International Construction report on pumps
By Chris Sleight14 November 2012
At first glance, the industrial pump may seem a fairly simple and unchanging device – humbly working in the background, tirelessly keeping construction sites dry or pushing slurry through a pipeline.
But the demands placed on these machines are huge, and closer inspection reveals a dynamic and growing market in which manufacturers are constantly developing new technology to stay ahead of the competition.
Not only are site dewatering and slurry pumps expected to be robust and reliable enough to pump high volumes of material for days at a time, they are also expected to be fully portable, easy to maintain and increasingly energy efficient.
Competition between manufacturers in the industry was also strong at the moment. New commercial developments in the sector – the establishment of Xylem last year, for instance, which was launched as a spin off from the water-related businesses of ITT Corporation – has meant that a flurry of new products and services has been introduced.
Xylem has also announced expansions of it dewatering business in several locations this year, including Brazil, Australia, Vietnam, Panama and France.
The company’s Flygt and Godwin pumps are being used for the Panama Canal expansion project, supporting dredging and construction work, while it is also investing in its rental networks, with France and Australia being just two current examples.
Pioneer Pump is also expanding, and plans to open a new pump assembly plant in the Middle East. The new 1000 m2 facility – likely to be in Sharjah, UAE – will help the company meet growing demand for its pumps in the region.
The investment in the Middle East came after US-based Franklin Electric acquired a 70% stake of the entire Pioneer Pump business. Franklin Electric, based in Indiana, acquired a 35% stake in Pioneer in 2005 and has now doubled that shareholding. The deal will see Franklin acquire the final 30% share of Pioneer in the first quarter of 2015.
Meanwhile, the largest market for Tsurumi Europe at the moment is Eastern Europe, according to product manager Stefan Himmelsbach.
“Poland and Russia are both big developing markets,” he said. “We have many established dealers in Western Europe, and in Eastern Europe we are currently building up a new network. We want dealers targeting the construction and slurry pumping market in Russia, Croatia, Serbia – really throughout this region.”
Meanwhile, one of the most recent product developments in the site dewatering and slurry pump industry has been a focus on remote monitoring technology, as the trend for telematics systems spreads to every corner of the construction equipment market.
This has been an area of focus for ArcGen Hilta. The company’s new C150 Pro-Flo, 152 mm centrifugal single vacuum assisted priming pump will be available with a remote monitoring option when it is launched later this year.
ArgGen Hilta business development manager for pumps Martin Dickson said the pump was currently being trialled in various applications.
“A telematics option is important, particularly if a pump is working 24/7 unmanned – it allows real-time control, problem solving and efficiency monitoring,” Mr Dickson said.
Targeted at the construction market, the C150 Pro-Flo is also said to offer considerable cost savings thanks to its high performance and low fuel usage. It can handle solids up to 80 mm diameter, and is also fully portable.
Protecting the environment is also a growing concern for manufacturers, and Thompson Pump’s latest new models – a new compact pump series, based on its JSC pumps but -35% smaller and -20% lighter – feature its Enviroprime priming system.
Enviroprime prevents discharges into the environment using hoses that carry liquids back to the source. The new models can also be fitted with an automatic stop/start function as well as the company’s Silent Knight noise reduction kit.
Despite the reduced size, the compact pumps – which come in 102 mm and 152 mm models – are said to offer the same performance as the standard pumps, and feature fuel tanks that can run for 24 hours.
There is increasing demand for silencers and low-noise units for use on applications where noise must be kept to a minimum – for instance on jobs in urban areas when pumps are left running 24 hours a day.
Griffin has also looked into environmental concerns and developed a new Silent Pac pump enclosure option which is available for several models, depending on the job type, and produces a noise level that is less than 70 db at 7 m.
The Silent Pac enclosure is designed to provide full secondary containment and has been engineered for durability, ease of operation and maintenance.
Griffin has also further expanded its range with an electric driven mode of its Wellpoint dewatering pumps, which are traditionally diesel driven. The 6WPRE is an automatic, portable dewatering pump that can deliver 1500 gallons per minute. It is also said to operate quietly and be environmentally friendly.
Grindex, meanwhile, is launching a complete revamp of its Micro, Mini and Solid submersible pumps, with flow rates of 4, 6, and 7 litres/second, respectively, and pumping heads of up to 10, 16 and 12 m.
Serviceability is also said to be easier, with the Mini and Solid pumps fitted with external oil plugs, which means they do not need to be disassembled to check the oil.
The Solid sludge pump can handle solids up to the size of 38 mm, and the Mini now also replaces the older Macro pump, but with a +20% better performance, according to Grindex.
Other manufacturers are also focusing on squeezing more power into smaller packages, and several other new pumps have been launched that claim to deliver more but weigh less.
Pumpex, for instance, has expanded its range with a new high head dewatering pump, the P3001 SH. Powered by a 9.4 kW motor, it delivers over 80 m of head but weighs just 67 kg.
Like the rest of the pumps in the Pumpex dewatering series – which covers the 0.48 kW to 56 kW motor sizes – a key feature in the new P3001 SH is its modular design, providing easy service and maintenance access.
BBA Pumps has also expanded its BA auto-prime pump range with the introduction of E-style impellers for its BA100 (102 mm), BA150 (152 mm) and the BA200 (203 mm) models.
Available in diesel or electric drive, in open frames or as fully sound attenuated units, the 152 mm pumps now offer a flow capacity of up to 490 m3/h. BBA claims this is the performance of a 203 mm pump in a 152 mm package.
A lot of time and effort goes in to developing new site dewatering and slurry pumps that are expected to work untiringly in the background on construction sites around the world. As well as improving weight-to-capacity ratios, it looks likely that telematics and remote monitoring systems will feature more and more in this industry in the coming years.