Smart pump: Device can manage itself, help control process

New rotary positive displacement three-screw concept pump can manage own performance, order own replacement parts.
By Control Engineering Staff November 5, 2008

Sophisticated electronics have enlarged the list of practical process regulating devices to include pumps of various types. A new demonstration unit extends these capabilities, even including the pump ordering its own replacement parts.

Colfax Corporation , a global supplier of fluid-handling solutions, has developed an intelligent concept pump with the ability to monitor its performance, adjust to changing process conditions and order its own replacement parts– all without human supervision. The company unveiled the Imo TX2020 concept pump at the Shipbuilding, Machinery, and Marine (SMM) International Trade Fair in Hamburg, Germany, last month.

“This is a significant advance in rotary positive displacement three-screw pump technology,” says Benny Strom, general manager of Imo, “assuring continual, precision pumping performance for applications in which minimizing downtime and maximizing pump life is critical.” Strom added that while Colfax highlighted marine applications at SMM, the TX2020 concept pump also holds much promise for remote pipeline locations or power plants and other facilities that need to operate at high capacity.

Developed at the Colfax facility in Stockholm, Sweden, where the first rotary positive displacement three-screw pumps originated, the new designTX2020 concept pump continually monitors flow rate, pressure, liquid viscosity and energy consumption. If it determines adjustment is necessary to maintain a setpoint, it can change speed or heat the liquid to lower its viscosity.

The company anticipates the new design can be adapted to a number of configurations driven by application needs. For example, it can operate by itself at a remote pumping location or be connected to a network of pumps managed at a central office. Imo pump software includes a preventive maintenance calendar and– based on foreseen needs or detected problems – the ability to determine which parts need replacement and issue a purchase order for them.

According to Karl-Johan Brink, Imo’s director of sales and marketing, the company is speaking with customers, owners and module builders about capabilities and applications. “We’re incorporating the voice of the customer,” he says, “channeling feedback and input into further development of the concept pump for sale and production.”

—Edited by Peter Welander, process industries editor, PWelander@cfemedia.com ,
Process & Advanced Control Monthly
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