Joanne Goh is a research analyst in the manufacturing technology group at IHS Markit. Her focus areas are motor systems and motor-driven equipment across all major verticals. Prior to joining IHS, Goh worked at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) as an equipment/process engineer, where she was involved in cross-functional team projects to drive yield and process productivity improvements. Below, she shares her insights on how the internet of things will intersect and influence the pump market.

MPT: What changes are on the horizon for the pump industry as suppliers embrace the industrial internet?

Joanne Goh: The global pump market has been extremely volatile during the past two years with the decline of global oil and commodity prices. Pump manufacturers are looking for ways to minimize profit losses amid these trying economic uncertainties. Topics such as Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) are growing in prominence within the industrial automation community, and pump manufacturers are eyeing these as exciting opportunities that could drive profits.

The pump market has seen a growing trend to implement new technologies like this to provide an opportunity for pump manufacturers to innovate and provide full pump solutions as opposed to merely adding a component to their overall equipment portfolios. This means that pump suppliers are improving their expertise along the whole supply chain in pump system applications.

MPT: Do you foresee a digital transformation in manufacturing lines?

Joanne Goh: Pump manufacturers are undergoing a digital transformation by embracing IIoT, big data, and artificial intelligence. These enabling technologies and related transformational efforts are providing pump manufacturers with a competitive advantage.

Many companies such as KSB, Sulzer, and WILO have developed connected machines to enable real-time monitoring in the production line to improve productivity and reduce downtime. Intelligence is also being increasingly embedded into devices, supporting decentralized analytics, and even performing some decision making. For instance, WILO has implemented an augmented reality technology in its manufacturing line with glasses that act as training devices, as opposed to paper manuals. The glasses can replace paper instructions by providing virtual work instructions that also display complex work steps.

As pump manufacturers realized over the past few years, the market has generally declined and profits were hard to come by. The successful manufacturers have thus focused on training programs, services, and hiring greater expertise as ways to increase their value-add to customers in an effort to focus on market share growth.

MPT: How will this enhance the pump user’s experience? Are fully integrated solutions the future for OEMs?

Joanne Goh: Communication is key to digitalization in the world of IoT. Coupled with the downturn in the mining and oil and gas industries, pump suppliers are pushing more than ever to become integrated solution providers. A recent IHS Markit study shows the numbers of connected nodes in pump (centrifugal pumps and positive displacement pumps) and compressor applications will grow substantially with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 46.5 percent from 2016 to 2021. Centrifugal pumps have more variable flow applications than positive displacement pumps, and they will therefore utilize more connectivity for live monitoring purpose. Additionally, European motor and pump efficiency regulations require full awareness by the suppliers regarding full system efficiency; therefore, the smart and connected technology will increase in use quite rapidly going forward. 

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