Industry Review

Indian Pump Industry - A Review

In India the manufacture of pumps has by now a history of nearly eighty years. Pumps being the basic equipment for every sphere of the national economy, the Indian pump industry has in its own growth, contributed immensely to the economic growth of the country. The enterprise in the Indian pump industry merits appreciation for the achievements of prompt and competent indigenisation of almost every type of pump, of pumps in gigantic sizes, of pumps of a variety of constructional features and operational sophistications and of pumps in a variety of materials of construction. The industry has over the years built up great potentials to meet challenges. It has also worked with good foresight and resilience to adapt to emerging trends, be it the compliance with the requirements of the Quality systems as per the ISO 9000 series of standards or the exposure to the global competition, prompted by the liberalisation of the economy. It is estimated that the production of pumps in the country is presently of the order of Rs. 1200 crores, contributed by some one million pumps per year, produced by some 500 odd manufacturers of large, medium and small scales. The following review surveys some notable achievements and developments of pumps and of the capabilities of the Indian pump industry to fulfill the country's domestic demand from various sectors.

Power generation - Thermal:

The first ever, concrete volute pumps to pump sea water through a once-pass cooling water system of a 500 MW thermal power station were recently made and successfully commissioned. The capacity range for these types of pumps is 10,000 m3/hr to 120,000 m3/hr.

In the context of agricultural sector, it is pertinent to note that much of the credit of India’s self-sufficiency in food does credit also to Indian Pump Industry.

This was preceded by the design, development, manufacture and commissioning of 2.2 m delivery size (30,000 m3/hr) vertical mixed flow pumps, with full-scale works-testing of the pumps with huge captive test-facilities for drive-ratings of the order of 3 MWe.

Boiler feed pumps, whether in ring-section or barre1-casing designs for pressure-ratings to the order of 420 bar are available from Indian manufacturers. Likewise, condensate extraction pumps of the encasent pattern for low NPSH have also been made since long.

Amongst the pumps of auxiliary systems, the Indian pump industry has been catering to the needs of ash-handling, abrasion-resistant pumps, pumps for raw water and other miscellaneous duties and screw and gear pumps for fuel-firing and lubrication systems, etc.

Captive power-generation or co-generation :

Complete pumping systems for captive power generation or co-generation are available indigenously.

Power generation - Nuclear :

The programme of nuclear power generation seems to be far less active now. Yet the successful manufacture and development of Moderator pumps, Primary System Feed Pumps, shut down Cooling pumps, Auxiliary Feed Pumps and pumps for emergency core-cooling system, etc., has progressed further with the development of a range of canned motor pumps up to 200 kW and most interestingly of the sodium-coolant pumps for the prototype fast breeder reactor of 500MWe capacity. Canned Motor Pumps for Heavy Water Plants for ratings of the order of 15 kW have been already supplied by the Indian pump industry.

Hydropower and pumped storage power generation :

The capabilities of the Indian pump industry to supply pumps and systems for hydro power and pumped storage power-generation are well established since long.

Oil and natural gas sector :

This being the unique core sector, most of the specialised needs of pumps from this sector have been developed in the Public sector enterprise-segment of the Indian pump industry. The developments have covered the sucker rod pumps, the multiplex mud pumps, Cementing Units, etc. These are supplemented by developments contributed also by the private sector, especially towards the injection pumps, fire-fighting pumps, sea-water handling pumps in duplex stainless steel for off-shore oil-exploration, 1 km long screw pumps, etc. For transmission of crude and refined petroleum products across long distances through pipelines, the high energy pumps upto 2000 kW rating have been produced in the country.

Refineries, fertilisers, lubricants and petro-chemicals sector :

The segment of the Indian pump industry, catering to the industries in this sector keeps itself well abreast of the periodic revisions being made in the Internationally well-recognised standards like 1502858, 150-5199, API-610, etc. and is quite prompt in adapting to the latest editions and practices. For the fertiliser industry, reciprocating carbamate and liquid Ammonia pumps are developed by the public sector pump manufacturer.

Mining and metal ore refining sector :

The coal mining is the most prominent amongst the mining activities, although there are activities of metal-ore mining, mining of diamond, mica, etc. The mining activity itself, whether opencast or underground is growing in size and technology. Accordingly, pumps of large capacities, of submersible and other types and for slurry transport of the mined outputs are coming into vogue. For aluminium production, single and double casing pumps in high hardness abrasion-resistant materials have been developed indigenously.

