The role of smart water management in Industry 4.0

Water can often be overlooked with Industry 4.0 advances, where real-time data, interconnectivity and machine learning are changing how industries operate. Vinayak Subramanyam, Vertical Marketing Manager for Industry at Xylem, recently spoke with Inside Industry magazine to explain why water is just as important as energy for industries.

Why is water so important to industrial processes?

“Often, water can be overlooked by industrial customers as they focus more on the core process. But water is a crucial supporting aspect into every industrial process. Not optimizing water and wastewater management in industry can leave millions of dollars on the table in terms of efficiency and energy costs, but it can also cause millions in losses if disruption in these secondary processes cause unplanned shutdowns.

We are working with companies to turn water from an expense into an advantage. Our energy-efficient products can reduce the total lifecycle costs for industrial customers.”

What do you think is one of the biggest water challenges for industries?

Industries are faced with a multitude of water challenges, from getting water at the right quality and pressure to disposing of industrial wastewater safely and in compliance with all regulations. However, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring that there is no unplanned downtime and production interruptions because of broken assets, like pumps supplying cooling water or pumping wastewater.

We believe that water is as vital as energy, and it should be prioritized as such – people do not always see that connection. For instance, water is used to produce energy in the first place.

How has Xylem been advancing Industry 4.0 solutions?

We are seeing an increased focus surrounding Industry 4.0, the industrial IoT and smart water. Xylem has made numerous acquisitions in recent years to position ourselves as the technology leader in helping customers – including water utilities, industries and buildings – to more efficiently manage water and wastewater.

For example, we have introduced the world’s first smart wastewater pump – the Flygt Concertor. It has enhanced our already broad portfolio and helped customers to better manage their water and wastewater network. The Flygt Concertor has energy savings of 70 percent vs. conventional pumps, and it can reduce pump inventory by 80 percent.

Xylem’s acquisitions and smart water investments are supplemented by upgrades to our own products and facilities. We invest close to four percent of our annual revenue in R&D, with 2,600 patents.”

What industries does Xylem work with?

“Xylem has a large network of clients in the industrial sector. We provide our solutions to almost every industry imaginable, from Food and Beverage and aquaculture to chemicals, mining and power. Almost every industry consumes massive amounts of water and in turn also generate a lot of wastewater. Industrial water services are an important growth area for Xylem.”

What services does Xylem offer to industries?

“We are the industrial water experts for our clients, solving their most complex industrial water challenges and offering extensive maintenance services to support them beyond just sale and installation. Reliability and energy efficiency are what we emphasize, and many of the brands in our group today have longevity that customers have come to trust. We remain close to our suppliers, never compromising on the quality of what we source, and ensuring that we are in good proximity to them to ease logistics.”

What are Xylem’s next steps for the industrial market?

“We will never compromise on being a producer of world-class products. We will be moving more and more into smart water management and systems intelligence, helping industrial players incorporate water more into their own evolution. We will be making industry particularly a big focus as we move forward, as well as developing new technologies to help industries turn water and fluid management from an expense to an advantage.”

Read more about Industry 4.0 and Xylem in Inside Industry magazine

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