A better oil light

Chief Technical Officer Chas Ogden runs a series of oil analysis tests through the Logilube Smart Oil System on Friday afternoon at their headquarters on Beech Street. 

SHANNON BRODERICK/Boomerang photographer

Founded in Colorado, Logilube CEO Bill Gillette said he brought the company to Wyoming a few months later in search of a type of employee.

“I found Wyoming students were very much like MacGyvers,” Gillette said. “They figure things out — great problem solving skills. They grew up on ranches, farms and know how to fix things. They get their hands dirty.”

The oil analysis company is the latest startup company to graduate from the University of Wyoming’s business incubator, the Wyoming Technology Business Center.

“The business center provided a very nice incubator environment,” he said. “We had access to a lot of resources.”

Whether it was 3-D printing, CNC machining or running test programs through a supercomputer, Gillette said the business incubator helped his company build a solid foundation.

The company’s new space at 3821 Beech St. is a considerable upgrade from its incubator quarters.

“We went from about 1,300 square feet to about 7,000,” Gillette said.

With a focus on preventative maintenance, Logilube Chief Technology Officer Charles Ogden said the company provides customers with “actionable information” about how their machinery lubricants are affecting operations.

“Anything that moves and spins and is made of metal has lubricant in it,” Ogden said. “Our goal is firstly to provide super early detection of (lubricant) breakdown or mechanical failure.

“And secondly, to provide insight about if you keep operating your machine this way and don’t change your oil when you’re supposed to … bad consequences will happen.”

While the basis of the idea is similar to an oil light on an automobile’s dashboard, Ogden said Logilube systems could provide much more than a simple notification about when to change a piece of machinery’s oil.

“The goal is to be so much more than an idiot light,” he said. “How many people drive around ignoring that for years? We’re all about providing a customer with information to act on that light.”

To accomplish those goals, Logilube provides customers with a series of systems such as SmartOil, SmartLab and SmartGear to monitor, analyze and record lubricant data for the customer.

“Traditional solutions aren’t solutions, they’re pieces of the puzzle,” Ogden said. “We offer our clients a solution set.”

Although the company focuses on lubricants, the data often provide machinery insight as well, he said.

“We discover problems with oil, and we discover problems with machinery,” Ogden said. “At this point, machinery problems are almost more common.”

The energy sector is home to most of the machinery Logilube analyzes.

“We cut our teeth in the oil and gas industry,” Ogden said. “But wind energy is our focal point right now.”

A self-described “gearhead,” Ogden said he’s been with the Logilube since the beginning.

“It’s quite the time — there’s a lot of energy behind us,” he said. “Our team is all under 30. They’re all young, and they’re all exceptional.”

With a hiring emphasis on Wyoming natives and UW graduates, Logilube attracted the attention of Gov. Matt Mead’s Economically Needed Diversity Options for Wyoming initiative.

Ogden said he and Gillette met with ENDOW coordinator Jeremiah Rieman to discuss the role of technology startups in the state’s economic diversification.

“Logilube is uniquely situated as a true high-tech company,” Ogden said. “Our roots are really in big data analysis. We’re one of the most promising technology offerings to help them create high-tech jobs.”

Currently, Logilube employs about 7 people and recruits interns from UW, but Gillette said the company is slated to continue growing.

“Before the end of this year, we’ll probably add five more people,” he said.

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