Steel sector :

The steel sector, while being a core sector, operates at two prominent levels. If the primary level be considered to be the steel plants, then the secondary level can be the re-rolling mills and sponge iron plants and the like, producing the secondary products.

The pumping needs of the steel sector comprise pumping water as the one most important utility and also the pumping of other utilities like lubricating oils, furnace-oil, etc. Fluidising and removal of the scale is another auxiliary activity, where pumps render a useful service.

The pickling and cleaning processes involve caustic and acidic solutions, for which pumps in non-metallic constructions and in lined constructions are employed. There are a good number of manufacturers specialising in making pumps in such constructions.

Paper sector :

The significant aspect of paper-making is again the extent of fluidising the paper-stock. Higher the percentage consistency, as much more economical is the process of paper-making, because all the fluidising liquid has to be subsequently squeezed out during the calendaring. The solids-handling capacity of paper-stock pumps has over the years improved from 4 to 5 percent consistency to some 8 to 9 percent consistency.

Macerator pumps have also been made in India since long.

Alongside, with pumps to handle liquors and bleaching solutions, which are akin to chemical-handling pumps, the Indian pump industry has had the capabilities to service the complete requirements of pumps for paper-making.

Utility sector :

Water supply and sanitation, the two prominent aspects of public health need good and efficient pumping systems. I

Water supply involves pumping right from the source of water, to its transport, treatment and distribution, finally to the point of consumption. While surface waters from rivers, lakes and dams are mostly the major sources for the urban water supply, ground water is becoming an important source not only for rural water supply, but also as an auxiliary source in urban housing societies. Further, growing urbanisation with high-rise, multi-storied complexes is necessitating domestic pumping to be another important complement of the urban water supply. In the rural context, the pumping of water often serves jointly, the dual role of irrigation and water supply. Often the treatment of water to ensure the water supply to be potable, does not receive as much attention, as it should.

The other important aspect of public health viz. sewage-handling, transport, treatment and disposal has received much less attention. Only some sporadic epidemics like the Surat plague generate some temporary interest, which often dies down in due course, without prompting appropriate sewerage schemes.

Given proper emphasis, water-treatment and sewerage are sectors of very vast scope all across the country.

Agriculture and irrigation :

For all the urbanisation and globalisation of the economy, the Indian economy will continue to be agrarian. In fact agriculture has registered a growth so significant as to become a promising foreign-exchange earner. Fruits, vegetables, grains and other processed food items are making prominent strides in the global market, often surpassing the traditional exports of tea, coffee, cotton, etc. Irrigation, fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides, preservatives and packaging, etc., have all made contributions towards these achievements of Indian agriculture. Pumps have been important in all these aspects.

The Indian pump industry has been conscious, that twenty percent and more of the power generated and fuel explored in the country are consumed in the agricultural activity. To ensure that there would be continuous improvement in the agricultural pumping, in respect of it being energy-efficient, lPMA extends a comprehensive participation in the national level standardisation effort, specially in evolving and upgrading the norms for minimum efficiency of agricultural pumps and pumping systems. IPMA feels proud and happy that the Indian Standards on agricultural pumps are so unique in this respect, that norms for minimum efficiency are incorporated therein, while no such norms are specified in any International standards. The pump-industry is substantially market-driven. This has motivated manufacturers of pumps to adapt energy-efficient designs for production. Sugar is a prominent corollary of the agricultural produce. Pumping in the production of sugar has interesting facets, including therein the handling and disposal of molasses. There is growing interest in deriving alcohols and organic chemicals as bye products, in the extensional activities of the sugar mills. The bagasse, another waste-product of the sugar mill is also recycled either as a fuel for the boilers or as raw material for making paper. The sugar industry is thus becoming a zero waste industry. The Indian pump industry has contributed a significant role towards this.

