In keeping with Viking Pump’s commitment to provide its customers with innovative pumping solutions for the most challenging fluid handling needs, the company recently invested $1.75 million to expand its full-service research and testing laboratory. This internally run lab complements the other Viking-owned facilities – a machining/assembly plant, alloy and iron foundries and the original historic headquarters building – located near each other in the city of Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA. The company is known for its collaborative projects and communication with clients to deliver the right pump for each situation, and has been doing so since its inception in 1911. The lab is key to effectively developing new products, as well as ensuring the finished goods quality of existing products to meet strict regulatory requirements and maintain customer satisfaction.
In recent years, Viking’s ever-growing global footprint started to place more demands on the lab, calling for efficiency improvements in laboratory operations, as well as a larger space to accommodate new, modernized equipment and capabilities. The remodel project was no small task, more than trebling the area of the lab to house the following improvements: a 300 hp dynamometer, two 50 hp dynamometers, a Distek Data collection of software for 5 dynamometers, two 5,600-gallon tanks of testing oil, and two 5-t overhead cranes. Besides the standard certified performance testing of each pump, “Additional testing, depending on the application and product, is also implemented as needed through our new research lab,” explains Derrick Goddard, Viking’s Interim President. He further explains that “Finite Element Analysis (FEA) is used to optimize component strength, Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) is used to optimize fluid flow through the pump, and statistical tolerance stacking software is used to make sure designs are repeatable and to deliver consistent performance from pump to pump.”
With any sweeping changes, the corporate culture undergoes a shift in mindset as leaders are inspired to create new processes. John Stillman, Viking Distribution Business Line Leader, says of the changed lab environment, “We also developed a scalable new product development process called ‘Concept to Customer.’ This staged program outlines research, testing, Voice of Customer, and operational and market requirements for the implementation of new products. The program has increased our efficiency, as well as guided product development and project funnels for continued research and development.”