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Interview with Mike Grant: 100-Year Floods

In our June issue, RER interviewed several manufacturers of dewatering pumps. Here Mike Grant, portable pumps and rental market manager, Tsurumi Pumps speaks with RER’s Michael Roth about the effects of globalization on pump manufacturing, the importance of disaster preparedness in a pump rental operation, and how the market looks going forward.

RER: What is new in your company’s line of pumps and what is unique about it?

Grant: Tsurumi pump is the largest electric submersible pump manufacturer in Japan. The breadth of our product offering continues to expand to meet market demand. We have recently expanded our offering of single phase electric submersible trash pumps to include a 1-horsepower, 3-inch model HS3.75S. Also our 2 horsepower and 3 horsepower electric pumps can be easily converted to handle a sand/slurry application. Unique to our trash pumps is our shaft-mounted agitator which suspends sand- and debris-inhibiting clogging and making for a more forgiving pump in a rental application.

Our electric submersible pumps to the rental construction market include features that are traditionally found in pumps used in engineered applications such as Tsurumi’s patented oil lifter which provides lubrication of seal faces down to one third of the normal oil level. This can extend seal life by 10 times while using no additional power.

RER: What are the most important recent trends in pump technology and what are the most important trends to come?

Grant: Recent globalization of the manufacturing sector has brought increased competition and in some cases product quality has been compromised. A commitment we made long ago was to continue to incorporate the most durable components into our pumps and not compromise quality in any way. The manufacturers, regardless of where the product is manufactured, that offer a high quality product at a fair price will continue to thrive. No market more than the construction rental market knows that good quality costs less over time.

RER: How is the equipment rental market changing for pump rentals and what trends do you see upcoming?

Grant: It seems that 100-year floods are now happening every year all over the country. Last year was especially harsh out East and in areas of the Midwest. As a result we’ve seen many stores expanding their pump offerings to their customers. A store that traditionally stocked 2-inch electric and/or engine-driven pumps is now looking to expand their inventory to 3-, 4- or even 6-inch pumps to allow for greater pumping volume. Disaster preparedness should not be underestimated. If you don’t have it on your shelf make sure you are aligned with a manufacturer that can respond to your needs quickly. Tsurumi for example stocks thousands of pumps at two company owned and four third-party warehouses throughout the United States.

RER: What level of training and knowledge is required for a rental company to be successful in pump rentals? What level of training should rental companies provide to their customers?

Grant: A pump is no different than any piece of construction rental equipment in that you should have a full knowledge of the product and its capabilities and the ability to relay this information to your customer. Plus, you should provide the value-added service of choosing the correct pump for your customer’s application.

RER: How do you see the economy in the foreseeable future?

Grant: Obviously 2008 to 2010 were tough on everyone. 2011 was a bounce-back year not driven by the traditional channels of new construction, housing starts etc., but rather the energy market, mining and fleet upgrades. Barring some sort of global crisis we foresee stability and steady growth for the remainder of 2012 here in the U.S.

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