By SWPA Executive Director Adam Stolberg and Timothy Merkel, Metropolitan Industries

Even as Industry 4.0 and AI are adopted across the board, part of the popularity of submersible pumps remains their relative ease of use and reliability. Also, most submersible repair work can be done without disturbing the overall pump system, eliminating higher end costs normally associated with industrial pump repair. Below, Timothy Merkel, the business development manager for Metropolitan Industries, and SWPA Executive Director Adam Stolberg discuss how submersible pumps make life easier on operators and end users.

Submersible wastewater pumps have a reputation for ease of use and simpler field service than competing products. How have they earned that reputation?

Submersible pumps embrace an inclusive design of motor and pump wet end as a single installable component to the overall pump station. They are compact in design, and by being in the wet well itself, take advantage of motor cooling by the liquid surrounding them, reduce or eliminate suction head and pipe clogging issues with conventional dry pump installations. They are also designed to be easily removed for service. Submersible pumps have become a reliable mainstay of the pump industry over the last seventy years based on all of these factors.

How does the design of a submersible wastewater pump add to their ease of use? Why do repair teams have a reduced need for special tools?

This is one of the great advantages of the submersible pump. Most submersible pumps are combined with a guide rail disconnect system which allows for removal of the pump from the wet well without disturbing the piping and valves of the overall system. By removing the pump from the wet well, it can then be serviced outside of the pump station environment, eliminating the need for confined space entry requirements into the wet well itself. This also allows for a common strategy of having a backup pump available that can easily and immediately replace the submersible pump in need of service so that the overall pump station operation interruption is greatly minimized.

How have IIoT and remote technology been incorporated into field service for today’s pump technicians?

Across the pump industry, remote monitoring has become more prevalent in application and capability. From large to small installations, the continuous overall operation of a pump station is the most critical measure of its reliability. Every pump station has a physical location, often with many pump stations spread over a larger geographical area working in concert to service a municipality or other operation. By establishing remove monitoring, and often remote operation into the design of a pump station, the overall communication with multiple stations can be centralized to a secondary more convenient location—whether that be a physical computer, server, or a cloud-based technology that allows for even greater access to the system. In all of these cases, remote access to the pump station frees up personnel from physically monitoring stations, identifies pump inefficiencies more easily and quickly, and can alert pump technicians to the most needed service issues.

Many submersible pumps are being used as replacements in older, non-submersible centrifugal pumps. What advantages do submersibles offer to these users?

Submersible pumps are a more compact design than most conventional dry mounted pumps allowing for more installation designs when working with replacement of aging systems. Either the station can be completely converted to a wet well station with a standard submersible pump, or a dry well submersible can be installed in place of the older pump. The dry well submersible pump is also a single unit rather than a coupled arrangement of separate pump and motor of many older installations. Additionally, many dry well submersibles are designed to be mounted either vertically or horizontally to the existing pump station piping, which allows for options in retro fitting existing pump stations. Finally, dry well submersibles will continue to function in the event of a flooded pump station making it a desired replacement alternative in critical operations or flood prone areas.