They say good things come in tens: ten fingers, ten toes, ten drummers drumming and ten years of Pump Industry Magazine’s State of the Industry report. With the report hitting its double digit birthday, it’s important to reflect on not only the year that was and the year that will be, but the past few years that have gotten the industry to where it is today.

After its enormous global impact over the past few years, 2022 saw the COVID-19 outlook looking up, with the third and fourth vaccine shot made available to the public, the absence of lockdowns, and the long-awaited reopening of Australia’s international border to vaccinated tourists.

In spite of this, Australia and the industry continued to feel the aftershocks of COVID-19, with new variants emerging that delayed international travel’s return, and continuing strict lockdowns in China impacting the global supply chain. Climate change has been making itself known over the past few years, and none more so than 2022, when climate change was thrust into the global spotlight for the devastating effects it was having around the world.

Over the last 12 months, Australia registered its hottest ever temperature on record, Sydney had its wettest start to the year since records began, and Australia’s south east coast was lashed by the third La Nina weather event in as many years, with flooding affecting farming and bore pump sectors for businesses.

The trend of positive thinking for the year ahead that has emerged over the past few years continued in the latest State of the Industry survey, with many in the pump industry seemingly standing on firmer ground and looking towards 2023 slightly more confident and cautiously optimistic than previous years.

The overarching take away from the latest State of the Industry report is that the events of the last 12 months have not dampened industry spirits, with an overwhelming number of respondents seeing 2023 as brimming with opportunity, and the perfect chance to grow businesses and make headway on projects that have been delayed by COVID-19 over the past few years.

Figure 1: The vast majority of respondents have a positive outlook for 2022.

As is visible in Figure 1, a record-breaking majority of respondents reported possessing a positive outlook for their company in 2023 – 87.5 per cent to be exact – a slight increase from the 84.07 per cent of the previous year and a noteworthy jump from the 2021 and 2020 surveys, which indicated 69.56 and 68.25 per cent respectively.

This overwhelming majority could be attributed to the belief that the worst was over in terms of the pandemic. On equal footing, at 3.13 per cent, is the percentage of respondents who noted either a neutral outlook for the year ahead and those who indicated that they were uncertain.

The figure for respondents with a neutral outlook is down significantly from last year – perhaps due in part to individuals feeling confident and secure enough to adopt a stronger opinion on 2023 and what it holds. This comes contrary to an increase in respondents who are uncertain about the year ahead, rising from last year’s 0.88 per cent.

Concurrent with the increase in positivity for 2023, is the percentage of respondents who have reported a negative outlook for the year ahead, which has also increased, growing from 0.88 per cent last year to the most recent figure of 6.25 per cent. Despite this increase in negative outlook, the current percentage is still lower than it was during the throes of COVID-19 in 2020 and 2021.

Although there appears to be plenty of factors that could contribute to the overwhelmingly positive outlook for 2023, some of the things that may have contributed to the increase in negative outlooks for the year ahead is the ongoing effects of climate change, the fluctuations of the Australian dollar, inflation, and the uncertainty and effects borne from the Ukraine-Russia war.

Evaluating company performance for 2022

The performance of their company over the past year likely heavily influenced whether respondents indicated expectations for company performance when looking towards the next year.

Although 2022 was plagued by the Ukraine-Russia war, unprecedented weather events and the ongoing effects of COVID-19, only 6.25 per cent of survey respondents (Figure 2) indicated that the performance of their company had fallen short of expectations for the year.


This number is in line with the decreasing trend of company performance falling short of expectations, down

Figure 2: Most respondents reported performance expectations for their companies met or exceeded expectations in 2022.

from 14.16 per cent in 2021 and 2020’s 42.75 per cent. Although some companies have learned to adapt to the new COVID-19 ‘normal’, there are still respondents who are yet to fully experience the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, especially in locations affected by La Nina.

One respondent said “weather and COVID held up projects” when providing a reason for company performance falling short, with another respondent noting “too many suppliers, not enough customers and low pricing” as the cause for their company not meeting expectations.

