Grunfos: Celebrating five decades of the iconic submersible pump

50 years on, Grundfos’ popular SP pump is still setting the standard for other submersible pumps around the world. While the older applications have been joined by a gamut of new applications and numerous improvements, the original construction principle is still intact.

Hidden underground and wrapped in stainless steel, the durable and efficient pump still performs well, supplying hundreds of millions of people around the world with groundwater every day. It might be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, but the continuous technological developments and upgrades have kept the pump up with the times. Additional and advanced boosts in applications, controlling, and monitoring have combined to turn the SP into a modern classic.

Director of Grundfos’ Water utility Business Development, Søren Skjalm-Rasmussen, said, “The SP pump remains a top product in our portfolio, which definitely says something about how innovative the original design was. The combination of design and material is still considered to be optimal, and through research and development, we have managed to keep the position as a product leader in regards to energy efficiency and opportunities for improvement.”

Since Poul Due Jenson debuted the first edition in March 1967, a mind-boggling 4 million SP pumps have been produced in total. The world’s very first submersible pump made up entirely of stainless steel, the pump quickly gained world recognition and fame for its sturdiness and effectiveness. The pump even won an illustrious design award for its balance between form, function, and technology.

While extensively utilised to supply drinking water, the SP pump is also a favourite for irrigation in the agricultural industry, where modern digital solutions can offer farmers the ability to monitor and control the irrigation system remotely. Because the stainless steel construction gives the pump incredible invulnerability, it is also used in the mining industry, where the rough environs demand much of the pump’s durability and sturdiness. However, in the present time, there is as much emphasis on water efficiency as there is on energy efficiency.

“We must make sure that we use the groundwater resources that are available as wisely as possible. The potential of digitalising irrigation systems is big and because the SP pump is an obvious candidate to be part of these solutions, it can play a crucial role in solving the serous water challenges the world is facing,” Skjalm-Rasmussen added.

Since its introduction in 1967, the upgrades on the SP pump have led to several developmental milestones for Grundfos. The installation of the slpine shaft in private water supply pumps in 1982 cut the material consumption and production time down considerably. Later in 1992, motors with in-built micro frequency motors were added. In 2014 when the latest generation of SP pumps – named SP7/9/11/14 – was inaugurated, energy efficiency was revolutionised; not only did the pump live up to EU requirements for water pump energy efficiency, they outstripped them. Since then, many new applications have been added, such as the Grundfos Solar Inverter (RSI), now allowing the SP pump to be connected to solar panels and thus moving on to sustainable energy.

Presently, it is estimated that there are approximately 1.3 million SP pumps set up globally. The many additions and application options added over the years have transformed the SP pump into a thriving classic which will no doubt continue to cement its place in the Grundfos pump range for the years to come.