Going green

20 March 2008

Godwin Pumps' automatically primed HL130M features an oil bath mechanical seal design that protects

Godwin Pumps' automatically primed HL130M features an oil bath mechanical seal design that protects the seal pump, so it can run dry without damage, while a close-coupled design eliminates alignment p

Demand For Pumps Throughout Europe has been “huge” in the last 12 months, according to Andrew Walker, business development manager at Italian pump manufacturer Varisco, with sales “fairly evenly split between the rental and buying channels”.

Mr Walker told CE demand for all its products – self-priming centrifugal pumps, positive displacement pumps and submersible pumps – in Germany, France, and the UK has been “particularly strong”. Of the “new” European countries (those countries that joined the European Union in May 2004), the Baltic States have been “very good to us”, added Mr Walker.

Coping with this demand has seen several manufacturers expand their production facilities. In October 2006 AFEC Pumps, the European subsidiary of Taiwanese pump manufacturer All Favor Enterprise Company Ltd (AFEC), moved into a new, larger facility in Zelhem, the Netherlands. Earlier this year Mody Pumps expanded its base in the Netherlands, with a new warehouse in Tiel, while Godwin Pumps expanded its manufacturing base in Gloustershire, UK.

“By adding to our original factory, we have given ourselves the ability to provide faster, more flexible deliveries to our customer base,” said John Miller, Godwin Pumps managing director.

John Paz, CEO of Godwin Pumps, told CE the company sees strong growth throughout Europe, and the new facility will continue to supply “the whole of the Eastern hemisphere” with particular emphasis now on new territories in Eastern Europe.

“In 2005 we grew factory output by +35%, which equates to sales of US$ 50 million (€ 36,8 million). In 2006 we saw further growth of +22%,” he added.

Along with eight new assembly bays, a new service area and a new electrical department, Godwin has added a new and improved test facility, which allows factory testing of flow rates up to 2800 m3 per hour, pressures up to 25 bar and powers up to 450 kW.

“The new offices and engineering department give us the capability to do more design, development, research and value engineering of the product,” said Mr Miller. “Pumping applications are not all the same, so we have to be as flexible as possible in our approach to the ever-changing worldwide markets.”

Environmental Impact

Part of this ever-changing market is the emphasis on environmental concerns. Mr Walker, told CE that pump manufacturers, like other construction equipment manufacturers, are being challenged to meet exacting environmental standards with their latest designs.

“Current trends,” said Mr Walker, “can be summed up as follows: construction must change the world for the better by reducing the impact on the environment during construction as well as when the job is over.”

Mr Walker said the company's Duo vacuum prime pumps do that by using oil-free vacuum pumps, which eliminates oil loss during operation and reduces the time and expense of inspection and maintenance operations.

The Duo system is quieter than traditional vacuum prime pumps, said Mr Walker, but to meet stringent requirements in residential areas, the Melody soundproofed canopy has been developed to house Duo units as well as the Varisco S series vacuum prime and J series self-priming pumps. Sound levels during operation are as low as 60 dB(A) at 7 m.

Exhaust emissions are another important consideration, and the Duo's engines all conform to Stage II requirements.

“Reducing unnecessary impact on the environment also requires manufacturers to strive for higher efficiency,” said Mr Walker. “Varisco's €nergyBank 6 electrically driven pump, with its high overall efficiency, silenced vacuum pump and an electrical meter built into the control panel means the real consumption during the working day can be checked instantly. €nergyBank pays for itself in a very short time – install it and forget it,” added Mr Walker.

Also addressing environmental concerns, in this case noise emissions, is Godwin Pumps. “Current legislation in Europe is proving a strong driver towards future pump development,” said Mr Paz, “and all our pumps are now available with ‘Hush' canopies to reduce noise.”

Ease of use, low maintenance and easy serviceability are also key issues, according to Mr Paz. “We are the first pump manufacturer to offer close coupled portable diesel pumps through 373 kW, an awesome achievement engineering wise, which means the pumps are easier to maintain, service and operate in the field.”

What's driving this lower maintenance requirement is lower operating costs, said Mr Paz. “If you buy a car that needs a lot of servicing in its first 1000 km, it's not as attractive as one that doesn't, so reliability is key here. It's been key to developing all our pumps. And this is what is helping reduce maintenance and operating costs. Good news for buyers and rental companies alike.”

Rental Opportunities

Mr Walker maintains the decision to buy or rent very much depends on the local market conditions. “Some countries have taken to rental more readily than others. In Italy, for example, we're seeing more and more demand for lift and access machines, plus cranes, in the rental sector. But for pumps and general equipment the market is every small. Cat's Rental Stores haven't been a big success story [in Italy] for that reason “Rental in the UK took off thanks to Margaret Thatcher. She decided to tax construction companies on their inventory so it didn't take long for people to work out that they should divest themselves of their equipment and then rent it back,” he added.

There is enormous potential in other countries, said Mr Walker, although local market conditions can, and do, affect demand. “In the Baltic Sates, for example, contractors still prefer to buy their equipment, because historically that's what they've always done.”

Godwin's Mr Paz, however, is “excited” about the potential of rental in the Europe. “I see the establishment of the European Rental Association (ERA) in early 2006 as a strong driver to further expansion,” added Mr Paz.

With Godwin's main European distributor, UK-based Longville Group, recently acquired by Carrier Inc, the US heating and air conditioning manufacturer, which in turn is owned by the massive United Technologies Corp, Mr Paz told CE he is expecting good results over the next 12 months for all its products, particularly its new Dri Line, and would now “be concentrating our efforts on selling our products to rental companies.”

CE understands that Carrier aims to retain all of Longville's specialist rental businesses in the UK, US, Germany, France, Holland, Poland and Singapore, and use it to create a global power, pump and temperature control business. Longville operates under several trading brands, including SLD for pumps.

Outlook

In terms of market potential, both Mr Paz and Mr Walker are excited by the opportunities opening up in Eastern Europe. “All the Baltic States, except Estonia, show some promise, as does Russia. After years and years of scraping by people finally have some money and there's plenty of activity,” said Mr Walker.

Noise is also a key driver in Europe. While Mr Walker told CE contractors and rental companies are keen to use quiet pumps, price is still an issue. “In Northern Europe the concept is well established, and European legislation means there will continue to be demand, but outside those areas it's a little more difficult for users to afford them.”

Mr Paz also expects noise to be a future driver for growth and development, but of greater concern, particularly to rental companies, is efficiency. “Customers are looking for more compact, lightweight, more efficient pumps that are quieter to operate.

”While environmentally there's a big move towards double bunded pumps and a greater emphasis on training for safer operation, longer pump life and greater productivity, with a maximum return on your investment.”

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