The remaining number of respondents were split 50/50 – with 46.88 per cent apiece saying their company’s performance over the last year either met or exceeded expectations. Those that indicated that their company met expectations listed “strong sales figures around the country”, “company ownership changes, some personnel changes, refocusing on core business opportunities” and “new development happened successfully” as some of the reasons expectations were met.

Widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines allowed for the relaxing of strict lockdowns.

Multiple respondents have attributed their company meeting expectations to thorough preparation, with one respondent saying “previous excellent pre-planning and preparedness for material and components supply chain issues” was a key factor, and another saying their company “planned for positive growth and achieved it”.

Although the most recent figure of businesses who met expectations has reduced from 2021’s 57.52 per cent and 32.61 percent in 2020, this may not be a bad thing and instead may be due to the significant increase in businesses who exceeded their performance expectation, growing from 28.32 per cent in 2021 (Figure 2).

This can likely be attributed to the continued utilisation of COVID strategies and coping mechanisms, with companies now well-adjusted and accustomed to operating in a post-pandemic world, learning to adapt and accommodate for supply chain disturbances, filling gaps in the market, and turning their focus to increasing their company name within Australia.

Several respondents indicated that a backlog from previous COVID delays has caused their company performance to exceed expectations, with one respondent noting “COVID delayed many projects and tender decisions” but “over the past six to eight months [we] have experienced a progressive improvement”.

Another respondent said, “Our order book has grown significantly – this is partially due to the delays in shipping resulting in delays in building and supplying pushing us back in the first quarter 22.”

Additionally, multiple respondents simply said “more sales” was the area that pushed companies to exceed expectations, with one respondent pinpointing that “demand has exploded” and another saying “strong project sales” had a huge impact. Another respondent noted that for some companies to exceed expectations, it was as easy as returning to the basics; in other words “great product, great customer service, good delivery times, growing brand awareness in Australia”.

The outlook for the pump industry in 2023

Figure 3: Most respondents believe 2023 will be a positive year for the industry.

Unsurprisingly, respondents’ feelings about whether or not 2023 would be a good year was influenced by their company’s performance over the past year, among other things. Although the State of the Industry respondents had shown an overwhelming sense of positivity in regards to company outlook for 2023, there was less positivity towards the future of the pump industry as a whole in 2023, with only 62.5 per cent adopting a positive mindset for the year ahead (Figure 3).

This is a minute decrease from 2021’s 62.83 per cent, but still higher than the percentages of years 2020, 2019 and 2018. The percentage of people with a negative attitude towards the pump industry’s 2023 grew from 0.88 per cent in 2021 to the current recent figure of 3.13 per cent.

Despite the increase in those with a negative outlook, the percentage is still lower than it was during the years of strict COVID lockdowns. This could be indicative of new issues companies have begun facing instead of the knock on effects of COVID-19, including inflation, the unprecedented natural disasters, and the Ukraine-Russia war.

The percentage of respondents with a neutral outlook towards the pump industry in 2023 is 31.25 per cent – the highest it’s been since 2020. On the other hand, the percentage of people with an uncertain outlook for 2023 sits at 3.13 per cent, a significant decrease from 2021’s 19.47 per cent and the lowest figure of the last four years.

This indicates that a great deal of the uncertainty that companies faced due to the pandemic has vanished, with companies instead gauging the future based on 2022 performances and other factors to draw their own conclusions about what may come in the year ahead.



Expected and reported sector growth

Figure 4: As expected water and wastewater, irrigation and mining were the best performing sectors for 2022.

In order to determine how key verticals are expected to perform in the year ahead, it is essential to analyse and understand sector performance throughout the last year. Survey respondents were asked to provide details about the volume of work experienced over key verticals – including mining, water and wastewater, and irrigation – over the last 12 months.

These results were then compared alongside the responses gathered from last year’s State of the Industry. It’s important to keep in mind that at the time industry sector predictions were made for 2022, optimism for COVID-19 recovery was buoyed by the rollout of vaccines, the approval of a booster vaccine for COVID-19, as well as the planned announcement that fully vaccinated Australian citizens and permanent residents would be able to leave Australia without needing an outwards travel exemption.

