Interview with Holland Pump's Win Blodgett: Designing Custom Solutions

Dec. 6, 2023

Interview with Win Blodgett: Designing Custom Solutions

Holland Pump Co. manufactures, rentals and sells pumps. Holland’s president, Win Blodgett, shares his thoughts about designing custom solutions, the trend towards battery-driven engines, predictive maintenance, data-driven optimization, and dewatering 900,000 gallons of sewage in 45 minutes.

By Michael Roth; Photos by Holland Pump

RER: Anything new in the company’s products in the past year?

Blodgett: On the rental side of the business, we acquired three businesses adding five new locations across Texas, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. We have a much stronger presence in Flygt electric submersible pump rentals and sales as well as Atlas Copco and Airman generator rental and sales. We also have a much stronger representation of Gorman-Rupp diesel driven pumps and are currently piloting Cornell’s Co-Pilot for telemetry applications.

On the manufacturing side we continue to be one of the only small manufacturers/packagers that truly offer custom solutions where we design a package that is application and best efficiency point (BEP) specific. When you can provide a pump package that is tailored to the customer’s needs and achieves 80-percent-plus efficiency, we are likely saving end users thousands of dollars in fuel each month. Large manufacturers have less flexibility and often must use the models that deliver close to the BEP required but might end up 25-percent less fuel efficient. Our pumps are available to municipalities through five major purchasing contracts, or obviously directly through Holland.

Do you see any significant new trends in pump manufacturing?

Manufacturers are utilizing smart technologies to optimize pump performance and reduce energy consumption. We are seeing that the use of auto-start/stop control panels with telemetry either built into the panel or easily added to the panel is growing more popular. Additionally, there is an increasing emphasis on predictive maintenance and data-driven optimization. These trends aim to enhance pump reliability, reduce operational costs, and minimize environmental impact. I visited the engine manufacturers at ConExpo and most of them were showcasing their battery driven engines, which are bound to become part of future pump packages where feasible.

How would an increase in infrastructure benefit the pump market?

XPV Water Partners, which now owns the majority of HPC, posts often on this topic across various media. The increase in infrastructure spend will lead to expanding the pump market, increase demand for pumps, and ultimately lead to the widespread adoption of new pump technologies. In particular, the U.S. Gulf Coast and South Atlantic regions are forecasted to receive an outsized share of residential, private manufacturing, and federal infrastructure spending (36 percent or $155 billion), particularly for highway/bridge ($115 billion), and water-related/sewer ($41 billion) projects.

More companies have started to specialize in pump rental or have a “pump and power” division. Do you expect this trend to continue?

The greatest overlap in pump rental services is with prime-assisted suction lift pump and generator rentals. For the most part these are engine-mounted pumps which means that the pump RPM is the same as the engine RPM. While these pumps often have the latest control packages with Tier 4 Final engines, they aren’t always the ideal pump to use. Specialty pump companies can offer more expertise and often have more arrows in the quiver to address specialty applications.

For example, whereas the engine-mounted pump is turning at 1800 RPM a hydraulically driven submersible pump may turn at 900 RPM, and therefore parts like impellers get an exponential factor of less wear, which enables them to perform better for pump solids like sand. Another application less developed in “pump and power” divisions are axial flow pump rentals. Hydraulically driven axial flow pumps often pump 20,000 gallons per minute. A few large companies tried and failed to succeed in this application, at least in our footprint. A third differentiator with specialty pump rental companies is the ability to modify and repair equipment in-house, like electric submersible pumps.

I imagine with extreme weather events occurring such as hurricanes and flooding more frequently, this is an opportunity for pump manufacturers and rental companies as well. How should manufacturers and rental companies work with their customers to prepare for such events?

The best way that pump package manufacturers help after hurricanes and floods is by having inventory on the shelf and ready to ship at a moment’s notice, if municipalities contract properly for possible needs. When a major Florida county loses 80 percent of the power to their lift stations and has limited capability of backup power, immediate shipments of pumps save the day and get infrastructure up and running. National purchasing contracts like Sourcewell and GSA help municipalities by making the purchase process easy, if they plan properly in advance.

Any interesting or unusual applications you have dealt with recently that you can tell us about?

On the rental side, Holland's Houston team was challenged with dewatering 900,000 gallons of sewage in 60 minutes to allow for the cleaning of an influent channel at a waste water treatment plant for a total plant shutdown. Our team started at 4 a.m. and completed the channel dewatering by 4:45 a.m. and repeated the process daily over six days, consecutively.

We also replaced a major competitor for a long-term ~15 pump rental opportunity for a large government contract due to reliability - something we are well known for across Holland.

On the manufacturing side, we are engaged in providing a fire pump system that will pump water 3 kilometers and provide 12,000 gallons per minute at 400 TDH (Total Dynamic Head).



About the Author

Michael Roth | Editor

Michael Roth has covered the equipment rental industry full time for RER since 1989 and has served as the magazine’s editor in chief since 1994. He has nearly 30 years experience as a professional journalist. Roth has visited hundreds of rental centers and industry manufacturers, written hundreds of feature stories for RER and thousands of news stories for the magazine and its electronic newsletter RER Reports. Roth has interviewed leading executives for most of the industry’s largest rental companies and manufacturers as well as hundreds of smaller independent companies. He has visited with and reported on rental companies and manufacturers in Europe, Central America and Asia as well as Mexico, Canada and the United States. Roth was co-founder of RER Reports, the industry’s first weekly newsletter, which began as a fax newsletter in 1996, and later became an online newsletter. Roth has spoken at conventions sponsored by the American Rental Association, Associated Equipment Distributors, California Rental Association and other industry events and has spoken before industry groups in several countries. He lives and works in Los Angeles when he’s not traveling to cover industry events.