Grundfos India and its hQ at Bjerringbro are working at increasing the sustainability factor in its pumps
Grundfos Pumps India, a subsidiary of Grundfos, Denmark, plans to manufacture small solar pumps for domestic applications. The pumps have been developed in India and will be made here. These units are being field tested and targeted for launch in the first quarter of 2016-17, according to NK Ranganath, managing director, Grundfos Pumps India.
At Grundfos’ Chennai office, Ranganath NK says that the company looks at few areas in work and sustainability is one of them. “Whatever we do, we also consider the impact of our actions. In fact, we are, perhaps, the only company to work out the intricacies of making an entire product by ourselves. We even write the software for our products and it is all integrated into one,” he adds. Although the goal is to provide clean water and also save on resources, pumps form an integral part of this decision. The drive to achieve sustainability has even flowed into its corporate building where it gone beyond the scope of work of LEED EB Platinum Certification it received in 2013.
Today, each and every manufacturer is looking at ways to improve efficiency levels at their plant, cut production costs and of course reduce their carbon footprint in the manufacturing process. Grundfos’ current product portfolio includes a wide range of innovative pump solutions claimed to enhance the energy efficiency drive in manufacturing plants. The company says its advanced e-solutions programme can help optimise processes and reduce energy consumption up to 50% in some applications.
How pumps matter
Access to clean drinking water is not a problem confined to under-developed countries alone. Several developed countries too are frequently concerned about the quality of water. One company that has made it its mission to ensure that millions have access to potable water is Grundfos. The Bjerringbro-based company has worked hard to create solutions in pumping and has come up with innovative solutions that could help countries and utility companies solve water problems.
At its Bjerringbro headquarters in Copenhagen, Mads Nipper, group president and CEO, explains how he intends to make Grundfos a leading provider of green solutions in the water and waste management arena. As a global company with sales companies in 56 countries and sales offices in even more, Grundfos is well poised to meet the demands of markets everywhere. It prefers not to skip any opportunity as far as demand is concerned, however, for Nipper, the point is to increase sales in the existing markets it operates in, instead of looking for new ones. Having worked with Lego for 23 years, he did not for a moment think that he would leave the company. However, it was the opportunity to work with the world’s largest pump manufacturer that he could not resist.
There are numerous kinds of pumps used across the world. Most of them are outdated and work on basic technology. The task before Grundfos is bringing down the use of electricity to 5% from the current 10%. “We at Grundfos have the potential to affect the total world electricity consumption by percentages,” adds Nipper.
Speaking about manufacturing, Nipper says the company will continue to invest in better technologies and up the ante. With precision and quality in manufacturing taking precedence, the company believes that deploying robots is essential at the shop floor. More often than not, countries that incur high cost of labour have quickly adopted advanced technology and robots are usually one way. In order to ensure that quality remains consistent across its products, Grundfos prefers to send across components to India, which are then assembled into the relevant kind of pump.
Highlighting the business targets of Grundfos, Nipper said, “We have an overall ambition of growing our sales by 6% per annum by 2020. The goal is to reach a return on sales of 10% by 2020.”
Addressing the group of visiting journalists, Kim Nøhr Skibsted, group vice-president, communications & public affairs said that as the world’s largest pump manufacturers with an annual production of more than 16 million pumps, the company is at the forefront of promoting energy efficiency and sustainable technology thus ensuring that water supply and wastewater facilities meet challenges that could arise in future. “It is for this reason that we continue to spend on R&D and growing digitalisation is a big challenge in future. It is for this reason that we invest 5-6% of our profit in R&D, which can grow at higher level in future,” he added.
It is also a matter of pride for Grundfos that they are, in their own way, associated with one of the greenest hotel in the world. The hotel is the largest solar panel building in northern Europe with a 85m exterior and roof made up entirely of energy-absorbing panels. Using the earth beneath the building’s foundations as a source of heat and ventilation, the system enables the hotel to be heated or cooled using around 90% less energy than more conventional methods. The hotel uses the Aquifer Thermal Energy Storage (ATES) system located in the basement. The system is powered by the Grundfos Thinking Buildings programme. “The ATES harnesses groundwater and pumps it through the building, cooling the rooms in summer and heating them up in winter. Groundwater from an 8°C cold well is circulated through an exchanger that cools water in the hotel’s hydronic air-conditioning system. The groundwater is heated and subsequently returned to a warm well in the aquifer. The warm well and the surrounding groundwater heat up to approximately 16°C during the cooling season. The free cooling process covers up to 60% of the building’s total cooling needs,” says Jens Nørgaard, application manager for Grundfos Commercial Building Services.
The multiple programmes by the company and its ongoing initiatives should help the company meet its targets and goals by 2020.