More than 30 industry leaders answered key questions about the pump marketplace in 2017. The Pumps & Systems editorial team selected excerpts from their responses to help you prepare for the new year.

Editor's note: For more content from selected industry leaders, click on the orange highlighted names below.

What are the most important innovations for 2017 in instrumentation, controls and monitoring?
“SCADA systems have been around for decades. Much data has been collected, but most goes unused, sitting in data silos. The advent of smart water systems marks a change in direction of how data can help further improve decision support. Look to see these types of intelligence-gathering investments better leveraged in 2017, driven in part by the use of advanced analytics from data collected via the IIoT from pumps, valves and bearings. Information acquired from these devices will increasingly let operators visualize what is happening in the field and, when things are not in order, provide alarms faster to elicit an appropriate response.”
Rudy Engert
Business Development Manager for Infrastructure, Schneider Electric

“The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to deliver increased efficiencies, fewer product defects and improved customer satisfaction for those companies that implement an IoT system. For 2017, this will be significant as recent market research indicates that 87 percent of manufacturers still have not implemented an IoT system, and 95 percent of companies plan to in the next three years. While IoT is significant for the manufacture of the IoT architecture, more important is the intrinsic commercial value for companies who deploy IoT. The unique value-added services that an IoT system offers customers improve intimacy and brand loyalty than any single product can deliver on its own.”
Michael Robinson
National Marketing Manager - Projects, Solutions & Services, Endress+Hauser

“As industrial manufacturing instrumentation and control systems have increased in complexity, optimizing performance or solving problems with these modern systems is becoming a bigger challenge. Innovations in modular measurement sensors and cloud data analysis are just beginning to help make sense of these systems.”
Hilton Hammond
Power Quality Business Unit Manager, Fluke

“Much of the market is eager to see continued development and implementation of equipment fitted with interactive instrumentation for controlled operations. A goal for many of our clients—especially those who operate multiple units spread across a large area—is to reduce operational costs and increase their own efficiency by:

  • Eliminating the need to hunt for mechanical failures that may have already occurred in the field by zeroing in on problems via remote monitoring technology before ever deploying a technician to the field
  • Scaling back 24-hour pump watch on less critical pumping systems by collecting and monitoring operational data from afar, and responding to issues only when they arise
  • Utilizing remote technology to activate a pump on standby or to deactivate a pump that no longer needs to operate—without the need to deploy personnel
  • Managing preventive maintenance and fueling operations by using the information gathered and reported back electronically
  • Avoiding disastrous system failures on unmanned operations due to mechanical breakdowns via instrumentation-driven messaging when certain pre-determined triggers are met, allowing rapid operator response time to mitigate potential damages.

"Devices such as the Global Messenger Device allow clients to have this kind of functionality on any pump they rent or purchase. They can set certain operational parameters, maintain a database online to track performance data and track a pump’s physical location using GPS technology or by establishing geofences to trigger an alert when a pump is relocated. All information captured by the instrumentation is available to customers on an exclusive, secure and password-protected web page for immediate remote access. I would expect the demand for this type of technology to only grow over time.”
Gino Mersino
President & CEO, Global Pump

“The most interesting innovations are in the areas of how information is being handled. Digital information platforms continue to reshape our business. We are seeing much more activity in the areas of preventive and predictive maintenance, which leads to new products being developed with the Industrial Internet of Things in mind.”
Randy Breaux
Senior Vice President of Marketing, Distribution & Purchasing, Motion Industries Inc.

What trends and challenges do you foresee for the future?
“I believe that aftermarket services will continue to increase in importance. Services—engineering, education, training, plant assessments, testing and field support—will continue to grow. Pumps suppliers will not be just vendors but will work together as partners with pump users in all industries to enhance operations and reduce total cost of ownership.”
George Harris
President & CEO, Hydro Inc.

“Our industry has experienced an influx of technology from advanced design software’s communication technologies to the ability to monitor applications from anywhere in the world with handheld devices. The industry has grasped these advancements. We are seeing changes in our mature industry every day. End users must educate themselves, explore and embrace these technologies in order to remain competitive. The next generation of end users will require more information faster with fewer challenges from old technologies. Application and product convenience is the future, and as manufacturers, we must adapt and prepare to be successful in the coming year.”
Deron Oberkorn
Director of Business Development, Zoeller Company

“In 2017, pump distributors are benefitting from an ever-increasing offering of better products from pump manufacturers. Most of those product offerings are in the controls and monitoring of pumps to provide more efficient operating conditions and advanced predictive maintenance solutions. Additionally, the natural turnover in the generations of employees has paved the way for new, highly capable pump people to join our industry. And the benefit of that is showing. We are beginning to show significant gains in … productivity through more efficient communication and supply chain tools with customers and suppliers.”
Henry R. Peck
President, Geiger Pump & Equipment Co.

