brandt (PhD '08), who graduated with a PhD from the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering, where he focused on tribology: the science of friction, wear, and lubrication. As the Business Development Manager, Jan interacts closely with our global customers. He says that the training skills provided at Waterloo, especially the ability to critically assess technologies and current knowledge, were essential to further improve and promote the unique selling proposition of 4LinesFusion.
Over many years, we have conducted molecular modeling down to quantum levels, which now permits us to predict failure. It took endless hours and much frustration to bring our SaaS product to the level that we’re at right now. It is exciting to see how effectively our technology is applied, and how it provides huge savings for our customers. The bottom line is that you need “grit,” and to never lose sight of the goal that you are trying to achieve – basically, don't stop!
Last fall, Jan and I traveled to Hamburg to be part of the US-Canadian Pavilion of the biannual Wind Summit to promote our product, SeerWorksTM Reliability. The event was outstanding for us, and we are excited to globally expand our business in 2019.
Jeff Guerin is the co-founder of 4LinesFusion, a Canadian Internet-of-Things technology company that delivers digital predictions on machine health. Based in London, Ontario, the business has grown by 300% since 2018. For more information, please visit www.4linesfusion.com.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is centralized within our Office of Indigenous Relations.