Fisheries and aquaculture :

The liberalisation of the Indian economy has increased the travels of international business and has given a boost to the tourist-facilities and associated demands. Fish-farming whether in fresh water resources or seawaters, employing aqua-cultural techniques has become an attractive proposition; India anyway has a long sea shore. The aqua-culture activity is hence attracting interest, abiding enough to prompt the activities to assume the nature and scale of an industrial production. The fish-ponds, especially those near the sea-shore need pumps for continuous replenishment of fresh sea water typically pumps for low head, high discharges and constructed to ensure smooth flow for the sea-life into the ponds and to ensure long life against sea-water corrosion. The industry is ably serving this growing demand.

Oil and natural gas sector:

This being the unique core sector, most of the specialised needs of pumps from this sector have been developed in the Public sector enterprise-segment of the Indian pump industry. The developments have covered the sucker rod pumps, the multiplex mud pumps, Cementing Units, etc. These are supplemented by developments contributed also by the private sector, especially towards the injection pumps, fire-fighting pumps, sea-water handling pumps in duplex stainless steel for off-shore oil-exploration, 1 km long screw pumps, etc. For transmission of crude and refined petroleum products across long distances through pipelines, the high energy pumps upto 2000 kW rating have been produced in the country.

Refineries, fertilisers, lubricants and petro-chemicals sector:

The segment of the Indian pump industry, catering to the industries in this sector keeps itself well abreast of the periodic revisions being made in the Internationally well-recognized standards like 1502858, 150-5199, API-610, etc. and is quite prompt in adapting to the latest editions and practices. For the fertiliser industry, reciprocating carbamate and liquid Ammonia pumps are developed by the public sector pump manufacturer.

Mining and metal ore refining sector:

The coal mining is the most prominent amongst the mining activities, although there are activities of metal-ore mining, mining of diamond, mica, etc. The mining activity itself, whether opencast or underground is growing in size and technology. Accordingly, pumps of large capacities, of submersible and other types and for slurry transport of the mined outputs are coming into vogue. For aluminium production, single and double casing pumps in high hardness abrasion-resistant materials have been developed indigenously.

Steel sector:

The steel sector, while being a core sector, operates at two prominent levels. If the primary level be considered to be the steel plants, then the secondary level can be the re-rolling mills and sponge iron plants and the like, producing the secondary products.

The pumping needs of the steel sector comprise pumping water as the one most important utility and also the pumping of other utilities like lubricating oils, furnace-oil, etc. Fluidizing and removal of the scale is another auxiliary activity, where pumps render a useful service.

The pickling and cleaning processes involve caustic and acidic solutions, for which pumps in non-metallic constructions and in lined constructions are employed. There are a good number of manufacturers specializing in making pumps in such constructions.

Paper sector:

The significant aspect of paper-making is again the extent of fluidizing the paper-stock. Higher the percentage consistency, as much more economical is the process of paper-making, because all the fluidizing liquid has to be subsequently squeezed out during the calendaring. The solids-handling capacity of paper-stock pumps has over the years improved from 4 to 5 percent consistency to some 8 to 9 percent consistency.

Macerator pumps have also been made in India since long. Alongside, with pumps to handle liquors and bleaching solutions, which are akin to chemical-handling pumps, the Indian pump industry has had the capabilities to service the complete requirements of pumps for paper-making.

Utility sector :

Water supply and sanitation, the two prominent aspects of public health need good and efficient pumping systems. I

Water supply involves pumping right from the source of water, to its transport, treatment and distribution, finally to the point of consumption. While surface waters from rivers, lakes and dams are mostly the major sources for the urban water supply, ground water is becoming an important source not only for rural water supply, but also as an auxiliary source in urban housing societies. Further, growing urbanisation with high-rise, multi-storied complexes is necessitating domestic pumping to be another important complement of the urban water supply. In the rural context, the pumping of water often serves jointly, the dual role of irrigation and water supply. Often the treatment of water to ensure the water supply to be potable, does not receive as much attention, as it should.

The other important aspect of public health viz. sewage-handling, transport, treatment and disposal has received much less attention. Only some sporadic epidemics like the Surat plague generate some temporary interest, which often dies down in due course, without prompting appropriate sewerage schemes.

Given proper emphasis, water-treatment and sewerage are sectors of very vast scope all across the country.

