The secret to winning battery maker’s supply bid: pumps that keep pumping

 The secret to winning supply bid for battery maker: pumps that keep pumpingRombat was impressed with a Grundfos pump’s 15 years in circulating aggressive effluents, such as water tainted with sulphuric acid. This became a main selling point for Grundfos as the main supplier to a new water treatment facility at the Romanian car battery manufacturer.
Industry case story

For 15 years, a single Grundfos pump did for car battery manufacturer Rombat SA what pumps do: it pumped. And it did so reliably and uneventfully. Thus in 2008, when Rombat considered expanding its water treatment unit in Bistrita, Romania, the company turned to Grundfos.

Wastewater treatment is a significant part of the production cycle at Rombat. The facility processes approximately 200 cubic metres of neutralised and pre-treated water daily. Up to 120 cubic metres per day of the treated water goes back into the production cycle in order to meet environmental requirements. The remainder goes to the municipal water treatment facility and then enters the city’s wastewater system.

PHOTO: Gabriel Hîruta, head of production at Rombat SA in Romania

About one out of every three pumping units at Rombat is Grundfos-made, and they pump about half of the volume of fluids circulated on the industrial platform.

The acquisition of that first Grundfos pump, however, was a matter of luck.

“It was part of some equipment we ordered,” explains engineer Gabriel Hîruta, head of the production units at Rombat SA. “Up to that point all our equipment was Romanian-made. We didn’t know who the top manufacturers and brands were.”

The repair kit that accompanies the pumps greatly extends their life, hence bringing down their cost.

Gabriel Hîruta, head of production at Rombat SA in Romania

PHOTO: "Buying industrial equipment is not a one-off expense,” says Gabriel Hîruta of Rombat SA.

Back, in 2008, as Rombat saw the need for a bigger water treatment plant as part of a long-term plan to expand its production facilities, the question of which manufacturer to go with became urgent. Due to protracted negotiations with various pump suppliers, the deadline for completing the expansion of the water treatment plant shrank.

At this point, Gabriel Hîruta explains, the single Grundfos pumps 15 years of dependable service stood out as a major selling point. Another big selling point was the repair kit that comes with the Grundfos pumps.

“Buying industrial equipment is not a one-off expense,” he says. “One always has to consider the maintenance costs. And Grundfos made the overall expense more palatable with the repair kit that accompanies the pumps, which greatly extends their life, hence bringing down their cost. That matters a lot when buying pumps in bulk.”


So far Grundfos has really helped us take our business forward.

Gabriel Hîruta, head of production at Rombat SA in Romania

A sacrificial order

Indeed, how long a pump will last is of paramount importance in light of the aggressive fluids circulated in a water treatment facility. And the life of a pump is directly related to the quality of the materials from which it is made.

Manufacturing car batteries results in water effluent that is tainted with sulphuric acid. The water treatment process involves neutralisation and pre-treatment. Pump materials used in the application must be able to resist the aggressive chemical behaviour of the fluids.

So it seemed counter-intuitive that Grundfos would fit its pumps with cast iron impellers, which are doomed to have a short lifespan in the wastewater of the battery plant.

PHOTO: a Rombat SA battery, produced at the plant in Bistrita, Romania

“Grundfos understood that we needed to expand the water treatment plant quickly,” explains Gabriel Hîruta. “They didn’t have pumps fitted with steel impellers in stock, so they sent us the whole pump order fitted with cast iron impellers, knowing that those would not last long. In fact, the cast iron impellers lasted exactly the time Grundfos needed to bring us the right type of impellers, the ones made of stainless steel.

“That was really something, being willing to deliver cast iron impellers as ‘cannon fodder’ to the acidic waters, at no cost to us, simply to fulfil our need to quickly expand our water treatment unit. It shows real commitment to the clients needs.”

Trusted partnership
However, Gabriel Hîruta says, one grand gesture is not enough for a lasting business relationship. Such a partnership requires daily maintenance and commitment. And the high-quality products Grundfos has provided are cost effective and reliable. Not to mention, his plants expansion has been an unqualified success.

“So far Grundfos has excelled in keeping a direct line of communication open with us, meeting our demands and really helping us take our business forward,” Gabriel Hîruta says. “Things inevitably go wrong, and when they do it’s good to know you have a trusted partner, one who will deliver. It’s like a marriage.”

Rombat’s wastewater needs
Each day the Rombat plant processes about 200 cubic metres of neutralized and pre-treated water. To meet environmental requirements, up to 120 cubic metres per day of the tseated water goes back into the production cycle. The rest goes to the municipal water treatment facility and then enters the wastewater system of the city of Bistrita.
In line with environmental requirements, Rombat also recycles the lead in used batteries in its Rebat facility, opened in 2005 in the city of Copsa Mica. Its current output capacity is 20,000 tonnes per year.

Grundfos supplied these end-suction pumps

Grundfos supplied 6 close-coupled (NBG) end-suction pumps at Rombat’s Bistrita wastewater facility, helping the company to pump about half of the volume of fluids circulated on the industrial platform. The specific models included:

NBG 80-50-200/219
NBG 125-80-200/222
NBG 125-80-200/196.

Read more about Grundfos solutions in manufacturing industries.

Rombat, largest car battery maker in Romania

SC Rombat SA, located in Bistrita in northern Romania, is the largest car battery maker in Romania, turning out 2.2 million batteries per year. The company started 32 years ago as a state-owned entity in a tightly regulated market, but it has since adapted to the open-market environment of the post-communist era. In 1996 Rombat was sold to its workforce. In 2012 it became part of the South African group Metair Investment Ltd, when Metair International Holdings Coöperatief U.A. bought 99 percent of the company’s shares, which are not publicly listed. The company holds the top certificates in product quality, health and safety and environmental management.

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