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‘A holistic systems approach is the future of pumps’

IoT, BMS integration vital for predictive maintenance and faster commissioning, says Grundfos representative

| | Oct 2, 2019 | 12:43 pm
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Ronak Monga

DUBAI, UAE, 02 October 2019: Pumps have been on an innovation fast track over the past few years, said Ronak Monga, Segment Development Manager for Building Services, Grundfos Gulf, Levant & Pakistan, who shared that the company is placing greater focus on leveraging controls to solve HVAC issues and that a systems approach is the future of pumps. Today, Monga pointed out, the company’s circulating pumps are consuming only 17% of the energy they would have in 1999, highlighting the 83% jump in efficiency. “But, how do we envision the future?” he asked. “We see that these revolutionary changes will be slower and more gradual when it comes to the efficiency by way of improving mechanically, such as by improving the design of impellers and internal components. So, we want to look outside and to take a holistic, systems approach. When you start thinking about that, you have to really see how your pump connects to the rest of the equipment and how they work together to deliver the most efficient operation of an HVAC system.”

Monga pointed out that in addition to efficiency, reliability should be taken into consideration. “Systems are designed and can be engineered to operate efficiently at the highest reliability for up to 25 years,” he said. “How can we help our customers achieve that? That is through smarter and more intelligent controls, which are digitally enabled and based on technologies, like artificial intelligence, which can enable predictive analysis and maintenance.” Monga pointed out that today, many stakeholders are still largely reactive, leading to increased operating and maintenance costs. “The most common predictive maintenance being done is not predictive at all,” he said. “It is actually repetitive, greasing bearings in the pump room now and then, because you have a schedule. But, how can we come to a point where we can predict that maybe in the next three months, my bearings may fail, and that is why I need to order the bearings, so I have no down time.”

Monga said a major challenge in today’s built-environment is commissioning. He said that commissioning, which typically takes a long time, can be reduced to a few minutes and can be executed using mobile phones. “Pumps,” he said, are also equipped with wireless communication, so multiple pumps can communicate amongst each other wirelessly, to ensure they are running in the most optimal way.” Monga said the pumps are also connected to BMS and Scada systems, allowing them to exchange much more than the typical information taken from pumps, such as speed and consumption of energy and flow.

Monga said: “It is through these technologies we say, let’s not do HVAC the way we have been doing, which is buying pumps from one manufacturer, and buying controls, sensors and variable frequency drives from others, hoping they all work together. But rather, why not buy this equipment as one from a single source?”

Monga emphasised that this is the overall direction the company is taking and that Grundfos, in particular, is in a good position to take a leadership role in this regard, as it can leverage knowledge and experience in the market. “We are the largest manufacturer of pumps in the world,” he said, “If you are producing 17 million pumps, you have information and data collected from those 17 million pumps.” Monga said stakeholders must understand that such equipment is much more than parts of a puzzle, and that it is important to look at the bigger picture. “The future of HVAC,” he said, “has to be different than what it is today, if we are really to take the leapfrog towards sustainability that we have been talking for so long.”

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