Application and Purchasing
Making Pumps Last Longer
(Some General Rules Of Thumb)
The following chapter will talk about several aspects of pump purchasing, installation and maintenance that will help in developing an understanding of what makes pumps last longer. As with most things, there will be exceptions to what is stated. Talk to the pump manufacturer or your local distributor. They are "EXPERTS" in pump application. Then, combine their information with your good judgement to determine if your particular application warrants an exception to the following articles.
Application and Purchasing
Selecting a pump is a lot like buying a vehicle for transportation. When purchasing a vehicle, you need to know what you are going to use the vehicle for, i.e: transporting your family, hauling heavy equipment, or car pooling to and from work with ten of your friends. You also need to consider the surface you will normally be driving on, i.e.: mostly smooth freeways, typical city streets, country roads covered with snow half the year, off road to the job site, or that favorite fishing hole. You may also need to consider economics, i.e.: are you looking in the $10,000 to $20,000 dollar range or the $20,000 to $40,000 range? What about fuel economy, 10 to 20 miles per gallon, or over 20?
What this all boils down to is that you probably would not purchase the same vehicle for transporting your family on Saturday afternoon drives as you would to drive yourself to work if you worked at a back woods logging camp with only dirt or mud access roads. If you did, then you would probably be disappointed in the life of the vehicle, the maintenance required, or the performance you get from the vehicle. The same applies to pumps. You would not use the same type of pump for pumping cool clear water as you would for pumping a hot, thick asphalt mix.
The above analogy was used to illustrate that it is necessary to identify the type of service, the type of installation and the type of operation the pump is to be placed in first, and then select a pump best suited for that service.
Once you have determined the type of equipment you need and are ready to make a purchase, be specific in your request for quotation. Take into consideration the expected life cycle cost of the equipment and specify not only the pump, but NECESSARY OPTIONS THAT WILL EXTEND THE SERVICEABLE LIFE. These options may include harder materials of construction, sealing systems supplied with the pump, specific couplings, special baseplates, etc. Remember when you look for the lowest bidder, you are also looking for the cheapest; and you may get it.
When evaluating the bids received, consider the bid source and place value on services that the bidder can provide. For instance:
- When you call the vendor, do you get to talk to an applications engineer or will someone have to call you back?
- Can you get assistance from the supplier when you do have a problem? Does the supplier offer service after the sale?
- Is the vendor able to provide your maintenance, operator or engineering staff with specific training on the product?
- Is the vendor able to provide you with assistance in specifying the correct equipment?
- If you have had experience with the vendor, do they provide you equipment and parts with little or no errors in shipment or invoicing?
- Does the supplier consistently provide heavy duty equipment, mounted on substantial baseplates, designed for the specific equipment purchased?
- Does the vendor carry sufficient inventory to support your plant?
- Can the vendor provide you with the necessary literature for the equipment, i.e.: maintenance manuals, equipment drawings, performance data, specification sheets, etc?
These are just a few of the services that may be important to you or your company and questions that should be considered to determine the true value of the bids. If you or your company feel that any other vendor service is important, apply a value to each service offered and consider this value in your bid evaluations.
REMEMBER, THAT THE LOWEST BID IS NOT ALWAYS THE LEAST EXPENSIVE.