Design of the Month – Developing competences in sustainable pump selection through on-the-job training.

Left Image - Nick Willetts (right) from ITS – together with Leonardo Morabito (left), Business Unit Manager Hygienic Fluid Handling UK&I - Right Image - Nick Willetts (left) from ITS with Andrew Jeans (Right), Managing Director of ITS

An innovative initiative by the Competence Development team in Kolding is tapping into the competitive spirit in Alfa Laval’s sales companies and master distributors to boost sizing and selection skills to ensure that Alfa Laval offer the most competitive pump solution which often is also the most sustainable solution from an energy efficiency perspective.

For a year now, Product Specialist Kamilla Poulsen and her colleagues have been setting a monthly design challenge – Design of the Month – which invites more than 120 engineers and technical experts around the world to take part in a friendly competition to select the optimal hygienic pump for an assignment based on a real-life, customer-specific scenario.

“The objective is to pick the right hygienic pump for each assignment and this means the most cost-efficient pump in terms of the purchase price and also in terms of running costs,” explains Kamilla. “When we factor in the pump’s energy efficiency, the cheapest pump in terms of purchase price is not always the cheapest pump. Differing global energy prices can have a significant impact on selecting the best possible pump for each application.”

The champion of champions for 2021 was Nick Willetts from Industrial Training Solutions – Alfa Laval’s master distributor in the UK. Nick won the competition three times during the year. His winning submissions of twin screw, centrifugal and circumferential piston pumps narrowly beat Christian Belletti, from Tekna Parma, in Italy, who took the top spot twice.

Feedback from the webinars in which the winning entries are presented, clearly shows that this monthly challenge is facilitating competence development and learning across the organisation.

“The standard has been very good, and we have seen it improving over time,” says Kamilla. “People are learning from the assignments and they are also becoming more familiar with our tools and configurators. In the beginning, some people had difficulties using Joules, for example, but pretty much everybody is using it now.”

Submissions responding to the monthly assignments have also enabled the Competence Development team to identify future training needs and the interest and engagement demonstrated by the regular participants, has prompted discussions on the possibilities of widening the challenge. “Perhaps including both pump and valve selection for a small system design to make it more process related,” says Kamilla.

Industrial Trading Solutions send in submissions to the competition every month from across their technical staff.

”We encourage our technical staff to take part in the design of the month competition as it helps to keep us on top of the latest technology and products, whilst also providing invaluable feedback and training opportunities along the way. We are extremely proud that Nick has shown his outstanding capabilities and knowledge in hygienic pump technology throughout the last twelve months and have recognised Nick alongside Alfa Laval for his efforts.” Andrew Jeans (Managing Director of Industrial Trading Solutions Ltd) commented.

Contact Industrial Trading Solutions for more information or to discuss a pump requirement: