The Online Pump Magazine


Pump Industry – An Overview

By P.J. Lakhapate, Navi-Mumbai, India --- This article gives brief history about the growth of pump industry & present status. What are the different applications of the pump, what are the recent developments in the pump, what are the drivers for the developments of pump, what are the challenges ahead, what is the role of user, consultant, manufacturer & government & what is the path forward for pump industry? An attempt is made to answer all these questions.

Pumps are the vital elements in an enormous range of fluid handling applications & range from small household pumps to immense units utilized in the water, chemical and energy industries. Pump performance requirements and duties vary considerably in terms of material of construction, wide range of temperature, pressure, viscosity, density etc. Pumps are employed in almost all the industries.

Global scenario on Pump Industry
World Pump market for the year 2003 is given below :
Billion $
AMERICAS (U.S.A. + Other America)7.0
EUROPE (GERMANY + Other Europe)7.5
ASIA (JAPAN + Other Asia)7.5

This market will be shared as follow :
Market Share
Top 3 Companies19 – 20 %
Top 25 Companies50 %
Top 800 Companies90 %

The United States will remain the largest purchaser over the next 5 years but China will experience the largest growth rate. Large investments will be made in a wide range & applications from Semiconductor ultrapure water to boiler feed water. China will build nearly half of the world’s new coal-fired plants in the next five years.

Significant pump market exist in 80 countries and regions. In Chile the largest pump purchasing segment is the copper industry whereas in Germany it is the chemical industry. The Middle East is a big pump market due to oil & gas industries. The Canadian market is distinguished by a large pulp & paper segment. The market for pumps in buildings in Europe is much bigger than in the U.S. because Europe depends on water rather than air for heat.

All major pump types will experience growth over next 5 years. Demand share for different types of pump is given below :
Centrifugal Type50% of total sales.
Submersible Effluent Pump5% of total sales.
Submersible Domestic Pump4 % of total sales.
Progressive Cavity Pump1% of total sales.

The greatest demand for pumps is for moving water from waterways & sources to residential & industrial users & then to remove the waste water from these users through treatment & discharge back to the waterways. Of the total revenue of $ 22 billion, water alone constitute $ 10.2 billion.

The break-up of revenue for water pump is given below :

World Water Pump Revenue
($ Millions)
Water SupplyWaste Water
Centrifugal$ 2550$ 3825$ 2750$ 4125
Reciprocating$ 150$ 230$ 250$ 400
Diaphragm$ 150$ 225$ 365$ 550
Rotary$ 150$ 220$ 430$ 650
Total$ 3000$ 4500$ 3800$ 5725

In India the pumping of drinking water from small wells is still a major need whereas in Singapore large pumping systems are needed to move drinking water in from Malaysia.

The Indian Pump industry has more than 500 manufacturers with worker strength of over 30,000 producing about 1.2 million pumps. Indian market for pump is estimated to be Rs.25000 million growing at an annual rate of 8%.

What is the present industrial scenario?
Pump industry very much depend on health of other industries.
Refining IndustryIntegration is the key for growth
Petro-chemical IndustryAiming global market.
Fertilizer IndustryNot green enough
Drugs & PharmaceuticalsShowing healthy growth
Caustic SodaRough road ahead
Coating IndustryRosy picture
Perfumery Chemicals IndustryThinking big in the essence of survival
Cement IndustryLocal industry is surviving because of high transport cost.
Agriculture IndustryDepends on monsoon

Irrespective of other industry pump industry will continue to grow as long as we need water.

Growth of Pump Industry
Although some pumps were used in 19th century, the real growth of Pump Industry took place in 20th century :

1905: Multistage Centrifugal Pumps were developed.
1929: Considerable light was thrown on the vexing problem of pressure pulsations in large hydraulic turbines & pumps.
1932: Proper understanding of the origin and nature of pressure pulsation & the accompanying, vibratory, structural, mechanical response.
1955: Dependence of cavitation erosion on liquid was established. This led to an understanding of why high-energy pumps are more likely to suffer from this damaging phenomenon.
1956: How the thermodynamic vaporization properties of the pump liquid could lead to reduction of cavitation activity at high temperatures at the same NPSH (Net Positive Suction Head) (Liquid pressure head in excess of vapor pressure head).
1994: How cavitation can cause profound instabilities in pump & inducer operation.
1990-2000: It is found that sometimes obscure fluid phenomena can produce mechanical instability in rotodynamic pumps.

What are the drivers of pump development ?

  1. Industrial Revolution: Pump industry had been fueled by the massive demands of the industrial revolution that built our modern society.
  2. Post World War II Expansion: In order to satisfy the pent-up demand that had gone unfulfilled in war years. Here the emphasis was on large, multistage electric utility boiler feed water pumps & oil-field injection & pipeline pumps.
  3. Energy Crisis: Energy crisis all over world led to lot of research & development work for developing energy efficient pumps & systems.
  4. Environmental Challenges: Curbing emissions was the paramount concern. This influence has led to better sealing of pumps including sealless, magnetically coupled chemical pumps. The ultimate product in this regard could be ‘integral motor pump’.
  5. Globalization: The fluid engineering & other technical challenges are assumed to be solvable by the MNC who emphasize quality, productivity & faster delivery of the product in order to battle global market share. The apparently mature pump product has a lot of room for improvement. The technical improvements will continue to be necessary to maintain global competitiveness.

What were the applications of pumps?
Various applications of pumps are listed below :
  • Transportation: It is a prime function.
  • Circulation: For homogenizing the temperature and/or composition of fluid.
  • Mixing: Two or more streams can be connected at the suction of pump & mixing can be achieved.
  • Injecting: High pressure can be developed by using pump and fluid can be injected in pipe or tank.
  • Metering: Pumps can be used as metering device.
  • Pressure Reducing Device: Rotary pumps can be used for reducing the pressure in polymers.
  • Agitator Pump: Submersible pump keep the solids in suspension & prevent setting.
  • Vacuum Generation: Liquid ring vacuum pumps are well known. Dry vacuum pumps are also developed.
  • Reactor: When two liquids are to be reacted with very small residence time then pump can be used.
  • Cavitation Reactor: When one liquid and another in vapor form are to be reacted, the principle of cavitation can be used.
Indian pump industry at present met the pump requirements of 95% of applications.

Some Recent Developments in Pumps
  • One supplier has developed dry industrial vacuum pump. They use claw technology with a built in roots mechanism & facilitate high speed evacuation down to an ultimate vacuum of 0.05 mbar. Peak pump capacity is 560 cubic m/hr. Despite high pumping capacity, manufacturer claims less energy consumption.
  • Another has developed vertical dual-screw dry running vacuum pump. It has an electric drive control integral with pump unit & can also be remotely controlled. It meets the stringent electrical, mechanical & instrumentational safety standards of legislation. (Received award in 40th International Mech. Engg. Exhibition at BRNO in Czech Republic).
  • One foreign supplier has developed ultra high pressure plunger pumps (Pressure : 2500 bar & flow 15 to 20 lit/min., Temp. : 50°C) can be used for
    1. Sensitive paint stripping from metal and concrete surfaces.
    2. Surface preparation prior to painting & coating.
    3. Cutting of metals, concrete, reinforced material.
  • Computational Fluid Dynamic studies are carried out by Cranfield University for:
    1. Flow prediction in pumps
    2. Three dimensional transonic flow simulation using a time marching scheme.
    3. Erosion studies during cavitation.
  • “SMART PUMPS”: Depending on the changes in suction conditions and /or changes in the discharge requirement the pump should act accordingly by using “SMART SENSORS” which will be based on optical fibers.
  • High Efficiency Small Circulation Pumps: The conventional efficiency of small pumps is of the order of 5 to 10%. When these pumps are used as part of solar-auxiliary system, the efficiency of pump plays a vital role. The efficiencies of the pump have improved dramatically (+80%) using permanent magnet motors & hydraulically optimized impellers.
  • One supplier has developed mechanical seal (for oil service at 660°F & water at 320°F) where cooling is achieved by using extended surfaces (fins), thus cooling water requirement is eliminated.
  • Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) software applications reduce energy consumption & improve pump reliability by automatic monitoring of process pumps.
  • Abroad, favorable experience of variable speed drive for power conservation in high HP equipment has led to development of micro drives.

What are the challenges ahead?
  • Stabilizing the head characteristics of large, high specific – speed mixed flow pumps by using CFD (Computational Fluid Dynamics) techniques.
  • Predicting the performance curves of pump using CFD.
  • Eliminating vibrations & off-design pressure & flow fluctuations.
  • Finding solutions to both rotor & structure related vibrations using FEA (Finite Element Analysis).
  • Performance & life of pump is drastically affected due to cavitation. Improved blade shapes reduces / eliminates cavitation damage.
  • Develop highly reliable pump such that no standby pump is required.

What is the role of pump user?
  • Now a days pumps are purchased based on life cycle cost analysis. Hence, user will have to keep a track record of all the pumps for expenditure on utilities consumption, spare parts consumption, maintenance etc. and give feedback to consultants and manufacturers.
  • For any technical problem, the user should contact consultant if they do not get satisfactory services from manufacturer and also address the problem to Pump Manufacturer’s Association.
  • The user should replace old inefficient pumps with efficient pumps. This will save national energy to a great extent. Use of variable speed drives wherever possible can be implemented.
  • Wherever possible use 50% spare capacity instead of 100% spare capacity. For example instead of 200m3/hr. capacity (1 working + 1 standby) use 100m3/hr. capacity (2 working + 1 standby) pumps.
  • Ensure preventive maintenance of all pumps.

What is the role of Technical Consultant?
  • A technical consultant is a very important link between pump user & manufacturer. He is responsible for selecting suitable type of pump for the given application.
  • Consultant should ensure that material of construction of all fluid–contact parts are suitable for given application.
  • Consultant should ensure proper equipment layout, upstream and downstream line sizing, strainers etc.
  • Consultant should participate in seminar / workshops & share their experiences with user & manufacturers.

What is the role of Pump Manufacturers ?
  • Manufacturers to ensure that maximum possible indigenous pumps are locally available & thus avoid import of pumps. Thus save on foreign exchange. Depending on feasibility study import substitute as well as export market can be explored. For example, Ceramic pumps, High performance alloys, High precision gear pump for spinning m/c. in manmade fiber industry, peristaltic pumps, magnetic drive pumps etc.
  • Pumps consume about 30% total power. Pump is an item which will consume more energy throughout its life if it is not energy efficient. Hence, it is necessary to improve on energy efficiency of the pump. Even for small Kw rating it is essential to have high energy efficiency because in future, we will likely to use solar energy where pump efficiency plays vital role.
  • In Germany, 20% increase in energy efficiency by 2005 is made mandatory.
    In Netherlands, 33% improvement in energy efficiency compared to 1995 to be achieved by 2020.
    In European industry 15-20% of energy saving potential is widely accepted through implementation of new technologies which are commonly available but not widely applied at present. What about India?
  • In India, in 15% of the cases, motor selection is by consultant where as more than 45% of the cases motor selection is by manufacturers. Hence by selecting energy efficient motors & variable speed drive, pump manufacturers can contribute to energy saving.
  • There is demand from user that manufacturer should take the responsibility for optimization of material selection. Here manufacturers should focus on application of new materials of construction. E.g. Ceramic coating.
  • Manufacturers should arrange training programs for user & consulting engineers.
  • Manufacturers to ensure “PASS”. (Prompt After Sales Service)
  • IPMA (Indian Pump Manufacturers Association) should
    1. arrange more national / international seminars / exhibitions for further business developments.
    2. submit their recommendations about export / import policies, excise, custom duties policies etc. to Govt. of India at least once in a year.
    3. take a lead role in setting up of laboratory facility required for pump manufacturers.

What is the role of Government?
  • Government to ensure that export/import policies, excise duty, custom duty policies should be such that Indian Pump Industry growth is not hampered.
  • Through NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL (NAC) recommendation should be obtained as to how Indian Pump Industry become competitive in the world market.
  • Government to ensure that motor industry develops high efficiency motors indigenously on priority basis.
  • Govt. should develop a platform on internet where anybody can give suggestions for improvement.
  • This platform should:
    • publish data on import/export of pumps, local as well as international supply & demand data of pumps.
    • arrange training, workshops, seminars, exhibitions, competitions related to Pump Industry.
    • facilitate e-commerce on pump industry.
    • initiate the development in the existing/new standards & make efforts for sustainable development.
    • provide guidelines on business related issues like Delivery & Payment conditions, warranty conditions, product liability, sales contract conditions, standards etc.

  • Even though pump industry is challenged globally must continuously improve productivity, quality & service to the customer to stay in business. Success will also depend on a brain trust of technical people in the organization.
  • What seem today to be stable product lines with an indefinite future stand a good chance of being superseded and phased out. Good business planning therefore, must include the engineering expertise that has made such business possible in the past & will without doubt continue to do so in the future.
  • Like European Committee of Pump Manufacturers, Europump, we Indians should take lead to form “ASIAN COMMITTEE OF PUMP MANUFACTURERS”.

About the author
P.J. Lakhapate is a Chemical Engineer from UDCT, Mumbai (1975) & has completed a Post Graduation in systems management from J. Bajaj Institute, Mumbai.
He is a lead assessor for ISO-9000. He has received Quality Award from Chemtex Engg of India Ltd,Powai. He has travelled U.S.A., Brazil, Russia. He has written more than 20 articles & published in national & international magazines. He is distinguished member of expert committee group ( for PUMPS & VALVES ) of NATIONAL ADVISORY COUNCIL. He has to his credit a work experience of more than 27 years.

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