With all of this influential progress, survey respondents expected that performance in all industry sectors would grow, with the largest increases expected for water and wastewater, mining, and irrigation – all of which were slated to increase or increase significantly.

Figure 4: As expected water and wastewater, irrigation and mining were the best performing sectors for 2022. As depicted in Figure 4, except for plastics and rubber, all of the performance figures reported for 2022 fell short of expectations.

Water and wastewater was the highest performing sector over the last 12 months according to respondents, a result that is in line with survey respondents’ predictions. Other front-runners included mining – also predicted by respondents – and food and beverage, a surprising result when compared to respondents’ expectations and especially when compared to 2021 performance, which saw food and beverage performance decrease.

The worst performing sectors were pulp and paper, plastics and rubber, chemicals and pharmaceuticals, and power generation, with pulp and paper once again prevailing as the worst performing sector, in line with the performance results of 2021.

However, unlike 2021, which saw performance decrease in three industry sectors, 2022 industry sector performance only decreased for pulp and paper – although overall performance for this sector was better in 2022 than 2021.

Figure 5: How growth across sectors tracked in 2022 compared to recent years, and expectations for 2023.

In Figure 5, the trends of sector performance can be seen over the last few years, with expected performance for 2023 also included.

Continuing on the theme of optimism, respondents expect growth across all sectors for 2023, with water and wastewater once again the predicted front runner. Other sectors where respondents expect performance growth are irrigation, mining, oil and gas, and – despite not performing as well as expected in 2022 – food and beverage.

Figure 6: Most sectors are expected to perform better in 2023 than they did in 2022.

Sector growth predictions for the year ahead

Due to the diversity of sectors and businesses within the pump industry and across respondents’ businesses, trends and events across the industry affected businesses differently.

Survey respondents were asked to indicate trends, positive or negative, that had impacted their business over the last 12 months, as well as their expected impact over the year ahead. Many highlighted the investment in new infrastructure as a positive trend, as well as new projects and the uptake of new technologies.

Respondents indicated that growth in certain sectors directly relating to businesses – including food and beverage, and water and wastewater –as a positive trend affecting business. Despite there being some businesses that noted COVID-19 had a positive impact to their business, the overwhelming majority of respondents noted it had a negative impact throughout 2022.

As can be seen in Figure 7, as predicted in the 2022 State of the Industry report, supply chain, freight and pricing issues did linger in 2022, as well as new issues and negative trends arising from global events.

Factors respondents expect to have a negative impact on the industry in 2023 include the value of the Australian dollar, interest rates, commodities prices, and the Ukraine-Russia war and the resulting increase in energy prices. Closer to home, unsurprisingly, many pinpointed unprecedented weather patterns, including La Nina weather events and the resulting floods as having a significant negative impact on business, which respondents expect to continue into 2023.

Additionally, results indicated that the labour and skill shortage and “lack of qualified human resources” was also having a negative effect on businesses. Among factors that most respondents expected to have a positive impact were new technologies and innovations, agricultural industry, the performance of the mining industry, and the major projects approved and/or underway.

Analysing predicted impact of potential factors

Figure 7: A range of different factors are expected to affect the pump industry during 2023.

Ukraine-Russia war

The effects of the Ukraine-Russia war were felt throughout the world over the course of 2022. Countries around the world are placing new sanctions on Russia, and the European Union has agreed to a plan to block two thirds of Russia’s oil, resulting in soaring energy prices – for both oil and gas. Shockwaves were also felt by the global freight logistics system, with rising energy prices resulting in an increase in shipping costs and supply chain delays worldwide.

Global iron ore markets continue to experience fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and with Ukraine’s typical supply chains disrupted or blocked by Russian forces, iron ore exports have taken a nosedive in recent months. As one of the top five exporters of LNG in the world, Australia’s LNG export earnings have risen throughout the year and are expected to continue to rise as a result of the Russia-Ukraine war continuing to place pressure on LNG prices.

