May 26

Happy Memorial Day From Pump Products

It is the last Monday of May which means that it is Memorial Day. I certainly hope that you are having a restful, memorable and fun day. Of course, people most commonly associate Memorial Day Weekend with the unofficial start of summer and everything that goes with it. Barbecues, day drinking, trips to the beach and (if you have the day off) sleeping in late are all part and parcel of the MDW package. And all of that is great.

Inspector Pumphead salutes the troops

But I hope you also take time to remember the original purpose of Memorial Day, which is to memorialize and honor soldiers of the armed services who gave their lives for the United States. In that way, Memorial Day is a distinct and separate tradition from Veteran’s Day, which honors all who served. Many living veterans will be quick to remind people that today is about those who never made it home from war.

History

Memorial Day originally began as Decoration Day in 1868. A group of Civil War Union Army veterans organized ceremonies in which they would lay flowers on the tombstones of their fallen comrades. Confederate veterans’ groups held similar ceremonies. In addition to the laying of flowers, speeches and invocations from politicians, clergymen and the like became common. As is the case with many holidays, various regional celebrations were celebrated at different times throughout the country before being consecrated into an official national holiday.

One of the most famous ceremonies took place in at Gettysburg National Park in 1913, the 50th anniversary of the famous battle. Veterans of both the Union and Confederate armies gathered together to remember lost friends and celebrate national unity. The names “Memorial Day” and “Decoration Day” were sometimes used interchangeably over the years; it was not until after World War II that “Memorial Day” gained permanence. In 1968, Congress designated the day officially as taking place on the last Monday of May.

Some believe that turning Memorial Day into a permanent three-day weekend holiday has contributed to people taking the intended purpose less seriously, as it has become more of a celebration of the long weekend.

Customs

Memorial Day parades are one of the most popular events to attend. Towns and cities across the country will have veteran’s and other civic groups march through the main streets. It’s a classic picture of Americana.

For others in coastal regions, going to the beach is a popular choice. With the weather gradually turning into full-on summer, MDW is one of the most popular beach weekends of the year. Just be sure to watch out for traffic.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday!

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.

May 26

Inspector Pumphead Previews the French Open!

The French Open starts tomorrow and that means it is time for some tennis! The second major Grand Slam tournament of the year takes place at the Roland Garros Stadium in Paris.

Inspector Pumphead considers the right trajectory for his serve

The signature of the French Open is the famous red clay court that has bedeviled so many of the game’s greats in the past. The clay is not as consistent as a hard court and can change depending on the weather. It is more difficult to time slides and swings. Most of all, the tennis ball bounces slower on clay, changing its spin and trajectory. This means that powerful serves are blunted and long rallies are commonplace. Venus Williams, Pete Sampras, Jimmy Connors and John McEnroe are some of the all-time tennis greats who never took the trophy home from France.

Which makes what Rafael Nadal has done over the past decade all the more impressive. The “Clay King” will be gunning for his 10th (!) French Open title this year. He already owns the record at nine titles won. Nadal famously grew up practicing on clay and that experience combined with his speed, conditioning, timing and athleticism has made him almost unstoppable on the surface. Over the last few years injuries have impeded his game somewhat, but he still enters the 2017 tournament as the favorite on a run of good form.

Whatever happens, we know Nadal will not face longtime nemesis Roger Federer, who decided to pull out and preserve his aging body for Wimbledon. Fellow big-time stars Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray will also be lurking, although neither man has been on his best form as of late. Can they spring an upset? Will some relatively unknown young gun step into the spotlight to challenge Nadal? Only time will tell.

Over on the women’s field, Serena Williams will not compete due to her pregnancy, which must have every other player breathing a sigh of relief. While the women’s draw might suffer due to lack of starpower, it could be an opportunity to see who steps up in the vacuum left by Williams. A wide-open field could make for some tense, exciting matches. Tipsters are looking at Simona Halep, Angie Kerber and Garbiñe Muguruza to make some noise.

