The pump industry relies on expertise from a large and varied range of specialists, from experts in particular pump types to those with an intimate understanding of pump reliability; and from researchers who delve into the particulars of pump curves to experts in pump efficiency. To draw upon the wealth of expert knowledge the Australian pump industry has to offer, Pump Industry has established a panel of experts to answer all your pumping questions.
This edition of Ask an Expert will look at digitalisation and its influence on the pump industry.
Q. How will smart pumps shape the future of the pump industry?
A: Innovations that shape the future and improve lives exist in all branches of industry, also in the progressive cavity pump market.
Here, smart pumps will be soon the “game-changer” and standard within many plants. The reasons for that are manifold: tough competition, the strive to increase efficiency and reduce TCO, as well as pumps installed at remote locations require smart pumps. All of them being able to monitor process-critical factors and reduce maintenance times to guarantee plant availability and productivity.
Q. How do manufacturers react to the situation? Which pumps, services and solutions are available?
A: Taken from daily life, progressive cavity pump manufacturers have established online shops as one of their first contact points when it comes to ordering spare parts. In addition, they have developed intelligent products, which complement innovative pump technology with new digital techniques, making the pumps more efficient.
Smart Air Injection and Smart Dosing Pumps are good examples for these kinds of products. However, only a few manufacturers are pursuing a more holistic approach. Modular solution networks control and monitor the pumps and optimise processes, maximise availability and reduce inspection and maintenance costs.
They range from digitally-supported maintenance via Virtual Reality, to digital pump management with easy spare parts ordering and data-based cloud services. The so-called Pump Monitor monitors operating data via sensors installed at the pump, thus permanently checking pressure, speed or temperature.
All of the generated data can be read in real time on a smartphone, tablet or in the control room. This allows predicting and planning maintenance works. Cloud-based condition monitoring solutions go one step further: continuous condition monitoring, planned and predictive maintenance, remote diagnostics or process optimisation – all this is provided by connected services.
Driven by the pandemic and travel restrictions, another trend has emerged. To support customers worldwide with optimal service, AR remote support tools have been established. Customers are guided via app and Augmented Reality through their maintenance work, reducing the need to send experts to the plants, thus increasing a number of prompt service solutions for the customers.
Q. What are the latest developments?
A: Every manufacturer should be setting a focus on digitalisation. Some have started to build their own business units for digitalisation, others focus on continuous product development.
One of the most outstanding developments however, seems to be Auto-Adjust concepts. The world’s first self-adjusting pump recently won a German Innovation Award and comes with a re-tensioning device which allows the stator to be adjusted automatically via a hydraulic unit, quite simply from a distance with a click of a button.
This newly developed range facilitates work on the pump while maximising energy savings and providing maintenance, shorter, faster, and easier than ever before. Remote locations are just a click away. Digital pumps will be the norm in a few years. The intelligent 4.0 solutions will make processes more flexible, dynamic and efficient.
The improved knowledge about the performance of pumps, the lower maintenance costs and ultimately the high operational reliability are unbeatable arguments that soon nobody will be able to ignore.
About the author
Peter Vila, Managing Director of SEEPEX Australia, is a progressive cavity pump expert. He has been involved with pumps for over 40 years. Peter spent the first five years repairing pumps and the following 35 years in technical sales, 20 of which have been with SEEPEX progressive cavity pumps.
For more information on progressive cavity pumps, please contact SEEPEX Australia on (02) 4355 4500 or at [email protected]