by Michelle Segrest
December 21, 2011
HydroAire mechanic Hank Deluca with a Byron Jackson pump that Hydro repaired for Inland Steel. Photo courtesy of Hydro, Inc.
Photo courtesy of Freudenberg
52-year-old pump. Photo courtesy of GIW Industries
Kalamazoo mechanical seal manufacturing and research lab in the 1950s. Photo courtesy of Flowserve
Machine shop lathes department in Battle Creek, Mich. Photo courtesy of American Marsh Pumps

Mike Pemberton, manager of ITT Performance Services remembers when PumpSmart  was introduced at the Chem Show in New York, N.Y., in November 1999. PumpSmart pump control systems provide real-time control and protection for pumps while also providing process insight. “It is clear that this signaled the rapidly expanding use of variable speed drive technologies for industrial pumping,” he says.

Pump system optimization became a key ingredient in all applications.

“I wonder if the idea of using adjustable speed drives and energy efficient motors to drive pumps isn't the major step for the pump industry,” says John Malinowski, senior product manager for AC Motors at Baldor Electric Company. “Not only can pump output be adjusted to control needed output, but this saves much electricity and the control can be based on a set point or process control built into the drive.”

Matt Lorenz, vice president and general manager of Eaton Corporation's Industrial Control Division, says accurate power control has been a revolutionary development. 

“At the turn of the last century, the first automatic motor starter was developed, laying the foundation for the modern motor control industry,” Lorenz explains. “In the following years, that technology was used to develop control equipment for the Panama Canal.”  Today, Eaton continues to provide sophisticated motor control equipment for major Panama Canal upgrades.

A dramatic change happened during the past decade as the industry shifted from thinking about just the pump to considering the entire pumping system, says Jack Creamer, market segment manager for Schneider Electric.

“Sometimes advancements are seen as ‘leap frog' technological advancements that literally change the game,” says Creamer. “In other cases, advancements are more evolutionary . . . that is, they provide incremental change opportunities that enhance and improve the performance of systems. From a performance standpoint, the two primary drivers are energy and intelligence.

“Intelligence includes the concept of a smart motor management approach that provides predictive and preventative main-tenance along with remote alarming that allows operators to better monitor and in turn, guarantee increased system performance and availability. On the energy side, variable frequency drives reduce energy consumption for an application. With the increasing application of ‘intelligence' to VFDs, energy savings potential expand beyond the affinity law explanation to cover such things as BEP matching, load matching and other energy savings opportunities.” 


Some Things Remain the Same


As much as things have changed, many things have not, Wierzbicki says. “We are still an industry that is a close network of people. We compete hard, but with high integrity and respect for each other. Even with all the advancements, it is still the people that make this a great industry.”

Be sure to read The History of Pumps: Through the Years for an in-depth timeline on some of the industry's most important developments.


Click here for The History of Pumps: Through the Years

Click here for The History of Pumps: How Motors Have Changed the Pump Industry

Click here for The History of Pumps: How Seals Have Changed the Pump Industry

Click here for The History of Pumps: The Pump Supply Chain

Click here for Interesting Images of Pump History

Click here for Famous People in Pump History