Buyers in Europe are scrambling for uncontracted LNG cargoes to supplement loss following Russia’s interruption of gas flow to Europe, which in turn could result in Asian customers having to compete for available LNG. Australia’s LNG earnings rely quite heavily on whether or not Russia restores European gas flows – if the LNG flow continues to be reduced, Australia’s earnings will rise.

Unprecedented weather and floods

The La Nina weather systems have battered Australia’s south east coast, producing higher than average rainfall and resulting in extreme flooding in certain areas, with Southern Queensland and northern New South Wales at one point each receiving more than a year’s worth of rainfall in a week.

Many communities and councils around Australia have turned to the pump industry, seeking assistance to mitigate the effects of the floods and as a way to prepare and safeguard against future weather events. The New South Wales Government committed $145 million in funding for the repair and upgrade of critical water and sewerage infrastructure – including pump stations – damaged by floods across the Northern Rivers area. The works are set to make permanent repairs to damaged infrastructure as well as upgrade to future-proof the critical infrastructure.

Growth in infrastructure investment

Survey respondents indicated that investment in new infrastructure was a positive trend helping businesses thrive during 2022. This infrastructure investment is set to continue into the new year, especially following the 2022-23 Federal Budget, which is set to deliver more than $2 billion to water security and infrastructure projects.

The Russia-Ukraine war has resulted in global supply chain disruption and increasing energy prices.

Investment in water security and infrastructure to future-proof water accessibility in the face of population growth and climate change include the following:

• $600 million towards the Paradise Dam Improvement project in Queensland
• $107.5 million towards the Cairns Water Security – Stage 1 project in Queensland
• $3.5 million towards the Mount Morgan Water Supply project in Queensland
• $12.5 million towards groundwater improvement and water efficiency in the lower Burdekin, Queensland
• $11.5 million towards strategic planning for improving water security in Queensland
• $8.0 million in additional funding towards Big Rocks Weir in Queensland
• $100.0 million towards the Pipeline to Prosperity Tranche 3 projects in Tasmania
• $300.6 million towards the Darwin Region Water Supply – Stage 1 in the Northern Territory
• $7.1 million towards the Adelaide River Science project in the Northern Territory
• $23.0 million towards the Nyngan to Cobar Pipeline – Stage 1 in New South Wales

On a state and territory level, New South Wales committed to the biggest spend, pledging a $1.1 billion investment into the state’s water resources to ensure sustainable and secure water in the changing climate.

Projects funded include maintaining assets within the Hunter Valley Flood Mitigation Scheme to help minimise flood risk; improving critical water supply infrastructure for the towns of Wilcannia and Cobar; and for its Off-Farm Efficiency Program.

Queensland followed up with a commitment of $510 million for water infrastructure and planning projects to improve water security for the state’s communities and provide economic growth and job opportunities.

Projects that received funding include the Toowoomba to Warwick Pipeline; Stage One of the Cairns Water Security program; construction of a drinking water pipeline from Gracemere to Mt Morgan; and the development of Flinders Shire Council’s Hughenden Water Bank project.

Victoria pledged $112 million to manage water sustainably into the future – maintaining green spaces, supporting farmers, and securing the drinking water supply.

IIoT is opening new doorways for the pump industry as pump operators look to improve the sustainability and efficiency of their systems.

The critical skills and labour shortage

Despite Australia’s international borders reopening to welcome visa holders, respondents have flagged the labour and skills shortage as something that has negatively impacted the industry.

In October 2022, the National Skills Commission released its 2022 Skills Priority List (SPL), which provides an indepth look at occupations in shortage and the future demand for occupations in Australia. The SPL looked at occupations in shortage during 2022 but not 2021, occupations in shortage for both 2022 and 2021, and occupations in shortage during 2021 but no longer in shortage in 2022.

Among the occupations in shortage in 2022 that were not in shortage in 2021 are mechanical engineering draftspersons and technicians, and electronics engineers. Occupations in shortage across both 2021 and 2022 include electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, and airconditioning and mechanical services plumbers.

