AI-powered pumps deliver big ecological and economical benefits

How a Canadian-owned global company is using artificial intelligence technology to make an impact on building management

By | 4 minute read | December 9, 2019

“We aim to elevate the industry to a high plane.” These words were spoken in 1920 by Samuel Armstrong, founder of Armstrong Fluid Technology. Since that time, the company has taken pride in innovative contributions to engineering. They don’t simply create pumps, they develop intelligent, energy-saving systems. These systems are not only saving money for customers, but helping to protect the planet. Addressing the topic of sustainability, Armstrong’s Global Performance Management Services Manager, Tunji Asiwaju states, “Our goal, and the goal of many who rely upon our services, is energy sustainability. We’re using AI and advanced analytics from IBM to help organizations throughout the world to reduce their carbon footprint and achieve their net zero goals.”

What is the importance of HVAC pumps in building management?

Each building has a heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system that ensures healthy air quality and thermal comfort. Many building HVAC systems are powered by pumps that continually move fluids throughout the facility. Pumps are the heart of an HVAC system. If they fail the building will not only become uncomfortable, but may also be unsafe. Armstrong creates intelligent pumps designed for key building operations.

Armstrong Tango Pump

This is not just a pump. It’s a performance optimizer.

One small change can help a building save up to 87 percent on pump energy

Armstrong pumps are installed in buildings all over the world. The company’s most recent innovations include a line of intelligent pumps (referred to as Design Envelope), and a powerful performance and asset management app (called Pump Manager). Design Envelope pumps use onboard intelligence to modulate output and save energy. Pump Manager leverages the built in intelligence and connectivity to track performance and send out reports and alerts to operators. Working together, Design Envelope technology and Pump Manager can make a pump installation far more energy efficient.

Remarkably, one of the smallest elements of building operations can be altered to achieve an immediate and profound impact on operating costs. One installation using both Design Envelope pumps and Pump Manager was able to optimize pump operations to achieve annual pump energy savings of 87 percent. A university in China was able to reduce energy consumption by 78 percent. These results would not have been possible without our visionary use of artificial intelligence (AI) and analytics.

Net zero is now within sight

Organizations around the world have made a commitment to reduce their carbon footprint to protect our fragile planet. We are proud to be among them. And we are proud to work with companies like Armstrong to provide effective, affordable energy saving solutions for customers. Sustainability is at the core of Armstrong Fluid Technology and is a key driver for product innovations and day-to-day operations.

On the basis of this commitment to sustainability, Armstrong made a Net Zero Commitment earlier this year, pledging to operate at Net Zero carbon emissions by the year 2030. The Net Zero commitment builds on the 2 by 22 initiative that they launched in 2018. Armstrong has pledged to work with their existing customers to help them retrofit their installations. The resulting energy savings, and the reduced carbon footprint, will reduce carbon emissions among existing customers by two million tons, by the year 2022. That would be the equivalent of taking 600,000 cars off the road for one year. It offsets the average annual CO2 emissions generated by 100,000 people.

Iron cast dreams of transformation

Samuel Armstrong did not consider himself a manufacturer of pumps and systems. His vision was for his company to provide a valuable engineering service. Armstrong Fluid Technology is on a continuous journey to transform expertise in the production of fluid flow products to the engineering and support of intelligent building energy technologies.

The services in Armstrong’s Performance Management Suite work at the equipment, sub-system or system level to eliminate costly energy drift and to maximize system uptime. They draw on data from a network of systems. Cloud analytics deliver actionable insights seamlessly into other building management systems. This allows building operators to make informed capital or operation decisions that drive better return on investments.

IBM contributes AI expertise to revolutionize pump management

Pump Manager is an award winning cloud-based service that tracks pump performance and provides early diagnostic warnings, trends, analysis and automated reports. Armstrong worked with IBM to develop an AI-powered pump system that uses transmitted data to develop an accurate picture of conditions in real time. Over time, as it accumulates data, it knows when pump and HVAC system behaviors merit alarm.

Additionally, the information obtained through sensors and analytics assists in better decision making. Operating costs reduce while tenant comfort improves. And, importantly, the building owner and managers have visibility into energy savings and the impact on carbon footprint.

Learn more about IBM AI and Armstrong Fluid Technology Solutions

Armstrong is committed to advancing fluid flow technology using the most innovative tools available. The company’s collaboration with IBM to develop AI-powered pumps has enabled them to revolutionize the HVAC industry and will ultimately change the world. Reflecting on the working relationship between Armstrong and IBM Tunji Asiwaju says “We appreciate that IBM is now with us on our journey to help others optimize their performance and provide some impressive ecological and economic benefits.”

Learn more about how Armstrong Fluid Technology worked with IBM to develop a cloud-based performance tracking system.

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