Whatever happens, it’s sure to be an interesting and exciting two weeks. With the star wattage on the men’s draw and the open nature of the women’s draw, you definitely won’t want to miss out on all the exciting tennis action? The official Inspector Pumphead prediction is that Nadal will win his 10th title. As for the women? No idea! What are your predictions? Let us know in the comments.

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.

May 23

Inspector Pumphead’s Frequently Asked Questions: Well Pump Edition

Welcome to Inspector Pumphead’s Frequently Asked Questions! I will be answering some of the most common questions we get on a specific topic. Some of this information may also be available elsewhere, but this feature will serve as a convenient one-stop source. In this edition, I’ll talk about well pumps.

Inspector Pumphead is ready to answer your questions

Well Pump FAQ

1. Why are there two different types of well pumps listed? What’s the difference between ‘jet’ and ‘submersible?’

Jet well pumps are surface pumps configured above the well system, while a jet assembly system (twin pipe or Packer depending on the application) is inserted into the well shaft. The main components of a jet pump are a nozzle, venturi and the jet itself. The physics and mechanics of it are interesting, but we’ll focus on the basics here: these components work together to create a vacuum above the water, which allows atmospheric pressure underneath to push the water upwards.

Jet pumps can be either horizontally or vertically configured and are much the same size and shape as other pumps.

Submersible well pumps are actually installed and submerged under water at the base of the well. Whereas jet pumps use suction to pull water, submersible pumps create pressure to push the water in an upward direction. Submersible well pumps are cylindrical and “thin” in diameter so as to easily fit down a well shaft. They are often tall as well since submersible well pumps usually contain multiple stages stacked on top of each other. A stage is simply a compartment with an impeller, diffuser and upthrust washer that increases the pressure as water moves up through each stage. The more stages, the higher the head.

2. So which one is better?

As is always the case when it comes to pumps, the answer is “it depends on your system and application.” Submersible pumps are more efficient, especially in deeper wells. The farther the pump is away from the water table, the less effective it will be. Since submersible well pumps are closer to the source, they are more reliable. The downside to a submersible pump is that it must be pulled out for maintenance, repair or replacement. Being submerged also exposes the pump to contaminants such as sand.

3. What constitutes a ‘deep well’ or ‘shallow well?’

The depth of the well refers specifically to the depth of the water table, which is the top of the reservoir. A water table 25 ft. or fewer underground, while any water table deeper than 25 ft. is considered a deep well.

4. What is a convertible jet pump?

A convertible jet pump is a pump that can be configured for either shallow well or deep well applications with the proper fittings. Convertible jet pumps are often built as deep well jet pumps and include a bolt on shallow well adapter. Deep well fittings, such as the jet assembly (twin pipe or Packer) are usually purchased separately.

5. Why would I need a convertible pump? Shouldn’t I just get either a deep well or shallow well pump?

Usually you’d be able to stick with either one or the other type of jet well pump. In some areas, however, water tables may fluctuate due to the climate, unique elevation, topography changes or other factors. A convertible jet well pump ensures that you will be prepared and will continue to receive well water in such a case.

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.

May 17

Pumps Make It Possible: The Hoover Dam

Welcome to the first edition of “Pumps Make it Possible,” our new recurring feature in which I, Inspector Pumphead, will talk about the different aspects of human life and society that would be impossible without pumps. Many of these things happen without people knowing it. In fact, the pump is actually the second most-used piece of machinery in the world, after the motor.

Inspector Pumphead scours the globe for interesting pump stories

In case you missed it, here’s the introductory blog: Pumps Make It Possible: An Introduction.

Pumps Make the Hoover Dam Possible

With outdoor recreation season starting for many of our nation’s parks and landmarks*, I thought it would be a good idea to tackle a landmark that is made possible by pumps. Thus, In today’s edition, I’ll examine the Hoover Dam.

