by Dushyant Mehra

Pumps & Systems, February 2008

Challenges for the Pump Market

A recent marketing survey found that 84.0 percent of satisfied customers would "jump ship" for a better deal if an opportunity arose. With markets becoming increasingly globalized, customer retention has become a critical part of business strategy. Companies need to ask themselves: What reason can I give this customer to stay, even if my competitor offers a cheaper price? The keys lie in keeping customers loyal to brands and products and ensuring a consistently outstanding customer experience.

What do pump industry manufacturers need to be aware of to keep their customers satisfied in the coming decades? Figure 1 below represents three themes that are going to impact the pumps market for the next 20 years.

Figure 1. Impacts on the Pump MarketConsolidation

The ongoing, global consolidation trend is likely to continue among major manufacturers in order to provide solution-based services along with products. This trend will also enable manufacturers to widen their product portfolio, thereby helping to reach a larger customer base. In turn, the pumps market will need to provide training programs and learn new cultures.


Global Climate Change

Given the frequent conversations on global warming, greenhouse gases and emission controls, the pumps market will need to respond with energy efficient pumps and zero emission features.

Demographic Changes

Across the globe we are seeing an aging population, a growing population in Asia Pacific and changes in the age ranges of countries. For instance, Japan's labor is expected to contract by 7 percent between 2007 and 2015 due to an aging population. On the other hand, India's teenage population (under 18) is expected to equal the population of the United States by 2050. This is going to impact the consumption and expenditure patterns for utilities as well as strain the existing infrastructure with the growing demand.

Digital Pumping Technologies

To satisfy all the above conditions, digital pumping technologies-asset management and condition monitoring technologies, advance project management practices and life-cycle costs evaluation-are becoming central in pumps procurement and deployment strategies globally. Among the technologies available include:

Asset Management (AM)

Asset management software and services include CMMS, PAM and EAM. With respect to end user applications, the oil and gas and power industries are expected to remain the major source of revenues for asset management markets.

Expected Benefits

  • Connectivity to condition-based monitoring systems
  • Web architected solutions that allow for decreased cost of implementation and ease of user access
  • Geographic developments easily monitored to capitalize on emerging opportunities
  • Industry-specific regulatory compliance and support

Conditioning Monitoring (CM)

CM uses advanced technologies to determine equipment condition and predict potential failure. CM is most frequently used as a predictive maintenance or condition-based maintenance technique. Manufacturers are expected to invest enormous effort to offer pump-monitoring systems to end users to ensure overall efficiency.  Pump-monitoring technology can follow pump trending, perform maintenance planning, use different types of sensors for monitoring and send data locally or to the pump manufacturer service center. Data transfer over the Internet is possible and pumps all around the world can be simultaneously monitored from one location.

The areas that can be monitored include vibration, suction pressure, discharge pressure, flow rate, lube oil temperature/pressure, motor amps, casing temperature, balance drum leak-off, seal drain, loss of prime, empty tank and clogged check valves.

Key Market Drivers

  • Integration of CM with Plant Asset Management/CMMS
  • Wireless technology to propel the future of condition monitoring
  • Trend toward online monitoring systems
  • Strong potential in the services and consulting market

Life Cycle Cost Analysis and Smart Pumps