Automation Technology Revolutionizes Safety & Efficiency of Hydraulic Fracturing

March 18, 2021 | KCF in the News, Press Releases

A five-year partnership and multi-million dollar investment culminated in a technology breakthrough that is poised to revolutionize the hydraulic fracturing industry. In collaboration with KCF Technologies, FTS International (NYSE American: FTSI) successfully launched fully automated equipment health monitoring and control on an active hydraulic fracturing site. The technology is dubbed MachineIQ™.

FTSI COO Buddy Petersen said, “Automation has been the highest priority for the safety component of our business. This new approach means that costly, dangerous anomalies that threaten safety and job quality are addressed in milliseconds compared to the minutes, hours, or days it’s taken to recognize and address them in the past.”

The latest available data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health indicates during 2008–2017, 1,038 oil and gas extraction workers were killed on the job, resulting in an annual fatality rate more than six times higher than the rate among all U.S. workers.

“Earlier versions of MachineIQ™ have already elevated FTSI to industry-leading safety and efficiency levels,” said Petersen.  “I’m as proud as if we just put a man on the moon, as this is a new frontier in American Energy Independence.”

According to Petersen, a long-term commitment to equipment health monitoring has helped the company to eliminate nearly all recordable safety incidents, drastically cut non-productive time, and double equipment life.

“Our South Texas district has gone three complete calendar years and over three million man-hours worked, with zero incidents. Let me put that into context—that’s over four-hundred workers, doing twelve-hour shifts, traveling approximately 118 miles one way a day in a crew van, working in adverse conditions, and they’ve managed to do it three years in a row without an incident. That is remarkable,” he said.

“This advancement will free up so many more resources, like the brainpower on the location that normally focused on taking care of changing pumps, moving gears, switching gears, any part of the system that hasn’t been automated. It will redeploy them to evaluate the job and the health of the equipment, in real-time with data,” Petersen continued.

“This project has been years in the making and I am thrilled to see how this automation technology, combined with our world class team, will deliver record performance to our customers.”

Hear more from Buddy about automation and it’s impact on oil & gas here:


MachineIQ™ and its support technologies recognize mechanical faults, flag high damage “blind spots” such as pump cavitation and iron resonance, and automatically adjust job parameters to maintain proper rate and pressure. First released on-location with FTSI customer Devon Energy, MachineIQ™ includes cloud-based analytics, edge computer processing, and controls integration.

“FTSI recognized that their frontline workers face extreme and potentially dangerous conditions, resulting in catastrophic failures, injuries and deaths,” said KCF Technologies Chief Business Officer Ben Lawrence. “This is an innovation-driven company that is driving a new frontier for hydraulic fracturing.”

“FTSI took on this challenge and had the fortitude to stick with it through two industry downturns,” Lawrence continued. “Thanks to their perseverance, FTSI is leading the pack. The company has achieved automation through machine learning and analytics that will change the industry as we know it.”

KCF Technologies’ Co-Founder and CEO Jeremy Frank said, “For over twenty years, KCF has been delivering industrial optimization services to best-in-class organizations, from the U.S. Military to Fortune 500 manufacturers, and FTSI’s automation technology, grounded in real-time machine health, is arguably the most sophisticated and advanced there is.”

See how FTSI Imagines More for safety & efficiency in hydraulic fracturing:


FTSI is a pure-play hydraulic fracturing company headquartered in Fort Worth, Texas with operations spanning multiple basins in the United States.

About KCF Technologies

KCF was founded in 2000 by three researchers from Penn State University and thrives on constant innovation. The company effectively connects cutting-edge technologies with real world solutions that improve industrial facilities and the communities they serve for a sustainable future. The KCF team is on a mission to transform American industry by solving critical Industry 4.0 problems through the convergence of technology and people. KCF’s vision is a world where its customers have zero injuries, zero waste, and zero asset failures.


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