The past year has seen a steady increase in interest in variable speed pumping and integrated systems.
The growing awareness of the importance of energy efficiency among site owners and occupiers, along with the introduction of the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme, have been the key drivers.
Variable speed pumping is by no means a new technology, but the past year has seen an upsurge, particularly for retrofit projects, where the payback periods and long-term savings are easily calculated and financially compelling.
In terms of technology we’ve seen a move towards reduced complexity of system design for larger-scale variable speed pumping. For example, IVS Sensorless pumps, which simplify system design by removing the need for remote VFDs and sensors, were previously only available up to 7.5 kW.
Now the range includes models with variable speed drives up to 55 kW. Variable speed capabilities overall have expanded upwards, with standalone variable speed drives for pumps up to 450 kW now readily available as mainstream products rather than customised one-offs.
The move towards variable speed has coincided with the growing popularity of integrated systems.
Three or four years ago, even though the benefits of such systems were clear for all to see, the market was still quite locked into the traditional way of doing things. By that, I mean specifying all of the components separately and assembling a system on site.
Over the past year there has been a complete turnround. As well as appreciating the installation benefits of packaged plant, customers are now conversant with the higher levels of energy efficiency that are possible with integrated systems, such as those pictured above.
There are obvious carbon reduction and cost-saving benefits behind both variable speed pumping and integrated systems, so there is every reason to expect these trends to continue for the foreseeable future.
Wayne Rose is marketing director of Armstrong