Notably, the SPL highlighted shortages within the Technicians and Trades Workers occupation groups, with almost half (47 per cent) of all occupations within this group experiencing a shortage in 2022. According to State of the Industry responses, it seems that respondents across different organisations in the pump industry were feeling the effects of the occupation shortages.

Respondents said the labour shortage and having to compete with the mining industry boom had created a “bidding war”, significantly increasing labour rates and inflating salaries. Respondents leaned towards two solutions to combat labour shortage impacts for 2023: attracting more people into the industry domestically and increasing skilled worker immigration caps.

One respondent said the pump industry should “start apprenticeships for [the] industry to coax young people into it” and not charge huge learning prices, all of which needs to be implemented at a government level. As noted by another respondent, the government should focus on campaigns to “encourage people into trades instead of university”, allowing domestic workers to “train up quickly”.

However, this highlighted a separate problem; the lack of trade recognition in the pump industry. According to one respondent, “if a trade recognition was available in pumping (ie trade, like a plumber) it may attract more younger people into our industry”.

In an effort to combat this skills shortage at a domestic level, the 2022-23 Federal Budget committed $550 million to fee-free TAFE and an additional 20,000 university places, from the $1 billion National Skills Agreement, jointly funded by state and territory governments.

Additionally, the Federal Government is also delivering 180,000 fee-free TAFE and vocational education places, with extra support for participation of women and other disadvantaged groups.

Queensland is taking action to address this skills shortage, with a new, independent board, fuelled by a $16.5 million Queensland Government investment over three years, forming and having its first meeting. The Board of Manufacturing Skills Queensland (MSQ) seeks to provide manufacturers across the state with essential support to access the skilled workers the industry needs to continue its impressive growth.

Queensland Minister for Training and Skills Development, Dianne Farmer, said the State Government is committed to driving Queensland’s manufacturing industry to new heights. “Manufacturing delivers $20 billion a year to the state’s economy, and we are determined to help the industry thrive by providing evidence-based advice and local insights on the broad range of manufacturing needs across Queensland.”

Ms Farmer said MSQ directs future skills strategies by tracking and analysing manufacturing supply chains and industry needs and trends, by combining engagement with industry and training providers and research to develop annual training plans and recognised skills pathways.

According to Ms Farmer, a workforce with skills tailored to industry needs is essential to future growth. “Manufacturing Skills Queensland will review training for workers and small and medium businesses to help them build skills and capability,” Ms Farmer said.

The other way respondents noted to combat the lack of skilled workers was through outsourcing skilled labour from overseas. One respondent said “the government must allow for a significant increase in immigration”, with another saying that to stop the skills shortage holding the industry back, the “government should ease migrant restrictions further for skilled workers”.

While the permanent migration cap increase that was announced at the Federal Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit September 2022, from 160,000 to 195,000, is a step in the right direction, more of a focus on “skilled immigration programs” is crucial to keep the industry thriving in 2023.

The final months of 2022 have seen international border relaxations around the world and there is an expectation the relaxations may result in an influx of visa holders to Australia.

A positive outlook for the agricultural industry

Although torrential downpours and floods have caused devastation across the country, the increased rainfall may just be what the agricultural sector needs, providing critical rainfall to help crops and farms thrive after years of drought. On the topic of the future of the agricultural industry in 2023, more respondents expect it to have a positive effect on the pump industry than a negative effect.

This could be due to a variety of reasons, including farmers needing pump equipment to mitigate the effects of flooding and extreme rainfall. As with other sectors that could impact the pump industry, the agricultural industry is set to benefit from significant funding allocations announced in the 2022-23 Federal Budget.

These include $500 million to the agriculture sector through the National Reconstruction Fund, $1.1 billion to increase connectivity in regional and rural Australia, and $111.3 million through targeted grants to stimulate regional manufacturing, including funding to expand food manufacturing capability and capacity across Australia.