*(Incidentally, lottery applications for many U.S. Recreation activities across the country are now open. I highly encourage you to apply! See here: https://www.recreation.gov/marketing.do?goto=acm/faqs/lotteries.htm)

The Hoover Dam is one of the most famous man-made constructs in the world. It serves as reservoir, flood-prevention insurance, an irrigation source, the supplier of hydroelectric power to millions of Americans. It is a useful transportation point between Arizona and Nevada. Millions of tourists from around the country, and indeed, the world, visit the Hoover Dam every year. At the time of its construction, it was the biggest dam and the largest concrete structure in the world.

Pumping stations at the Hoover Dam (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

A marvel of engineering, planning, manpower and resource management, the Hoover Dam produces over 4.5 billion kilowatt hours to serve the electrical usage of over 8 million people in Arizona, Nevada and Southern California, according to the Power Authority. Would the famous Las Vegas Strip light up the same way without the Dam? Lake Mead, the reservoir that was created during the construction of the dam project can hold up to 10 trillion gallons of water at full capacity, according to some estimates. Imagine if the Dam broke?

So the importance and awesomeness of the Hoover Dam is clear. Heavy duty industrial pumps play an integral role in the operation of the dam. Pumping stations on Lake Mead, each with over 30 pumps, draw water from the lake to transport to the dam. These pumping stations are especially critical when the water level in the lake is low, as happened during drought periods in 2015.

Another pumping station is currently being built at an estimated cost of $650 million, due to be completed in 2020. This just shows the importance of pumps in keeping one of America’s most important pieces of infrastructure operating and the value that pumps have generally.

In the future, we will tackle how other landmarks and important pieces of infrastructure are powered by pumps. If you have any suggestions for future #MadePossibleByPumps projects, be sure to comment or email!

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.

May 16

Inspector Pumphead Recommends: Hartell 803338 GPP-1MH-1P Ice Machine Pump

The Inspector recommends: Hartell

Welcome to Inspector Pumphead’s recommendations! In this column, I will use my skills and experience as an Inspector to highlight and explain the features and benefits of specific pump models. The pump featured here might be a best-seller, be seasonally appropriate or have unique features that set it apart from other pumps of a similar type.

In today’s edition of the “The Inspector Recommends,” I will be looking at a very cool (pun intended) pump, the Hartell 803338 GPP-1MH-1P ice machine pump.

What Are Ice Machine Pumps?

As the name suggests, ice machine pumps are a critical component of ice-making machines. As summer gets closer and temperatures continue to climb, many more people will want ice for drinks on demand. Whether you are a restaurant owner or work in foodservice, a smooth running ice machine helps keep customers happy and business flowing.

Hartell 803338 GPP-1MH-1PP

Commercial ice machines include a pump to move water from a dedicated water line. The water travels through the tubing and over a condenser which removes heat thereby cooling the water, and an evaporator which allows the water to expand. This makes the ice. The mechanics are a bit more complicated than that, but for our purposes you should simply know that the pump is important for getting the water that makes the ice.

Pump Products sells these ice machine pumps as replacement parts for ice machine pumps that break or stop working correctly. As a replacement pump, the Hartell 803338 GPP-1MH-1P can be used to replace the Ice-O-Matic 9161076-01 pump in specific 115 voltage Ice-O-Matic models including the C20, C30, C40, C50, EC200, EC300, EC400, EC400, ICE0250, ICE0305, ICE0400, ICE0405, ICE0500, ICEU150, ICEU200, ICEU220 and ICEU300, among other ice machine models from that company.

Hartell 803338 GPP-1MH-1P

The Hartell 803338 is a 115 V pump that can operate at either a 50 Hz or 60 Hz frequency. The discharge connection is ⅝” O.D. The pump itself is lightweight at 6 lbs. and compact, at about 5” x 6.8” x 10.7” dimensions. This is an important advantage when it comes to a replacement pump, because it makes it easier to install and connect.

The straightforward and efficient design also allows for easy technical diagnosis and service/maintenance should any problems arise. And of course sanitation is particularly important for an ice machine pump. Pure water must be used for the ice. You can rest easy with this pump as it is tested to ensure it conforms to NSF and UL standards. With its blend of convenience, simplicity and affordability, it is no wonder that the Hartell 803338 is our best-selling ice machine pump.

Hartell Pumps

While we haven’t highlighted Hartell Pumps in this feature space before, they are well-known in the industry for making premium products. The ice machine and condensate pumps are particularly well-known and sought after. Hartell promises “clean, safe, simple and sanitary” operation for all of its pumps.

Pump Products also sells Hartell ice machine replacement pumps for other ice machine manufacturers such as Manitowoc, Whirlpool-Frigidaire and Scotsman.

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to help you find the right pump, as well as to provide price quotes, availability and shipping information. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.

May 12

Happy Mother’s Day from Pump Products!

Happy Mother’s Day from Pump Products!

I sincerely hope that you have something nice planned for the special lady in your life that raised you – whether it’s a nice brunch, a trip to the zoo or just a day out. I also hope that you got her some flowers and a nice card. As for me, Grandma Pumphead is a huge Metallica fan so I bought her tickets to a show.

The Inspector loves Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day has become quite the commercial holiday and it certainly has an interesting history.

The History of Mothers Day

The day actually originated as an organizing effort by working class mothers in 1850s West Virginia to lower the infant mortality rate. There were fewer regulations protecting working class people from poor sanitary conditions, food contamination and the general malaise of disease. Organizer Ann Reeves Jarvis started Mother’s Friendship Day events to bring mothers together, consolidate their common interests and encourage political activity.

After Jarvis’s death, her daughter Anna started organizing Mother’s Day ceremonies in recognition of her own mother’s pioneering work. Jarvis (the daughter) envisioned Mother’s Day being a mostly private, familial affair, with children honoring their own mothers in a manner similar to her own celebration.

Of course, many other ceremonies began to be held across the country, and as the holiday grew in stature, so too did its purpose and meaning to different people. Businesses noticed and started marketing certain products, such as flowers, greeting cards, and candy, specifically for the day. In 1914, President Woodrow Wilson made the second Sunday in May the official day of Mother’s Day.

Interestingly enough, Jarvis grew to disdain what Mothers’ Day (now in the plural) had become. The commercial aspect now dominated and it was very far from the family-oriented day that she had envisioned. She spent much of the rest of her life organizing protests and threatening legal action against the purveyors of the new, commercial Mothers’ Day. She died in 1948.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Naturally, many will gravitate towards cards, flowers or books. But consider not giving your mom some dimestore “obviously purchased at the last minute” joke card or the kind of flowers that she doesn’t even like. Instead, why not give her what every woman, indeed what every person, wants? I’m talking about buying her a brand new pump!

I’m personally partial to a Liberty OmniVore grinder pump, which carries our highest recommendation. Of course, depending on system needs and application, your mom may not need a grinder, but never fear. We have virtually all types of fluid moving pumps; just browse the online store or call and ask an application engineer to find the right pump for mom.

Bonus: Yo Momma Jokes

“Yo momma so fat that when she sits around the house, she sits AROUND the house.”

“Yo momma so old God signed her yearbook.”

“Yo momma so old she rode dinosaurs to school.”

“Yo momma so ugly she went into a haunted house with tickets and came out with a job.”

Bonus Fact: In 2007, MTV actually produced and aired a game show called “Yo Momma” in which contestants took turns making yo momma jokes to each other. It was hosted by Wilmer Valderrama from “That 70’s Show.” Seriously. This remains one of the most inexplicable things that has ever happened and I’m not just talking about TV. The show ran for three seasons.

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to provide ordering assistance, price quotes or to answer any question you may have regarding pumps. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.

