How has FSA grown and changed through the years?
Pete Petrunich: Today, FSA is a marked departure from the time of its inception, both in size and focus. Historically, the focus was heavily on member networking. Initially, FSA served as an effective forum for the exchange of information important to member businesses, which were primarily located in the U.S. and then extended to all of North America.
Geographically with time, FSA has broadened its scope to international membership and a more global focus. This process was enhanced when ESA was established in 1992. Increased collaboration with the ESA on a wide range of issues—from standards to publications—served to energize a more global approach to common issues.
During the last 15 years, FSA more rapidly transitioned from a forum for information exchange to one more technically focused on key sealing-related issues—such as meeting or exceeding emissions requirements, energy efficiency, safety and equipment reliability. This complements the needs of the user community and the changing value proposition of the members.
Changes were implemented through a broad range of FSA missions—standards, education and training. Industry consolidations also affected the growth of the organization enhancing the need to be more responsive to all member needs and values.
Strategic plans developed throughout the last 10 years more effectively focused on the needs of the members and provided greater value to the user community. These provided direction for the necessary changes. Since the plans also included metrics, a more structured approach to implementation of the FSA Mission, such as education, has been made possible. This has improved the association in many ways.
More timely industry consensus responses are being provided, including tighter environmental regulations, health and safety requirements and energy efficiency. Technologies and best practices are also being communicated and introduced more timely and effectively through direct interaction with industry user-manufacturer groups, such as the nuclear power FLMUG and petroleum/chemical process based Pressure Vessel Research Council-Sealine Reliability Council (PVRC-SRC).
What are some of the positive impacts of FSA’s efforts?
Pete Petrunich: FSA contributes materially to the development of more reliable and readily implementable standards published by trade organizations such as the API and 3-A Sanitary Standards. The contributions also extend beyond North America because of our close collaboration with the ESA.
Collaboration with the British Pump Manufacturers Association (BPMA) on the development of an energy efficiency-related ISO standard is one example. FSA standards have served as the basis for, or a component of, the more highly visible American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) and American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) standards. This means a timelier introduction to the market since some or all of the base work on the standard has already been completed by the FSA.
Technical educational material, such as the mechanical seal and compression packing manuals, help supplement webinars and short courses focused on the pump industry. This happens either directly or as the basis for other pump industry group training efforts, such as those of HI.
Members of FSA provide the presentation material and make the presentations. Courses also are held at venues convenient to attendance by the members of the pump industry, such as the Texas A&M Pump Users Symposium. Webinars have served to provide awareness of issues not fully apparent to the industry, such as the role of sealing systems in energy efficiency improvements.
The recently updated FSA Life Cycle Cost Estimator Tool has given the pump industry a convenient way to more effectively determine what sealing systems provide the lowest total cost of ownership. This invaluable software is available for free from the FSA website, as are FSA standards and access to other educational materials. They underscore FSA’s commitment to providing accessible sealing industry consensus education.
Pumps & Systems, April 2012