“Capital investment requirements (in) the U.S. wastewater systems are estimated to total almost $300 billion over the next 20 years. Pipe repair represents the largest need to address combined sewer overflows. There are roughly 800,000 miles of sewer mains in the U.S., and many of these pipes are over 70 years old and in terrible shape. The aging sewer pipes are the main cause of combined sewer overflows. … In lieu of repairing their existing combined sewer overflows, many municipalities are beginning to separate combined sewers into purely sanitary sewers and separate storm sewers. … When new systems are built, most municipalities prefer to construct a separated system to prevent future combined sewer overflow. As wastewater separation continues, manufacturers supporting municipal wastewater systems will need to design their products to support more viscous wastewater with less volume flow.”
Walt Erndt
Vice President & General Manager Municipal Market, CRANE Pumps & Systems

“The Internet of Things, which is driving innovation from the connectivity of smart devices, is beginning to make its way into industrial equipment. End users of industrial machines and equipment are now seeing advantages and benefits to acquiring real-time data to assess machine health remotely. The integration of condition monitoring devices to handheld mobile devices and remote systems may hopefully allow end users to more actively ensure pump efficiency and reliability. The challenges faced will be to achieve this level of integration and mobility without sacrificing security of the industrial plant’s network(s).”
David R. Mikalonis
Vice President—Application Engineering, SKF USA Inc.

“We are seeing moves in the emerging world to supply 24/7 water; i.e., water that is available all the time as opposed to a time-restricted supply. This is opening opportunities for innovative solutions in new distribution systems, where historically everything had been a manual operation. … (In 2017, end users can expect to see) a move from mechanical to automated controls, upgrades and maintenance to aging infrastructure for developed countries, and rapid expansion of water distribution systems in fast-growing developing nations.”
Mark Gimson
Business Development & Marketing Manager, Singer Valve Inc.

“Customers are pushed these days by a very competitive global marketplace to reduce prices and costs. ... Our customers cannot afford to keep engineering or maintenance talent for the occasional project in their facilities. What outside engineering firms used to do is now expected from capital equipment suppliers. We have to supply complete, timely and responsive solutions to address the whole problem. … If we need to supply electric panels, we do it. If we need to supply piping, we do it. If we need to supply volumetric feeders and eductors to make up a solution, we do it. … Being responsive to customer needs, solving problems, and eliminating production downtime, upsets or scrap is what is required.”
Michael L. Dillon
President, SEEPEX Inc.

“There is going to be a trend of sensors everywhere and more and more points to monitor. We see a big opportunity around corrosion monitoring. Because the sensors are wireless and non-intrusive, there is an opportunity for end users to use them in places they never thought possible before.”
Melissa Stiegler
Director of Wireless Product Marketing, Emerson

What trends are you seeing in chemical processing?
Digitalization: There is more integration globally with devices and machines generating massive amounts of data, which is leading to an increased focus on integrated engineering and operations as well as cloud-based data analytics.

Modularization: There is an increasing urgency to bring products to market faster by building plants in multiple pieces in parallel and in the most optimal locations possible. Assembling process lines from modular components enables manufacturing to be brought online faster and also provides the flexibility to rapidly transition between grades or types of products.

Standardization: (This) ensures that, regardless of production location, the result will be consistency and high quality.”
Doug Child
Director of the Chemical Industry for the US, Siemens

What trends are you seeing in water and wastewater, mining, desalination, pulp and paper, etc.?
“Given what has happened in Flint, Michigan, and California, a more widespread focus on water and wastewater is increasing. After emerging from the economic downturn, which undercut public spending in water infrastructure by almost 15 percent from 2009 to 2014, we anticipate a surge of network upgrades that will usher in a range of infrastructure technology, equipment and financing solutions. More broadly, several trends to watch will be in the market’s ability to stay ahead of deteriorating infrastructure, supply a growing population with clean water and mitigate wastewater effluent impacts on water bodies.”
Reese Tisdale
President, Bluefield Research

“The water/wastewater industry is a huge growth area and will continue as long as our population continues to grow. … I see power generation and water/wastewater to be the two most active industrial sectors, assuming the EPA doesn’t add any additional regulations. If the Keystone pipeline is approved, I see oil and gas coming back. I would also expect advancements in desalination as aquifers are depleted.”
William C. Livoti
Power Generation, Business Development Manager, WEG