Despite this, the latest results from the Rabobank Rural Confidence survey has shown that for the first time since December 2019, rural confidence around Australia has moved into negative territory. Even keeping in mind the high rainfall and fantastic commodity prices of the last two years, a large number of farmers believe conditions are set to worsen over the coming year, rather than improve.

This could be attributed to concern that commodity prices will fall, the rising cost of farm inputs – like fuel, fertiliser, energy and building materials – and the amplified risk of foot and mouth disease. Rabobank Australia CEO, Peter Knoblanche, while the Australian farm sector faced several uncertainties over the coming months, levels of farm sector investment were still encouraging, albeit down on last quarter, demonstrating a longer-term optimism in agriculture.

“The latest survey revealed 25 per cent of farmers nationally were looking to further increase investment in their farm businesses (although this was down from 40 per cent at the start of 2022). A further 60 per cent also plan to maintain current levels of investment, which is a positive sign”, Mr Knoblanche said.

The survey findings over 2022 pointed to a growing trend of farmers investing in new technology – planned by 44 per cent of those increasing investment in their farm business this quarter. A total of 71 per cent of those increasing the spend on their business said on-farm infrastructure was a priority, followed by new plant and equipment purchases.

And almost one quarter of those farmers nationally looking to increase investment are planning to expand their enterprises through property purchase (a similar level to last quarter). Although Australia’s farming and agricultural sector appears to be in a healthy financial state, there are several challenging factors tainting the previously positive outlook. Only time will tell what effect these factors will have on the pump industry in 2023.

2023: Another mining boom?

Despite the significant investment in the mining industry and critical minerals, respondents remain divided on whether or not they expect another mining boom to occur in the future. The 2022 Federal Budget announced a commitment of more than $150 million towards critical minerals projects, to be informed by the forthcoming National Critical Minerals Strategy.

This commitment includes an initial four-year spend of $50.5 million towards the new Australian Critical Minerals Research and Development Hub, alongside a three year commitment to the $50 million Critical Minerals Development Program, building on a recent $50 million investment in six critical minerals projects.

One survey respondent flagged a potential climb in “the exotic mining sector for battery production e.g. lithium” as a key sector which will see growth in 2023. This prediction is not too left-of-field, with Australia the world’s largest lithium producer, and latest figures forecast the value of lithium exports are due to increase more than tenfold over two years, from $1.1 billion in 2020-21 to almost $14 billion in 2022-23, with continued growth over future years.

Additionally, a projection by the International Energy Agency showed a potential growth of at least 30 times to 2040 of mineral demand for use in electric vehicles and battery storage. Around the country, state and territory governments are also throwing their weight behind growth in critical minerals.

In Queensland, recent amendments were made to legislation, with the Coal Mining Safety and Health and Other Legislation Amendment Bill now allowing for the deferment of rents for specific critical minerals projects, which includes some in the prominent Northwest Minerals Province. It’s expected that rent deferrals such as this will attract new investment in critical minerals and fasttrack projects.

Additionally, a discussion paper released by Queensland Resources Minister, Scott Stewart, suggested speeding up project approvals as a way to change how exploration for critical minerals is run. This is on top of $79.6 million in funding allocated in the state budget to help grow and diversify the resources industry, an additional $40 million for new economy minerals to support good jobs and encourage economic opportunities for Gladstone; and $68.5 million to drive key actions from the newly released Queensland Resources Industry Development Plan and boost the state’s resources industry.

Mechanical engineers are included in the occupations experiencing shortages throughout 2022.

Other states are following suit, with New South Wales announcing a $1.6 billion package to set the state up as a major investment destination for critical minerals mining and advanced manufacturing; more than $17 million allocated in the Victorian budget to mining and exploration; and funding from the South Australian Government for to digitise and automate exploration and mining related approvals, and facilitate the delivery of sustainable water to the Gawler Craton.

Another factor contributing to a potential mining boom is the global move to diversify the supply chain. The global supply chain of certain critical minerals has always been heavily reliant on a select few countries. For a long time China has held a position of dominance across critical minerals supply chains, but there is growing concern that dependence on China for these minerals may create energy security risks.

