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How to optimise the TCO of a centrifugal pump

How to optimise the TCO of a centrifugal pump


The purchase price is only one component of the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). How much does a centrifugal pump cost? It is not the purchase price that needs to be considered, but the total costs to be incurred during the entire life cycle, i.e. the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of the pump.

The TCO is a key figure in the design phase of the system, when a careful measurement and analysis of the total costs needs to be made in order to make the best equipment purchasing decisions. TCO optimisation is a difficult process for companies to plan and sustain, but it is worth it precisely because it contributes to making better decisions and returning value in terms of competitiveness. Cost optimisation involves multiple business functions, from operations to maintenance to purchasing. The common goal is to reduce total costs.

How to calculate the TCO of a centrifugal pump

To carry out a TCO analysis, all costs, direct and indirect, of acquiring, commissioning, operating, maintaining and disposing of a pump over a specified period of time must be estimated. The analysis can be used to effectively compare alternative approaches (e.g. purchase or hire?). It is possible to understand these costs using the following formula for pumping systems. This formula can be extended to almost any class of production equipment:

TCO = Ca + Cc + Co + Cm + Cp + Cd

Ca Costo di acquisizione include il costo di ingegneria, approvvigionamento, costo dell’attrezzatura, costo dell’attrezzatura ausiliaria, ispezioni e documentazione
Cc Costo della messa in servizio include i costi di costruzione, collaudo, formazione e supporto tecnico
Co Costo di esercizio include energia, personale operativo, costi di struttura, supporto e gestione delle materie prime
Cm Costo della manutenzione include il personale di manutenzione, il costo dell’impianto di manutenzione, le apparecchiature di prova, il supporto per la manutenzione e i costi di gestione, i ricambi per la manutenzione e le parti di riparazione
Cp Costo di produzione include perdite di produzione, costi della qualità, costi ambientali e costi di ridondanza
Cd Costo di rimozione e smaltimento meno qualsiasi valore di recupero

Interestingly, the initial cost incurred normally accounts for less than 10% of the TCO. Energy and maintenance costs are at least five times more significant, but are rarely considered during the selection process.

Optimising TCO from the design phase

Optimising TCO starts from the design phase. Choosing the right equipment for the right application is crucial to operate efficiently and reduce energy, operating and maintenance costs, which account for over 60 per cent of TCO. Oversized centrifugal pumps are often chosen to cover most services and applications with the same machine. However, if the system flow coming from the pump is too high, the energy costs of running the pump increase, the equipment’s operating life is shortened, and downtime is likely to increase as well.

When a pump is operating at optimum efficiency, or at its Best Efficiency Point (BEP), the liquid flow is constant and the radial forces acting on the impeller are balanced. This allows the pump to experience maximum efficiency and minimum vibration, extending the life of the pump. If, on the other hand, the pump works too hard at the beginning or end of the curve, the pumped fluid is not able to circulate properly inside the pump and lubricate all the internal components, increasing the likelihood of malfunctions.

The impact on stock

In recent years CDR Pompe has chosen to invest significant resources in after-sales service in order to be able to guarantee an ever better service to its customers, both in terms of spare parts supply and pump maintenance and repair services. Our primary objective is to solve any problems the customer may have with the use and maintenance of the pumps accurately and in the shortest possible time. For this purpose CDR Pompe has created a specific warehouse of spare parts ready for delivery. This allows us to supply spare parts within 3 working days to quickly solve any emergencies on the systems and avoid undesirable downtimes at our customers’ premises. In addition to the stock of spare parts for prompt delivery, we also have a brand new repair warehouse for prompt delivery; an important innovation that once again allows us to guarantee excellent service and support to our customers. Pumps that are being repaired in our in-house workshop are in fact repaired in a particularly short time thanks to this new prompt delivery warehouse.

CDR Pompe also guarantees the originality of its spare parts. Original spare parts are manufactured with unchanged tolerances and clearances, thus guaranteeing interchangeable, correct and reliable replacement.

Using spare parts that are not original or not manufactured by the supplier of the centrifugal pump can cause efficiency and performance problems. Choosing equipment and components solely on the basis of purchase price may cause undesirable consequences that increase TCO.

Purchasing spare parts from different suppliers requires operators and maintenance personnel to be trained in the guidelines and operating procedures of each. In addition, different components and spare parts will have to be procured and stored for each supplier, causing an increase in the value of stocks of components for maintenance and repairs.

The importance of quality repairs

Pumps repaired in companies’ in-house workshops usually fail prematurely, either because workers rarely follow standards and guidelines properly or because operators are not properly trained. On the contrary, one of CDR Pompe’s main objectives is to make its in-house workshop more and more efficient by continuously training workers specialised in the assembly/disassembly of centrifugal pumps.

A proactive maintenance culture

It is often believed that the maintenance department alone can provide a sufficient level of reliability and contribute significantly to improving TCO. Although maintenance is a necessary component, TCO optimisation must be an organisation-wide initiative, established by the implementation of disciplined and integrated processes and practices. To create a proactive maintenance culture and achieve reliability, it is imperative that operational parameters are well defined and documented through standard procedures, and that operators are properly trained to follow them.

The value of TCO

Efforts made to analyse and optimise TCO, rather than just acquisition costs, can produce a positive return on investment.

TCO is not just a number: it is an important, non-fixed piece of data (think of the gradual decrease in the depreciation rate of an asset) that can unlock value when used in conjunction with equipment utilisation data and help make better, more cost-effective decisions in the long run.