VIEWPOINT: The Next Revolutionary Product?

Feb. 25, 2010

Attendees at the Feb. 10-12 Pump Guy Seminar in Houston stuck around after Day Two of the training to see a demo of a new product that promises up

Attendees at the Feb. 10-12 Pump Guy Seminar in Houston stuck around after Day Two of the training to see a demo of a new product that promises up to 50 percent energy savings for air-operated double-diaphragm pump applications.

Last month at our Pump Guy Seminar in Houston, we hosted a Happy Hour after Day Two of the training, which featured a product demo. I know, the last thing you want to read about is another tall tale detailing the next "latest-and-greatest" product that is going to "revolutionize your process." Likewise, the last thing I want is to get hammered with e-mails accusing me of publishing a glorified product promo. Nevertheless, I ask you to bear with me for a moment.

So anyway, this product demo was really pretty cool. The folks presenting it, who shall remain nameless to protect me from those nasty e-mails, had rigged up a 16-foot trailer with a fully self-contained skid, including a water holding tank, an air compressor, a few air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps, and a new energy-saving device they had taken on the road to show off to prospective customers and distributors.

Now these three fellows had been traveling around the United States for the past couple of months, meeting anybody who would agree to take a look at this new invention. The trailer demo was attached to a 12-person van, and the whole thing, I must admit, looked pretty comical … I can only imagine how many times these guys got pulled over on the highway with this suspicious-looking rig.

Anyway, the key selling point of the demo was that this new product was capable of reducing the air consumption of an AODD pump by up to 50 percent without impacting the pump’s performance, fluid flow, or flowrate.

Sounds pretty impressive, but I’ve read so many new product announcements touting lofty efficiency improvements that I’m a bit numb to it all at this point. But "seeing is believing," or is it "the proof is in the pudding" … Whatever the case, when the folks running the demo fired up that air compressor, and the AODD pump started doing its thing, you could hear the workload, and you could see it too, via a digital monitor that was attached to the pump to show key operating metrics.

Then one of the fellows running the demo powered on the energy-saving device, which is essentially a normally open two-way valve with some sophisticated intelligence, and after a few strokes of the pump, you could hear the air compressor throttle back. Yet, when you looked at the digital readout, there was, as advertised, "little-to-no effect on the pump’s output," and the air compressor was indeed churning out 50 percent (approx.) of the air it was prior to the device being powered on. My aim here is not to sell you a product, but can you imagine just how much money a device like this, which is priced at under $1,000, could save a plant with hundreds or even thousands of AODD pumps. Talk about being a hero at work.

As you can imagine, I’ve been to a fair amount of product demos in my time as the editor of Flow Control magazine, but, I must say, this one really resonated with me. Whereas most demos are rather complicated and focus on the new features of an existing product type, this demo featured a wholly new product concept that can be easily integrated with a widely used technology (i.e., AODD pumps) to significantly reduce the use of an infamously costly process variable (i.e., compressed air). It was simple, it addressed a need, and, most importantly, I saw that it worked.

To go into the details of how, exactly, this product works would be impossible in the space of this editorial. My point here is, while we all may get a little cynical by the constant marketing hype we’re exposed to from product manufacturers, we must be careful not to write off the next latest-and-greatest product release without further investigation, because you never know if you’re passing on a technology that could save your company or, worse, your competitor, significant time and/or money.

— Matt Migliore, Editor in Chief
Flow Control magazine
[email protected]

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