Additionally, tensions between countries and COVID-19 disruptions have led nations to build their own critical minerals supply chains. In July 2022, Australia participated in The Global Supply Chain Resilience Forum, working to build supply chain resilience. The forum was also attended by members from countries including the UK, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, India, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A new partnership between Australia and Japan will see the development of a supply chain for critical minerals. The Critical Minerals Partnership will boost opportunities for information sharing and collaboration, including research, investment and commercial arrangements between Japan and Australian projects, as well as building a secure critical minerals supply chain between Australia and Japan.

Opportunities for the pump industry going forward

Pumps and storage

As the world – and Australia – turns to a greener, environmentally-friendlier way of living, generating energy and storing energy, pumped hydro is the word on everyone’s lips and, as the name suggests, pumps play an essential role.

Throughout 2022 the Federal Government and state and territory governments have continued to investigate the feasibility of pumped hydro storage around the country. The New South Wales Government pledged $97.5 million to accelerate pumped hydro projects that could fastrack the state to reach its goal of building at least 2GW of new long duration storage by 2030.

Additionally, the Queensland Government has committed to developing the world’s largest pumped hydro scheme, in its $62 billion Queensland Energy and Jobs Plan, in a bid to help secure the diverse energy system and clean energy storage essential to the state’s future. These kinds of large-scale projects are set to unlock new potential for the pump industry.

Flood-proofing against an unknown future

Flood-affected areas and regions throughout Australia have turned to the pump industry for help in their time of need, utilising pump services to mitigate the effects of La Nina and frequent flooding over the past 12 months. This kind of reactive asset management – although crucial – is only half of the equation. Councils and cities across the country are adopting a more proactive approach and looking to flood-proof assets and build resilience to natural disasters and the impact of climate change.

Among these is Tweed Shire Council which is looking to build a new pump station in flood-affected Murwillumbah, to help ensure the community is better prepared for and protected from potential flooding. This kind of proactive natural disaster preparation could prove beneficial for the pump industry in 2023 as supply for pumps increases, and in turn leads to an increase in future maintenance and repairs.

Technology spurring efficiency

Cutting edge IIoT is expected to continue to change the realms of possibility for the pump industry, specifically motor-driven, peristaltic and solenoid pump applications involved in processes, from swimming pools to wastewater and cooling water treatment.

Pump operators looking to improve the sustainability and efficiency of their systems are increasingly turning to web-enabled pump systems, with its vast water treatment applications – PH correction, coagulation and flocculation to name a few.

A key way that IIoT is changing the industry is through the live document sharing function, which enables manufacturers to update digital manuals and installation guides to reflect software or design changes, with the latest versions uploaded to the cloud. This allows manufacturers to save costs on, among other things, printing and distribution of the revised manuals.

IoT systems also provide unparalleled insight into the equipment operation, consistently receiving data from pump sensors that are constantly monitoring and collecting data on things like vibration, chemical consumption and cycle status. This constant monitoring also proves to be exceptionally valuable as IoT technology allows the performance and status of specific pump components such as bearings, couplings and belts to be assessed, meaning operators receive advanced warnings if equipment is faulty or needs to be replaced.

New IoT systems allow users to receive smartphone notifications if defects are detected or if faults occur, in turn improving the efficiency of equipment repair, maintenance and upgrade planning and mitigating inconvenient and expensive downtime. This also helps to drive aftermarket sales for suppliers.

Looking ahead to the next 12 months

While COVID-19 recovery continues, the past 12 months dished out a range of curveballs and global events, none of which were possible to plan for. Despite this, pump industry individuals refuse to be deterred from looking ahead with a positive, confident and optimistic outlook.

As the State of the Industry celebrates its first decade, there’s one thing that the last year – and in fact the last few years have shown and that is that it’s impossible to anticipate the challenges and speed bumps of the year ahead.

However the pump industry has shown that it is flexible, adaptable and persistent. The State of the Industry report has shown pump industry individuals to be optimistic and determined to make the most of the opportunities provided in the year ahead to grow their businesses, build their customer base and exceed expectations.

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