Buying Spree Furthers AspenTech’s AI Agenda for Process Optimization

July 13, 2019
The acquisition of Mnubo and Sabisu will help provide the asset optimization software company with scalable artificial intelligence-driven applications and better visualization of information and analytics.

Aspen Technology is making a move to further its journey into asset optimization that uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to build on deep process expertise. It has signed an agreement—expected to close within the next five business days—to acquire Mnubo, a Canadian provider of purpose-built AI and analytics infrastructure for the Internet of Things (IoT). Mnubo’s technology enables industrial companies to assemble and deploy AI-driven IoT applications quickly, at enterprise scale.

AspenTech is also furthering its ability to visualize vast quantities of information and analyzed data with its acquisition last month of UK-based Sabisu, which provides a flexible enterprise visualization and workflow system to deliver real-time decision support.

Both of these purchases add to the asset performance management (APM)/maintenance capabilities largely acquired by AspenTech through the purchases in 2016 of Mtelligence (Mtell)—for its machine learning-based predictive and prescriptive maintenance for asset performance optimization—and Fidelis Reliability for its asset reliability software.

The machine learning capabilities have been instrumental in taking advantage of the data that’s already there to help predict failures on equipment, said John Hague, senior vice president and general manager of AspenTech’s APM business, during a discussion at the ARC Industry Forum earlier this year. He told of a recent situation in which a competitor was monitoring a particular compressor at an oil company in Italy and said there was nothing wrong with it. AspenTech applied the Mtell technology to it and found that there was a temperature problem with the compressor that warranted looking into. Once AspenTech finally convinced the customer to inspect the compressor, they found that a cooling line had been shut off and the bearings were heating up.

“We have real deep domain expertise on the engineering side. Combining that with advanced analytics is very, very powerful,” Hague said. “With Mtell, we have a solution that’s extremely reliable, with a minimum of false alerts and false alarms.”

The latest acquisitions will enable AspenTech to accelerate the distribution of embedded AI in both its existing and future solutions. They will help further the automation of knowledge and data-driven decision-making for continuous improvement across the design, operation, and maintenance lifecycle of industrial assets.

“With the current pressures on margins, our customers need to yield higher outputs and drive higher efficiencies with existing assets. When expertly applied, AI offers a significant competitive advantage in managing operations to the limits of performance without compromising safety,” said Antonio Pietri, AspenTech’s president and CEO. “By bringing the deep domain expertise of AspenTech together with Mnubo AI-driven IoT expertise and Sabisu visualization, we can deliver innovation that helps our customers drive greater value from their existing data at scale.”

Increasing adoption of AI and IoT technologies is powering the next wave of industrial-digital enterprises, according to Frédéric Bastien, co-founder and CEO of Mnubo. “The Mnubo AI and analytics infrastructure was purpose-built to accelerate the digital transformation of traditional industries by democratizing the power of artificial intelligence and machine learning,” he added.

“Sabisu can aggregate performance data from multiple sources—from historians to spreadsheets, from across the plant, country or world,” said Tim Sharpe, co-founder and managing director of Sabisu. “When made available to engineering, operations, planning, and maintenance teams, the comprehensive analysis can be used to significantly enhance uptime and efficiency.”

AspenTech has agreed to purchase Mnubo for C$102 million (about $78 million). Financial details for the Sabisu acquisition, which includes Argent & Waugh, were not disclosed.

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