Many of Honeywell's customers have been taking on the sensor integration and doing the additional terminating and packaging to make the product fit into their systems, said Rothermel-Nelson. "They can come to us and let us do it. It's taking that labor and burden off of the customer to do all of the value add around the technology, along with the risk and cost of applying complex sensor technology."
As an example, Honeywell can build a custom interface package for a TruStability board-mount pressure sensor, along with customizing the signal and termination to "make it snap-fit and exactly meet what the customer needs in order to apply the technology into a medical pump, blood analyzer or valve control unit," said Rothermel-Nelson.
Honeywell can typically deliver highly complex sensor subassemblies as plug-and-play units. For example, Honeywell may marry a pneumatic and pressure sensing capability together as a solution to monitor valve position in a factory. The subassembly could be used in industrial sanitary valve systems in a pharmaceutical plant, brewery or dairy.
"It is important to provide customers with exactly what they want, all from a single vendor," Rothermel-Nelson added. "It simplifies things and can improve reliability, while reducing the number of vendors, which is a real cost savings and a real hot topic for most of our customers," she said. "They are all trying to rationalize their vendor bases. It makes good sense economically, and simplifies things for the customer. After all, we're the sensor experts so it makes sense that they should rely on us to apply sensing into these types of applications."
Customers can also improve their time to market and reduce production cycle times, particularly if they bring in Honeywell early in the design process. By analyzing the applications upfront, Honeywell can determine how to make the designs most efficient and how to best fit and apply the technology.
She says getting involved in the design as early as possible is always preferred, but it doesn't always happen. "Sensors do tend to be an afterthought when it comes to overall system design, qualification and launch. We're very familiar with working under velocity product development cycle times."
Honeywell touts velocity product development, which "enables built-in quality, reliability, repeatability and it greatly helps us when customers bring us in a little later in the design," said Rothermel-Nelson. "It is a true differentiator for Honeywell Sensing and Control to be able to deliver new product developments and deliver the service as quickly as we do, while helping to keep the product launch schedules on time."
If a customer is having problems with the pressure or thermal technology in the system, which is impacting their go-to-market strategy, product quality or delivery in some way, Honeywell can troubleshoot the problem, said Rothermel-Nelson. "We are very good at coming in and observing these types of apps and finding ways to help the customer apply the right product for that application."
"We can come in at the front end and we can come in at the tail end," she said. "We always prefer sooner rather than later. It also helps us have the best shot at adding value to their product and to their system and giving them a competitive edge before they go to market."
Honeywell has great sensor technology platforms but in order to accelerate growth and help customers compete, the company needed to be willing to do these types of customization and value-added projects, Rothermel-Nelson concludes.