SAER: Italian, proud, and independent

SAER ELETTROPOMPE SpA, was founded in 1951 by Carlo Favella in Guastalla, Reggio Emilia, where the company continues to produce its full range. The first line developed was that of domestic pumps for the agriculture sector.

NCBK 800 670 during machining phase.

Realizing the high potential in foreign markets and increasing demand for reliable products, the company looked to export in the 70’s, initially focusing on the markets of North Africa and the Middle East. Saer then staked its claim on the world stage by participating in international trade shows and industry forums, organizing conferences and training seminars that lead to the spread of the product and an increase in brand recognition, a brand that has become synonymous with Italian quality.

In the 80’s Saer was now recognised worldwide, not only in Europe, Africa and the Middle East, but also South America, Asia and Oceania, offering a diverse range for both surface applications (pumps for residential, electric pumps, end suction and monoblock) and submersible (submersible pumps and motors). Due to the effects of globalization in the 1990’s, inexpensive and rebranded products emerged in the Eastern markets. Therefore SAER, ever faithful to the ‘Made in Italy’ philosophy and characterized by a mission to offer products of only the highest standards, commenced a process of transformation, investing more in areas that shared the vision for excellence.

Nowadays the range include split casing pumps, high pressure pumps, submersible pumps and motors up to 14 in, end suction and domestic pumps, booster set and surface motors. The applications range over industrial, civil, O&G, municipality, agriculture, mining, etc also due to the big selection of materials available such as stainless steel, cast iron bronze. With the addition of duplex high pressure pump the line is almost complete up to 60 bars. A project in South America, had called for an enlarged end-section pump of up to 10,000 m3 per hour. The name of the pump will be NCBK 800/630, and the motor is just a 315 kilowatt running at 500 rpm. The motor is a four-point motor, but the pump is connected to the motor with a pulley. The motor runs at 1,500 rpm, but the pump runs at 500 rpm, so very slow.

“We are proud to develop a very complete catalogue and produce around 490 different pump types. Our efforts have been focused on expanding the range in order to offer one as complete as possible to our customers. Producing everything in house means giving excellent delivery times and this is one of our main objectives,” said Franco Favella, President Saer Elettropompe.

SAER bronze 14 in submersible pump and stainless steel AISA 316 4 pole motor 250 hp.

In this perspective we can see that the company has started the production of open impeller pump which introduce Saer in a new field: that of the treatment of waste water. NCA open impeller series which came about through winning a tender for an end suction pump for dry installation for sewage water in Iraq. Saer won this order at the end of October last year, and then had the choice to purchase the pump from a competitor, or develop the pump themselves.

Marco Favella, chief technology officer: “We prefer not to supply pumps from other manufacturers, but customers want a complete solution and our goal is to offer a complete solution .”

The company had previously received many enquires about this type of pump, short lead times meant that they had been unable to produce one themselves, but a long delivery time of five months gave Saer the time to investigate fully the construction of the complete pump. “This was our first dry installation project for wastewater. We made a very quick evaluation, and we decided to build the pump ourselves. By the middle of February we had delivered three different pumps with different dimensions.” said Marco. This demonstrated the flexibility and self sufficiency of the company whose aim is to have ‘made in Italy’ synonymous with high quality products. Now, this series can be supplied with one of the best delivery times on the market.

Taking control

Saer is very proud of the fact that it is in charge of its own destiny as much as any company can be trading in an environment of political and economic uncertainty in its global markets, and prey to the fluctuations of the exchange rate. The company enjoys solidity equity and financial position as well high reliability.

While other companies have to keep a careful eye on the next half-year results, hoping to please the shareholders and stake holders, and not be forced into short term decisions, Saer has its own say on what products to produce and what markets to develop. What gives it this flexibility is that Saer can say that their products are manufactured in-house.

Franco Favella, “Today, it is not easy for a company to decide on its own future. A big problem is that is hard to know where the pumps are manufactured. When Customers come to us they know that what they are buying is totally made by Saer.”

It is not easy. Manufacturers faced with the choice of purchasing components from OEMs or producing everything in-house. “Our Company has invested in automation in order to bring down labour costs. Of course, this is a huge investment but it’s also necessary if a company nowadays want to keep a balance in terms of premium quality and price”, commented Franco Favella.

SAER testing room and split casing pump.

End-suction success

Yet for Saer, this investment in manufacturing capacity is paying dividends when it comes to taking on new projects and unusual requests. “We have many requests from customers to take on projects, so firstly we evaluate them to see if we are able to project the pump according to the performances requested and to the kind of application,” said Marco Favella. In the case of a project in South America, it was for a final pump in a series to transfer water from a river to a rice field.

Interestingly, this project came through a distributor, which Saer has a network supplying 100 countries around the world. “The distributor asked us if we could also supply an enlarged end-suction pump type. They gave us a target price and an approximate delivery time,” Marco Favella explained. “It was an unusual request as we had to enlarge an existing design, but our first reaction was we thought it was possible given a few more days to make a more precise evaluation.”

This design had to handle a flow up to 10,000 m3 per hour, but with a very small head, 8 m, 9 m, more or less, just to take the water from the river to the rice field.

“When you make these kinds of things, you have to take care, not only about the product itself, but all the issue involved in the process of realization. There are issues to be addressed in the study and design phase, production and handling. We must consider all aspects from A to Z and assess the feasibility of the project involving both the suppliers concerned and the resources within the company. At Saer, we test all the products we manufacture. When evaluating the feasibility of this project one of the things we had to check especially was that the setting up of the test equipment. What may decide the success of a project is the coordination and reliability of all those involved.” said Marco Favella. After a couple of days a rough study was completed and the request was accepted.

Quality is key

It was important for both Saer and the customer that the pump was erected and tested thoroughly in Saer’s test laboratory in Guastalla. Marco Favella: “The production process is the key to quality here: how the pumps are produced, how the components are machined etc. For example, the casting is huge so it’s not something that you can machine quickly. Machining of these kinds of components is related to the quality, but clearly you must keep being competitive. Thanks to our structure we didn’t find any problems in machining the new huge components pertaining to the realization of the project.”

So it was not only the price consideration that was important in this project as Marco Favella went on to explain, “This huge pump represented a new and exciting challenge for the company. We designed a pump, machined everything by ourselves, assembled and tested the final product. When we make these custom projects, we make something that we’ve never done. Maybe it’s very similar to another kind of pump, maybe it’s something completely new, but you have to respect what you have promised to your customer, in terms of quality, price and delivery.”

Most of Saer’s pumps are mixed flow pumps, but this one is almost an axle pump. The different design meant for many hours of simulation with the CFD system in the research laboratory. Interestingly, although CFD can predict with amazing accuracy the behaviour of fluid flow it can never be 100% accurate due to the minute idiosyncrasies of the metal.

Faith in the future

It will come as no surprise that Saer’s ‘can-do’ attitude to meet the ever changing demands of customers and doing something the company has never tackled before is not necessarily an obstacle – but sometimes an inspiration. So with its independence and flexibility, Saer is confident about the future.

Saer is currently renewing all their submersible pumps in order to have better efficiency. In the future and is looking to release a submersible pump with solar panel and magnetic motor. It should also be remembered that Saer is also an electric motor manufacturer and in the last few years has renewed its range of electrical motors in order to comply with new efficiency regulations.

“We are born in the company, and we are grown inside here, believing in what we do,” concluded Franco Favella.