Agriculture and irrigation :

For all the urbanisation and globalisation of the economy, the Indian economy will continue to be agrarian. In fact agriculture has registered a growth so significant as to become a promising foreign-exchange earner. Fruits, vegetables, grains and other processed food items are making prominent strides in the global market, often surpassing the traditional exports of tea, coffee, cotton, etc. Irrigation, fertilisers, insecticides and pesticides, preservatives and packaging, etc., have all made contributions towards these achievements of Indian agriculture. Pumps have been important in all these aspects.

The Indian pump industry has been conscious, that twenty percent and more of the power generated and fuel explored in the country are consumed in the agricultural activity. To ensure that there would be continuous improvement in the agricultural pumping, in respect of it being energy-efficient, lPMA extends a comprehensive participation in the national level standardisation effort, specially in evolving and upgrading the norms for minimum efficiency of agricultural pumps and pumping systems. IPMA feels proud and happy that the Indian Standards on agricultural pumps are so unique in this respect, that norms for minimum efficiency are incorporated therein, while no such norms are specified in any International standards. The pump-industry is substantially market-driven. This has motivated manufacturers of pumps to adapt energy-efficient designs for production. Sugar is a prominent corollary of the agricultural produce. Pumping in the production of sugar has interesting facets, including therein the handling and disposal of molasses. There is growing interest in deriving alcohols and organic chemicals as bye products, in the extensional activities of the sugar mills. The bagasse, another waste-product of the sugar mill is also recycled either as a fuel for the boilers or as raw material for making paper. The sugar industry is thus becoming a zero waste industry. The Indian pump industry has contributed a significant role towards this.

Fisheries and aquaculture :

The liberalisation of the Indian economy has increased the travels of international business and has given a boost to the tourist-facilities and associated demands. Fish-farming whether in fresh water resources or seawaters, employing aqua-cultural techniques has become an attractive proposition; India anyway has a long sea shore. The aqua-culture activity is hence attracting interest, abiding enough to prompt the activities to assume the nature and scale of an industrial production. The fish-ponds, especially those near the sea-shore need pumps for continuous replenishment of fresh sea water typically pumps for low head, high discharges and constructed to ensure smooth flow for the sea-life into the ponds and to ensure long life against sea-water corrosion. The industry is ably serving this growing demand.

Trends in manufacturing technology :

The submersible pumps for small-bore tube wells, like 100 mm familiarised the Indian pump industry with the mass-production technologies, adopting also moulded impel1ers in engineering plastics like the modified PPO. Efforts had also been made to make the impellers and diffusers for submersible pumps employing pressed sheet metal fabrication.

Development of winding wires with polyester based poly-propylene insulation can be credited to be a wholly indigenous endeavour. This has improved the reliability of the submersible motor, also economising the design of the motor, by virtue of the reduced insulation thickness.

Electronics and computerisation have crept across the Indian pump industry, substantially. Many major manufacturers are well adept with CNC machines, have been working with Computer-aided designs, gradually adopting also the Computer-aided manufacturing. There are examples of noteworthy developments of computerised pump-selection softwares, marketing activities and also fully computerised pump test beds.

Exports:

A bird's eye view of the global market reveals that most developed countries are large-scale importers of pumps, while being also major exporters. Indian pump industry has as such been a very small partner in this game of the global market. With the liberalisation of the Indian economy, similar pattern seems to be emerging also in the Indian pump industry.

There have been many buy-back contracts operating with Indian manufacturers, in some cases, for periods so long as more than 20 years uninterrupted. This underscores the technological and qualitative competence and cost-competitiveness well-ingrained in the corporate philosophy of some of the leading manufacturers, Importers in the developed countries have often found it a competitive proposition to get pumps made by Indian manufacturers for their projects in other countries, especially in the Asian and African continents. Foreign buyers seem to be evincing good interest also in procuring CKDs and components from Indian manufacturers.

India has some of the world's best technically well qualified entrepreneurial and management cadre and traditionally intelligent and highly skilled cadre of technical personnel. The capabilities are becoming more and more sophisticated with computer-aided design, manufacturing and management practices increasingly becoming the order of the day.

Indian manufacturers have also to their credit a very good performance in respect of the deemed exports, by virtue of the execution of contracts for domestic requirements, but against global tenders, hence won in situations of global competition.

Direct exports of pumps have been steadily rising. The pattern of exports for the past five years has been as follows.