Your press release states that Pump manufacturing is an SME-driven sector. Can you expand on that?
Thank you for your question.
Our European association is composed of 18 national associations which mainly have SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) as members. Of course the big players are also members of these national associations and they contribute a lot. But our SMEs bring a value and a creative force that is crucial for our industry.
I was the Chairman of the Europump SME Commission for 10 years and I know the SMEs of the pump industry very well. I have spent a lot of time visiting production sites and talking to CEOs.
In Europe we now have 28 Member States where different languages are spoken and different cultures exist. The first real European internal market is only 20 years old and since then Europe has integrated new States and new markets. This heritage is a fertile breeding ground for SMEs and a good school for business: once you have learned to deal with 28 different markets, you can easily export because you are used to adapting your products to different requirements. However we have recently seen a lot of acquisitions. If this trend continues, the European pump manufacturing industry may be structured very differently in 10 years’ time.
Do you see an increased interest in pump manufacturing in Europe?
In Europe we have excellent know-how and knowledge about pump manufacturing supported by high-level technical university expertise in mechanics and fluid mechanics. These are the reasons why there is great interest in pump manufacturing in Europe. Our manufacturers are exporting globally where our customers are finding new opportunities. Our industry is an enabling industry; we support the services provided to the clients of our customers. Our customers are growing globally and this is reflected in our financial results. I am very positive for the future; all statistical projections foresee 9 billion inhabitants by 2050, and this means more people who will need water, energy and much more. To answer their needs, pumps will be needed: pumps can help irrigate better and on a larger scale, support wastewater treatment and clean water distribution and contribute to extracting deeper oil and gas.
There is another point I would also like to mention: the experience gained by our manufacturers in pump systems. Some manufacturers offer a wide range of services including optimising the systems in which the pumps operate. This also increases interest for European pump manufacturers.
Do you think the focus on Energy Efficiency will increase growth opportunities for Europump members?
With what I have just mentioned about increasing needs, this also implies increasing pressure on resources and energy. And on energy I am not talking about 2050, I am talking about here and now.
Energy Efficiency is both a business and a legal requirement in Europe. Our pump manufacturers’ role is to support our customers in their business: for example, energy-efficient circulators will reduce energy consumption and hence spending on energy by the consumer, who can spend the money elsewhere or save it. If I have an industrial pump that uses less energy, especially in countries where energy is expensive, then Energy Efficiency is a competitive advantage.
In Europe we currently have two regulations in force: one on circulators and one on rotodynamic water pumps. If I take the circulator one: the ecodesign requirements imply that only circulators with an Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) of not more than 0.27 are allowed after 2013 and only circulators with an EEI of not more than 0.23 are allowed after 2015.
In addition Energy Efficiency is requested and required in many countries; China for example is very interested and active on this subject, as we heard at the last Europump Annual Assembly. The knowledge we have about Energy Efficiency gives us a prime mover advantage in many non-EU markets.
How is Europump helping to improve the pump industry?
To stay on the subject of Ecodesign and Energy Efficiency requirements, in 2005 Europump launched its Ecopump programme with the voluntary labelling of circulators. This initiative was undertaken by the industry for the industry. In addition Europump contributed to related studies done by the European Commission.
Last year we published guidelines on the application of the future regulations on circulators and rotodynamic water pumps. These are downloadable for free on our website. This spring Europump organised a seminar with speakers from the European Commission to explain these regulations for our manufacturers. This is how our industry remains aware and can improve.
Europump is also carefully and actively taking part in the Ecodesign studies called lot 28 and lot 29. Our strength is that we are a driving force when negotiating with European officials.
Europump also offers statistical information to its members; we are in the process of improving this offering. If a company has good market data, then it can also improve its approach to the market, improve its financial results and satisfy its investors.
Europump issues a regulatory affairs bulletin 5 times a year. Combined with regular updates, this contributes to the knowledge of our members. A knowledgeable company can foresee risks and opportunities and consequently adapt its strategy, products and services.
Europump is really delivering value to its members. For more information, please visit Europump.org