May 10

Inspector Pumphead’s Quick Tips: Understanding Model Numbers

The Inspector is in

It’s time for everyone’s favorite semi-recurring content feature: Inspector Pumphead’s Quick Tips!

In this space, Inspector Pumphead from Pump Products will be answering common questions, sending out friendly reminders and dispensing basic tips for pump handling and maintenance. Small stuff that might not fall into another category. The Inspector is in!

What do all the digits in a model number mean?

Have you ever been shopping for pumps online and thought: ‘what am I looking at?’ Pump part numbers can be notoriously hard to decipher, with the long string of numbers and letters doing little to distinguish one model from the other. Even worse, pumps in a series often have part numbers that look pretty much identical on first glance, with only a single digit in that number string string being different. Sometimes the wrong pump gets purchased.

Mistakes happen of course, but getting a pump with the wrong horsepower or voltage because you read the part number wrong is a particularly costly one. It is important to choose the right pump your application.

Despite what some customers think, part numbers are not just random or computer generated numbers. The digits in a part number represent something about the pump’s construction, function or application. Each pump manufacturer uses their own specific nomenclature, so the meaning for different numbers will vary across brand. To help customers understand the purpose of nomenclature, I will break down the number for a specific manufacturer.

For today’s example, we’ll use a pump part number from Goulds, specifically, the 1SC51E1HA submersible dewatering pump (Also don’t forget to check out the buyer’s guide breaking down Goulds dewatering pumps).

This diagram lays out the basic Goulds nomenclature:

Nomenclature breakdown

As you can see, the number starts with the model series, then proceeds to designate the most important characteristics of the pump, including seal material, motor speed, horsepower, phase and voltage, impeller stage and size and cord length. The Goulds 1SC51E1HA matches up with the example listed here, with the exception of the penultimate digit. In Goulds’ notation, ‘H’ in that spot denotes a 5-stage Noryl impeller.

As mentioned above, each manufacturer uses its own nomenclature, so this example is more to give you a basic picture of how the numbers work and what the purpose of the nomenclature is. For instance, Liberty will often end a part number with an ‘M’ or “A’ to denote whether a manual is automatic. A dashed number appended to the end will also tell you the cord length (e.g. “-2” means the model comes with a 20 ft. cord).

Of course, the easiest way to ensure that you pick the pump with the right performance and construction for your application is to read each product listing thoroughly. And if you’re still confused about a part number, our trained and dedicated application engineers are just a phone call away!

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to provide technical assistance, price quotes or to answer any questions you may have regarding pumps. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.

May 05

Happy Cinco De Mayo from Pump Products!

Inspector Pumphead wants to share his love of Cinco De Mayo

Happy Cinco De Mayo from Pump Products! 

This great holiday is a fun-filled celebration of Mexico and Mexican culture. It’s a day for eating Mexican cuisine, listening to Mexican music and learning about Mexican history. In some ways, the holiday is even bigger in the U.S. than it is in its native country. It is much the equivalent of Saint Patrick’s day for the Irish. So grab a taco and a Mexican beer and read a little about the history behind this day.

What is the Day About?

Cinco De Mayo celebrates the famous victory by the Mexican Army over the French Army at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. The context of the events leading up to the battle are thorny and complex; suffice to say that money was a major issue. Before the conflict proper, a mix of postcolonial malaise, religious fervor and bloodshed left Mexico nearly bankrupt. In 1861, the Mexican President halted all payments to foreign creditors, which certainly did not sit well with European powers such as France, Britain and Spain.

All three nations sent forces to Mexico to get their money, but negotiations were made and hostilities averted – with Spain and England, that is. Napoleon III, Emperor of France, was itching to follow in his uncle’s footsteps and create an Empire, this one in Latin America. The French forces pressed on and marched on Mexico City. A small 2,000 man strong Mexican force was defending the city of Puebla against a much better equipped and much larger (approx. 6,000) French force. Through some luck, clever tactics and a lack of foresight on the part of the French, the Mexican garrison at Puebla managed to turn back the assault.