What can end users expect to see in 2017, and what should they do to prepare?
“Water will be a key focus for Blacoh Industries globally in 2017. India and China are the fastest areas for growth in the water/wastewater markets where the total global market is expected to grow by 7.4 percent. … The U.S. water treatment equipment market is forecast to be up almost 6 percent, making the market worth $13 billion in 2017. Where else do we see growth like that? … In the global water sector, we are seeing aging infrastructure with piping systems failing in large part (due) to transient pressure waves resulting in shutdowns and waste. It is amazing that in a day and age where everyone talks about being responsible for the environment, we stand by as we lose over 7 billion gallons a day in the U.S. and 1.7 trillion gallons globally due to leaks, main breaks, meter errors or theft. It is reported that globally, up to 60 percent of water is lost due to leaking pipes, costing water utilities $14 billion globally. ... I do believe we will see mining begin a comeback over the next few years with a gradual uptick starting in 2017. Similarly, we see a rise in the chemical process industry as oil prices will likely hover around $50 barrel in 2017, coupled with a small increase in CAPEX spending. Still, if the Russians continue to meddle in the Middle East and the U.S. continues to back out, oil prices may rise more quickly than anticipated, impacting the chemical processing industries as well.”
Andrew Yeghnazar
President, Blacoh Industries

“With the consolidation of resources at suppliers, there are bound to be gaps in service, and end users are going to struggle to fill in the gaps themselves or find alternates. Suppliers focused on the aftermarket and providing complete service are going to be the highest-value providers to end users. This leads to long-term relationships where both the end user and the supplier are committed to collaborating to provide goods and services that result in the highest value proposition. It makes economic sense in the long run.”
Eric Van Gemeren
Vice President, Product Management and R&D, Flowserve

“End users can expect product innovation targeting communication and energy efficiency. System monitoring via PLC, SCADA and DCS require products capable of delivering real-time information to increase production efficiency and provide a clear view into current process conditions. Additionally, manufacturers are tuning equipment to operate more efficiently to reduce energy consumption at the plant level.”
Mike Sandlin
Global Product Marketing Manager, Process Division, Graco Inc.

“Expect a mirror result of 2016 unless you make moves to improve your market position. Focus on reducing COGS to improve margins, advertise the same amount or more in 2017 to improve your market share compared with competitors and carefully guard the addition of new employees and operating costs to ensure positive profitability. Motivate your sales staff to be active and focused on target customers.”
Todd Loudin
President, Flowrox Inc.

What kind of year will this be for water/wastewater—both in existing and emerging markets?
“The global water and wastewater market is on the rise. A number of important megatrends point in this direction. Several global regions including Africa, Asia and South America are witnessing continued strong population growth, living standards are improving, and industrialization continues apace. At the same time, existing water resources are becoming scarcer—also in the Middle East. In the upcoming decades, the tasks of sourcing, processing and supplying water to residential and industrial areas will become increasingly crucial. Equally vital will be the treatment of wastewater. Many emerging and developing economies still need to build the requisite infrastructure, and this is where we see the most significant potential for growth. In the U.S., it is clear (that) the aging infrastructure as well as the impacts of a changing wastewater are resulting in the need for upgrades and improvements to the existing systems and hence a need for investment. This represents excellent sales opportunities for our products.”
Thomas Belledin
VP Global Business Development, KSB Inc.

“Smarter pumping solutions with more emphasis on reducing or eliminating nuisance call-outs, spills and under performance. More emphasis of total integration in water and wastewater networks to reduce power consumption and enhance process"
Peter Diffley
U.S. Monitoring and Controls Manager, Xylem

“Global trends such as aging infrastructure, urbanization, increasing energy costs and the need for sustainable solutions are driving the need for smart water technologies and intelligent water devices. Our recently launched Flygt Concertor intelligent wastewater pumping system is a good example of new, smart technology developed to address these challenges.”
Kristel Zaman
North America Flygt Product Marketing Manager, Xylem

“The anticipated gradual rebound of the oil and gas sector this year coupled with growth in chemical and processing sectors will boost the pump industry and allow for more competition and growth. This will fuel more innovations and support further expansion in the industries that the pump industry supports. Further economic resurgence will support demands of the U.S. infrastructure improvements, which will leverage the pump industry.”
Keith Grgurich
Director of Sales, BJM Pumps LLC

“We are doing some interesting things with control panels. We’re seeing greater connectivity capabilities and giving customers the ability to monitor and even control pumps remotely. These factors allow for more efficient pumping systems, as well as fleet and jobsite management. After the shake-up caused by Tier 4 Final, there is more certainty in product designs. We are now starting to see real benefits from these new engines and controls, as well as lower emissions. Pump manufacturers are better poised to deliver the right solutions.”
Bobby Zitzka
National Sales Manager, Thompson Pump and Manufacturing Company Inc.

