As global business models go, it's hard to top Ingenero Technologies, which provides operating expertise to chemicals and plastics plants from a business office in Boston and a technical center in Mumbai, India.
Client plants transmit operating data daily to the Mumbai center. Ingenero's engineers review the data and submit a detailed analysis designed to maximize plant operations.
Since forming in early 2002, Ingenero has worked with a Lonza Inc. pharmaceuticals plant in Singapore, an Indorama Group polyester plant in Indonesia and plants producing plastic feedstock butadiene and gasoline additive MTBE for Texas Petrochemicals LP in Houston.
``This is the only model that's taking information from the actual plants and recommending actual changes based on that data,'' said Steve Fodo, a 30-year veteran of the refining, chemicals and plastics industries who joined Ingenero earlier this year.
Ingenero also has signed a letter of intent with British Petroleum plc to serve some of the global oil giant's gasoline production facilities. If successful, that project could lead to work on BP's polypropylene and polyethylene units, according to Ingenero co-founder and President Pratap Nair.
In Indonesia, Ingenero improved efficiency and produced ``better control of the finished product'' at Indorama's polyester plant, said Nair, who worked for Indian life-sciences firm Cadila before launching Ingenero.
``We can adjust our system all the way from refining to commodity chemicals,'' he said. ``It works with energy savings or increased throughput and other areas.''
In the case of Texas Petrochemicals, Fodo said Ingenero's system can help the firm recover from a recent bankruptcy. The firm is operating through the bankruptcy, which it said was caused by the phasing out of MTBE because of groundwater contamination.
``Texas Petrochemical was having difficulty predicting their maintenance schedule, so we were able to create a model and interface using a digital system to get their schedule under control,'' Fodo said.
Ingenero is majority-owned by View Group, a Boston-based equity firm. Nair and co-founder Kishor Patil also hold minority stakes in the firm.
Ingenero employs about 50 in Mumbai and about six in Boston and Houston. The firm plans to double its U.S. staff by early 2004.