While the strategic importance of the victory has been disputed by historians, there is no doubt that it resonated emotionally with the Mexican populace and indeed, the world. Everyone loves a good underdog story right? Since 1862, celebrations and reenactments have been held in honor of the event, although the day is not technically a federal holiday in Mexico, nor is it considered a major holiday.

The Modern Holiday

The celebrations in the United States began not long after the actual battle. It is believed that Mexican miners working in California started the tradition by shooting fireworks and firing guns after hearing of the news. The holiday grew among the Chicano population in California and gradually spread to other parts of the country with significant Mexican populations. Critically, it started to grow beyond the celebration of a single battle to a celebration of Mexican culture and heritage itself.

Cinco De Mayo first truly hit the national consciousness in the early 1980’s – and it was largely because of beer companies. The beer companies sensed the potential to add a day to the calendar in which beer could be a primary consumer focus. Extensive marketing about celebrating Cinco De Mayo was pushed and the holiday moved to the forefront.

In 2005, Congress issued a resolution calling on the President to issue a proclamation for the observance of the day with “appropriate ceremonies and activities.” And that’s how we got Cinco De Mayo. So grab some avocados and tequila, order the Alvarez-Chavez fight and enjoy.

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to provide technical assistance, price quotes or to answer any questions you may have regarding pumps. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.

 

May 03

Pumps Make It Possible: An Introduction

The Inspector ponders the impact of pumps around the globe

Is there anything more magical than the mighty pump?

A concept so simple and elegant – the transportation of fluid from one place to another – has changed human society and delighted people the world over. People are always coming up to me saying “hey Inspector, aren’t pumps great?” and “You’re so lucky that you get to work with pumps everyday!” 

And as I always say in return: Brother, you ain’t lying.

Of course, while everyone loves pumps, not all truly grasp just how important pumps are to the functioning of everyday society. For instance, did you know that pumps are the second most used mechanical instrument (regardless of application) in the world after the motor? I bet that fun fact knocked you right out of your seat friend.

But it’s true and it underlines how important pumps are to so many areas. An old adage in the pumping industry is that pumps are something you never think about until one breaks and suddenly getting a new one is all you can think about.

Millions of people across the country that live in rural or outlying areas rely on pumps to get their water from a well. For these people, pumps are quite literally a lifeline.

If you get your water from a municipal source, you might associate pumps more with wastewater or groundwater removal from a specific area. For instance, if you are a homeowner in an area that is prone to flooding, you surely know the importance of your basement sump pump. If you are a property manager and people are constantly flushing towels, diapers and plastic wipes down the toilets on your property, there’s a good chance you’ve familiarized yourself with grinder pumps. And so on.

The majority of pumps that Pump Products sells can probably be segmented into a choice few categories (sump, sewage, well), a wide variety of other pump types are available as well. Pumps for hazardous areas (chemical resistant, explosion proof), pumps for residential areas, pumps for ice machines – all exist. There are probably as many types of pumps out there as there are possible fluid moving applications.

Pumps can be used for aesthetic purposes, such as with water feature/fountain displays. These water features can range from the fountain in your backyard to the Bellagio fountains in Las Vegas. Anytime you see some crazy water display, remember that a pump is doing the hard work.

Did you know that pumps are also involved in fermenting wine and in breweries. That’s right, the glass of wine or bottle of beer that you are (responsibly) sipping while reading this blog is only possible because of pumps.

And in fact that’s the point of this blog and the “Made Possible by Pumps” campaign: to educate the populace on the important power of pumps. Over the coming weeks, I will highlight how different aspects of human society – commerce, customs, clothing, manufacturing, entertainment, art – are powered (at least in part) by pumps. Hopefully this endeavour will let you appreciate these simple but wondrous machines. 

