Written by JD Cattel, the President of Digital Control Company.
Pump controllers come in two main forms. The first consists of the various “off the shelf” proprietary controllers with imbedded software. The second form consists of various off the shelf (and equally proprietary) programmable logic controllers (PLC’s).
Despite the fact that PLC’s have progressed over the years, they still must be programmed to be useful. A user is still at the mercy of the whims of these large producers who are constantly changing their designs in an attempt to improve their products or cut costs. Improvements and cost reductions are very noble activities but do not necessarily lead to a happy customer who must strive to keep up with the changes.
DCC’s pump controller line falls in the first category. The platform has not changed much over the years. This has produced a fairly large and stable customer base. End users have not been forced to buy new equipment due to obsolescence planned or otherwise. This has led to a reduction in their operating problems.
There are no firmware changes from one unit to the next. Spare parts are common to all units of the same family. Due to the user friendly configuration, no programming is required – only simple, site specific adjustments to the ranges or set points. It is not necessary to have a software guru on staff or on call from a systems integrator. Costs have remained stable. And most importantly, the pump controller units are not throw aways. They are economically repairable.
DCC’s main advantage over the competition is the stability of the platform and price. These products are aimed at open vessel pump down applications (municipal waste water collection system lift stations) and pump up applications (municipal fresh water tower distribution systems).
We are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Our job is to turn pumps on and off in response to the pressure of the liquid in the lift station wet well or the pressure in the fresh water system. It is not rocket science. The process has been mechanically the same for decades. Simply put, we are the low cost producer for comparable products. We can meet or beat anyone’s price.
DCC has been flattered by the number of “copy cat” pump controllers currently in the market, some of whom have admittedly used our products as an example. But we are still one of the earliest players if not the earliest player in the game. Our pump controllers have withstood the test of time. And no question our user friendliness exceeds all other imbedded designs and certainly exceeds the user friendliness of PLC’s which require a babysitter.