“In challenging times, there are always pockets of opportunities that exist in our dynamic markets. In order to capitalize on these opportunities and fully maximize company efficiency and productivity, you need to be smarter, quicker and more agile. Strategies need to be clearly defined, razor-sharp and fine-tuned along the way in order to prime consistent organic growth. As we move into 2017, we will look to accelerate our growth, optimize our cost structure, and increase our customer interface and installed base connectivity by globalizing and localizing the sales and manufacturing capabilities of our portfolio in the Asia and EMEA regions. Our brands and technology are market leaders. We will continue to invest in them and the innovation pipeline. Talent acquisition/development, both internal ... and external with our various partners, is key for achieving our goals.”
Gennaro A. D’Alterio
Global President, CECO Environmental

How do you see governmental regulations impacting the market in the coming year?
“Given what has happened in Flint, we have several U.S. DOE regulations in play at this time. Revised rules for electric motors went into effect June 2016 for integral HP motors. OEMs continue to adjust to these as old inventory is used up. Almost all three-phase motors will now be premium efficiency. DOE issued two proposed rules in 2016; one is for collection of import data on DOE-regulated products. For the pump industry, that would mean that any importer of a pump and motor would need to file paperwork for each shipment certifying the motor is compliant with DOE rules. This is supposed to be done through the Customs and Border Protection system. Once pump regulations go into effect, certification paperwork will need to be submitted for pumps and extended systems as well. Another DOE proposed rule was issued that affects the marking and compliance limits on electric motors. This one is still under comment and could effectively raise the efficiency level on existing single- and three-phase motors currently regulated. Natural Resources Canada is expected to adopt similar regulations to the DOE Small Motor Rule that went into effect in 2015. This may go into effect mid-2017. Motor regulations for the European Union are changing for 2017 where covered motors need to conform to IE3 levels on 0.75-370 kilowatt (kW) designs. IE2 motors are still allowed to be sold but must be used with an adjustable speed drive. Additional countries are developing and revising Minimum Efficiency Performance Standards (MEPS) for electric motors. Pump manufacturers should be aware of regulations for each country where they export products. Pending carbon taxes for Canada could renew interest in energy efficiency with higher utility costs, shortening the payback time for system upgrades. Cheap money supplies could help too. Carbon taxes could spill over into the U.S. with some states adopting them.”
John Malinowski
Senior Manager of Industry Affairs, Baldor Electric Company

“We are seeing additional opportunities in the power market and particularly in the coal-fired plants, which are being forced to reduce their coal combustion residuals (CCR) as part of the EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Also, the loosening of EPA regulations could have a positive impact on the O&G industry and specifically the pipeline and shale drilling sectors going into 2017.”
David Aldrich
Product Manager-Floway, Weir Flow Control

What are your predictions for the oil and gas market in 2017?
“I think the oil and gas market is going to be relatively stable. It will be comparable to where it is right now in my estimation. Saudi Arabia and Iran are competing for output and pricing at the time of this interview, but I think prices will be relatively stable moving forward. I don’t see it going up to $100 a barrel, but I don’t see it going down to $30 a barrel, either.”
Glenn Wieczorek
Managing Director, Tsurumi America Inc.

“Unlike coal, the oil and gas market will rebound by a fair amount as a result of the slowed production in 2016. It does not have much more room to go down with current demand. Price per barrel of oil is already climbing slightly, but it will not reach the over-inflated prices that we have seen in previous years. Increases in fracking are not anticipated to be extremely positive, but I believe the bleeding has stopped and that trend will not continue in 2017.”
Mike Pulley
Product Support Manager, Bartlett Bearing Company Inc.

How is the departure of knowledgeable employees due to retirement affecting your company, and what steps are you taking to fill the resulting skills gap?
“With the ongoing retirement of long-time employees with knowledge of pumps and rotating equipment, our customers are looking to partners like ITT Goulds Pumps and ITT PRO Services to help them fill the gap. ... For us, it’s been a great opportunity to further partner with our customers and to also introduce them to some new technologies that have tremendous potential to help them drive improvement in areas ranging from uptime to total cost of ownership.”
Aris Chicles
President, ITT Industrial Process

“One of the ways Vanton has been proactively preparing for this inevitable turnover was by embracing newly available technologies. … We are, however, acutely aware of the limitations of technology and we continue to encourage open communications, the exchange of ideas, data and individual experience among our employees in the effort to ensure these valuable resources are preserved. This allows us to continue to manufacture premium chemically resistant, non-metallic fluid-handling products and to provide unsurpassed personal service on a global basis to our valued customers.”
Larry Lewis
President & CEO, Vanton Pump & Equipment