Conjure x Grundfos Case Study

Sam Hannah

May 18, 2023

At this point in time, the world is in a very precarious position. With climate change really starting to bite across the globe, natural disasters will only become more prevalent in both areas where it already happens periodically, and those which have never seen the like before. To that end, Grundfos engaged Conjure to solve a number of internal issues with their water pump management systems in order to better insulate themselves and those who in the areas in which they work from these incoming threats. As such, there was so much work completed that I can’t simply put it into one article or case study — it’ll have to be split into multiple — but the importance of it merits such a large amount of content, because this will prove valuable for many areas of the world in the years to come.

Working with both the Danish and Chinese branches of Grundfos, the task we will be focusing on here is to do with the Sponge Cities in China, and Grundfos’ need to be able to monitor their existing systems and the flood risks in them. To provide a bit of context, Sponge Cities are an urban development construction model employed by the Chinese government in urban planning to better deal with potential flooding and torrential rain, along with traditional issues such as low water flow and stagnant, smelly water running through cities.

“Sponge City” explainer diagram

It’s a rather ingenious idea that creates more permeable spaces for water to be absorbed by the soil beneath us, so as to allow for greater clean water across China’s sprawling concrete jungles, whilst simultaneously lowering the risk of urban flooding and stress on the drainage systems, enriching biodiversity, and creating more natural green spaces for residents to enjoy.

Grundfos’ job was to install their proprietary water pumps to create a water system that would be “future-proof”, for want of a better phrase, and in turn deal with this repugnant, stagnant water in the city. Conjure’s job was to connect each pump up to a centralised digital internal platform that allowed Grundfos to both monitor and model their work as and when they need to. Monitoring is a constant job, of course, but accurate modelling was a particular requirement of this project due to the amount of rainfall present in the area on average and the deltas and estuaries on which the city is built.

The system that was eventually built and rolled out spanned three main areas of concern for Grundfos: the city itself, the surrounding rivers, and the overall flood risk.

City view

River view

Flood risk view

The beauty of the system, especially if you’ve seen the before photos, is that it piles the abundance of data that those at Grundfos have to deal with on a daily basis into a digestible, human-oriented platform which, at the end of the day, will only serve to make their work easier, and therefore the lives of those they are indirectly looking after much safer. Particularly as areas where these systems are implemented are typically at higher risk for flooding generally and more exposed to the dangers of climate change in the future, the fact that it’s so comprehensive and easy to use really is a life-saving tool at Grundfos’ disposal.

As stated previously, this is just one part of the work we did with Grundfos, but it’s a great explainer of the reasoning behind why the work is so important. If this is where the world is headed, and it certainly looks that way, then this type of project will only be in higher and higher demand.