Pump industry outlook

Vesconite Bearings provides an outlook for the pumps industry for 2017.


The global economic slowdown continues to affect many of our pump-industry customers, with several of our smaller customers having downscaled or closed down. Many of our larger customers, meanwhile, have engaged in merger and acquisition activity to reduce costs, ensure market share and expand their product range and distribution network. They have also sought to develop new technologies and solutions that give them a competitive edge, moving into aftermarket support and even starting to manufacture in developing countries where they hope to increase sales.

Some general trends that Vesconite Bearings has observed in 2016, and which are likely to continue into 2017, include the following:

Making pumps energy efficient
Many pump users are intent on reducing their energy demands. The electricity used in pumping is considerable so the benefits of reducing electricity consumption and costs through right-sizing and minimising vibration, heat and noise are key. Environmental concerns also weigh heavily on many, and the reduction of CO2 emissions plays an important part in many pumping-system buying decisions.

Fact box
The US Department of Energy has been developing the Energy Conservation Standard for Pumps, which will require the manufacturers of end suction close-coupled, end suction frame-mounted, in-line, radially split multi-stage vertical in-line diffuser casing, and vertical turbine submersible pumps to meet certain minimum efficiency levels (http://www.pumpsandsystems.com/blog/doe-issues-final-rule-regulate-pump-efficiency-us-first-time )
Many countries have submitted emissions-reduction goals under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (https://www.eia.gov/forecasts/ieo/emissions.cfm ).

Vesconite Bearings’ solution
Our bushings have a low coefficient of friction and make pumping more efficient. This translates into a reduction in energy consumption.



Keeping life-cycle costs down
Maintenance considerations continue to play a role in purchases. Many users of pumps wish to purchase reliable equipment that will not let them down in the middle of a production cycle. They are aware that work stoppages reduce earnings and profits, and are choosing products that will assist with their core production activity while not costing an arm and a leg.

Fact box
The Hydraulic Institute and Europump have developed a guide to pump life-cycle costs, including initial, maintenance, energy and other costs (https://www1.eere.energy.gov/manufacturing/tech_assistance/pdfs/pumplcc_1001.pdf ) The organisations show that maintenance and energy costs are the highest costs for a medium-sized industrial pump over a typical life cycle.

Vesconite Bearings’ solution
Our pump bushings have been proven to last longer than traditional bronze material and rubber products and this gives a pump a longer lifecycle. Our bushings also reduce wear to connecting parts, reducing maintenance costs further.

Selling is harder in some industry sectors
Pump users in the mining, marine and oil and gas sectors, among many others, have been hard hit by the slowing global economy. Pump users in these sectors are trying to extend the use that they get from their pumps and are not as ready to purchase new equipment.

Fact box
The World Bank has revised its 2016 global growth forecast to 2.4%. It has described growth in advanced economies as sluggish and noted that commodity prices have been low and that global trade has been weak (http://www.worldbank.org/en/publication/global-economic-prospects ).

Vesconite Bearings’ solution
Stressed companies can source pump bushings and wear rings from Vesconite Bearings where only these need to be replaced. This saves these companies from having to buy all components that are found in repair kits when only certain components are required.

Food and water concerns
Food producers and water utilities are increasingly concerned about the health and safety of the equipment that they buy. They are aware that equipment needs to be shown to be safe for food preparation, safe for use in water distribution and proven not to contaminate the environment.

Fact box
Many countries have regulations that describe the handling, preparation and storage of food as well as legislation governing water quality. These describe various regulated contaminants in food and water. Pump manufacturers serving these industries are increasingly cognisant of health and safety regulations in the industries they serve.

Vesconite Bearings’ solution
Vesconite and Vesconite Hilube are approved for food contact by the Laboratories National D’Essais and contact with drinking water by the Water Regulations Advisory Scheme. Vesconite Hilube also has NF61 approval for use in potable water applications in the US.

Urbanisation and pressure on infrastructure
Urbanisation levels are increasing in many of the markets that Vesconite Bearings operates in. This has put pressure on ageing water and gas infrastructure.

Fact box
Half of people globally live in cities currently.
Some 70% of the global population will live in urban areas by 2050.
One in four of the world’s urban population live in slums.
(https://21stcenturychallenges.org/urbanisation-2/ )

Vesconite Bearings’ solution
Our products are being used in potable water and butane gas supply in regions where urbanisation is increasing. Our global reach means that our products are dispatched within days of ordering them.

Charlie Simpson
+27 11 616 1111