While the Australian pump industry today may not be the manufacturing powerhouse it once was, several pump manufacturers continue to produce pumps in Australia – for domestic use, and for export – and there are several hundred companies which import, resell or supply product to industry.
There are more than 2,500 people employed directly by pump manufacturers and as many again by agents, distributors and other businesses supplying product and services to the pump market.
Whilst their sales represent a large dollar value, the relatively small size of the Australian market (in world terms) has resulted in businesses becoming very sophisticated and efficient in their operations. This has resulted in innovations utilising the latest technology.
The Australian market has also benefited from the emergence of many new businesses representing the ever increasing range of pump products becoming available from overseas.
Pump users in Australia have been very demanding and have played a valuable part in driving the development of the local industry towards the strong position it occupies today.
As demand changes, a healthy industry will react quickly and this is to be seen as the publicly-owned utilities for power generation, water supply and wastewater disposal become corporatised or privatised. Pump suppliers operate in a highly competitive environment and have had to exhibit the flexibility to absorb changes in their marketplace if they are to survive.
The next generation of pump professionals
The importance of training the next generation of pump professionals cannot be overstated, according to PIA Councillor Keith Sanders. “While it is evident that fewer bare shaft pumps are actually made in Australia, the demand for pumps increases year on year according to market statistics.
“This means, at the very least, we need to know how to evaluate submissions and ensure there is adequate capability to service and maintain that equipment in future. Otherwise we will be importing this expertise from overseas suppliers at great expense somewhere down the track.
“We owe it to the next generation of pump engineers, whether they be on the supply side or the user side, to provide them with the skills and experience to make good procurement decisions. This means setting aside some funds for structured training programs, both theoretical and practical, delivered by people that know what they are talking about.”