The global network already hasrevolutionized the possibilities of getting into close contact with people you would otherwise never have known existed because they live on the other side of the world or because their world is completely different from the one you live in yourself. In the same way, pumps usually are in a different world than the one people live in.
Although chatting has become part of many people's everyday life, it would be difficult to imagine that chatting with a pump would become normal. It probably never will but nevertheless the Internet may play an important part in pumps getting a more prominent place in the consciousness of people in the future. However, the pump has to learn how to talk the "language of the Internet."
Plenty of PossibilitiesImagine a pump which, aiming to economize on water, contacts a meteorologist to check what the weather will be like, after which it sends you an e-mail or an SMS message telling you it will not start irrigating as it will soon start to rain.
Unless, that is, you start it anyway, for instance by calling it on your WAP telephone.
This could seem a joke but, in fact, it may become reality in the near future. A pump has actually been developed which, without being connected to a PC, is able to send and receive information via the global Internet. Integrated in the pump are a number of interesting features, including a so-called WEB/WAP plug which enables the pump to communicate via the Internet and with WAP telephones.
For instance, the pump can send e-mails and SMS messages to mobile telephones. It can be monitored, operated, and repaired from a remote PC or WAP telephone. It can link to other servers on the Internet, such as sites with technical documentation in local languages, and plenty of other possibilities. The sky is the limit.
A Model in OperationAlthough it is technically possible, Grundfos has not yet decided to start producing pumps with the characteristics described above. So far the Internet pump only exists as a demonstration model at its Business Development Centre (BDC).
The demonstration model, a UP circulator equipped with Internet facilities is explained by a Grundfos BDC employee:
"Just as the IT departments of companies today have great influence on the purchase of IT equipment, I am convinced that in the future, the companies handling the control units of building installations will get more and more influence on the choice of 'intelligent' components for 'intelligent' buildings. It is important for us to get into closer partnerships with them. The demonstration model is intended as inspiration for them and to help us in proving to them that we are abreast of the latest developments."
Gateways Will Become RedundantThe advantages of the Internet technology are not necessarily connected with the global Internet.
This technology also can be used on a local intranet in a building where a connection with the rapid IT development will make it possible to use a large amount of standard tools and programs. This could, for instance, be a graphic operating surface for the pump via Internet Explorer or another standard browser which enables further explanations of the pump, pictures, graphics and curves, as well as online access to user manuals and help functions.
Even if the pump is only connected with a local intranet, it offers a decisive advantage. It can be coupled directly to an existing IT network, making it superfluous to use gateways to company-specific field busses which so far have been necessary for tele-monitoring and operation.
This article is reprinted with permission from Grundfos Pump University located at their international Website www.grundfos.com and their North American Website at www.us.grundfos.com.