So look out for blog posts, features and other content tagged “Made Possible by Pumps” to learn more!

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to provide technical assistance, price quotes or to answer any questions you may have regarding pumps. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.

Apr 28

Inspector Pumphead’s Classroom: Smart Pump Technology

Welcome to class! Now sit down

Welcome to Inspector Pumphead’s classroom, where the good man will explain a part of the pump world that you may not know about. Today, we look at smart technology advances in the pumping industry.

Smart Pumping

The smart appliance technological revolution is here and it will change everything about the way you monitor and control your pump. 

From the sump pump in your basement that prevents flooding to the industrial submersible pumps at water treatment plants that treat and recycle sewage, pumps play a vital role in the continuing facility of everyday life.

Naturally, the maintenance and upkeep of pumps is of vital importance to continued operation. The consequences of poor pump performance can range from a flooded basements and backed up sewage to catastrophic water treatment failure for entire municipalities. Imagine a canal failing and flooding an entire city; that would be extremely bad.

Pump Monitoring

The basic tools used to regulate a pump have historically been designed as threshold management. A float switch to keep the water volume level within a certain range, a pressure switch to keep the pressure within a preset range of PSI, a control panel that regulates the electrical input to the pump, etc.

At the domestic level, the technology progressed to the point where owners and operators could receive active communication notifications, first to a landline and more recently as a text message alert to a cell phone.

At the industrial level, SCADA (Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition) systems have become increasingly popular since the 1960s and 70s. A SCADA system is a heavy duty, comprehensive system that often involves a number of subsidiary components such as remote terminal units, programmable controllers, a telemetry system, a data acquisition server and so on.

Pump owners and operators now have increasingly sophisticated tools at their disposal. Many bi-directional systems not only sense problems but can:

  1. Identify the nature of the problem
  2. Display the specifics of the problem in an easy to understand interface
  3. Allow the user to make decisions, up to and including shutting the entire system down

Critically, the monitoring technology identifies potential problem points before they erupt into more serious problems. It enables and encourages preventative care rather than patchwork, after-the-fact quick fixes.

An article at Pumps and Systems touches on this point:

“However as technology has evolved and more importantly become increasingly user friendly, facility operations and management have demonstrated the desire to take advantage of the latest technology available—such as Internet communication for monitoring and control, WiFi communications, smartphone interface to their pump controller for alarms and remote control and configuration. They seek a flexible, off-the-shelf device to reduce their automation cost, startup time, implementation time and operator training.”

The Z Control

To that end, some pump manufacturers are releasing bi-directional monitoring systems that can comfortably function as a smartphone app. The manufacturers that have long specialized in hardware are quickly becoming well-versed in software.

For instance, Zoeller recently released an app called “Z Control” that will give users total remote control of the pump through cloud computing.

Pump Products reached out to Jeff Floss, chief designer of the Z Control app. He described it as an alternative to a full-fledged SCADA system: cheaper, nimbler and requiring much less proprietary equipment.

“If a customer wants to have this functionality without spending anywhere up to $50,000 on a SCADA system, they can use the Z control,” he says. “A SCADA system may be more robust, but it is not exactly what everyone needs.”

The Z Control offers inexpensive remote monitoring, instant alerts and remote control features. Messages can be received via text, email or push notifications directly to a home screen. Commands can be sent directly to the pump. Once logged into a Zoeller account, the user can adjust application parameters, run a self-test command, shut off an alarm if it goes off, etc.

Floss predicts that other pump manufacturers, and indeed, manufacturers in any industry, heading in a similar direction.

“Most of our electronics will become connected… that’s probably the goal of every pump manufacturer in this day and age,” Floss says.

It’s a brave new pumping world out there and it can get scary. Be sure to keep attending the Inspector’s classes to stay aware of all these changes.

Pump Products application engineers are standing by to provide technical assistance, price quotes or to answer any questions you may have regarding pumps. Call our toll free number 1-800-429-0800.