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4 Ways to Reduce the Life Cycle Cost of a Centrifugal Pump

When purchasing a centrifugal pump or reviewing plant expenses, we have to consider costs beyond the purchase and installation costs. The lifecycle cost of a centrifugal pump accumulates over the pump's usable life. AiSight can reduce these costs.

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The life cycle cost is a metric as fundamental as it is complex. In scientific literature, it's common to compare it to an iceberg: we can only see parts of the whole, while most are hidden and difficult to identify. Like an iceberg to a boat, the parts of the life cycle cost that are least visible can be the ones that most impact your plant expenses. When costing a centrifugal pump, we tend to focus on the purchase or installation costs. But the life cycle cost accumulates through the centrifugal pump's whole usable life, in every circumstance in which the machine exists in the plant. This is why the life cycle cost is the first variable that we should take into account when purchasing a centrifugal pump or reviewing plant expenses.

The following equation, as defined in the KSB Centrifugal Pump Lexicon by KSB, expresses the life cycle cost (LCC):


Cic = Purchase costs

Cin = Costs of installation and commissioning

Ce = Energy costs

Co = Operating costs

Cm = Maintenance costs

Cs = Costs resulting from unplanned downtime and loss of production

Cenv = Environmental costs

Cd = Decommissioning and disposal costs

One way to lower the overall life cycle cost is to intervene ineach variable of the equation. According to a study by Flygt, each of the eight variables that constitute the LCC of a centrifugal pump has a different weight (graph 1). In this article, we'll focus on four of them: energy costs, maintenance costs, operational costs, and downtime costs.

The Life Cycle Cost of a Centrifugal Pump by Flygt

1. Energy Costs Of a Centrifugal Pump

Energy costs are the most impactful variable in the total life cycle cost. According to Flygt’s study, in a typical wastewater pumping system, energy costs can represent as much as 34% of the whole LCC.

Energy costs depend on many sub-variables. That means there are many ways to reduce energy costs. But the best way is to know your best efficiency point (BEP). The BEP is the point at which a pump's developed head and flow volumes make it operate as efficiently as possible. Every pump has one. By monitoring the vibration profile of your pumps, the AiSight machine learning algorithm will immediately identify the BEP and deviations from it, helping you improve efficiency and decrease energy costs.

Finally, learning more about the expenses generated by your machinery can give you a better understanding of costs both in your plant and for the planet. If you are using centrifugal pumps in your plant, you probably know that these machines account for 20% of world energy consumption. Innovations brought forth by Industry 4.0 not only aim at increasing your factory's productivity, but also at lowering its toll on the environment, perhaps helping your company achieve its corporate-social-responsibility goals. When you look at things that way, a solution that helps you monitor the energy consumed by your machine takes on a whole new meaning.

2. Maintenance Costs Of a Centrifugal Pump

The second most important variable behind life cycle cost is maintenance costs, which can be divided into two sets: planned and unplanned maintenance. Planned maintenance is usually scheduled by the operator according to the needs of each machine, per the supplier’s recommendations. Unplanned maintenance becomes necessary when unforeseen events cause the machine to operate abnormally. For example, clogging often forces centrifugal pumps to require unplanned maintenance. AiSight can help you troubleshoot this problem in two ways.

First, by helping your machine operate at BEP, it's easy for the operator to calculate all of the clogging instances that could occur in a year.

Second, our predictive maintenance solution will alert you via email, SMS and in your AiSight dashboard when the machine's vibration's change, indicating a clogged pump.

Detecting deviations from the standard behavior of machines is what predictive maintenance - and thus AiSight - is all about. Such precautions can result in a decrease in your normal maintenance costs by 50%.

3. Downtime Costs Of a Centrifugal Pump

Downtime costs result from any unplanned production stoppage. As Grundfos clarifies, downtime does not always correspond to a loss of production. But it does represent a loss of comfort. Downtime costs mainly include the costs of replacement parts and the actual repair of the cetrifugal pump, during an emergency. Tackling these costs means either reducing the occurrence of downtime, or being ready when it happens.

To reduce the occurrence of downtime, predictive maintenance is, again, the answer. By monitoring the condition of your machine with vibrations analysis, AiSight can increase uptime by 30%. This avoids repair costs and extends the useful life of your centrifugal pump.

At the same time, being ready for downtime means, that by knowing the behavior of your centrifugal pump, you can accurately allocate the necessary resources and parts for repairs.

4. Operating Costs Of a Centrifugal Pump

Operating costs are mostly the cost of the technicians performing ordinary, productive work with the machine. But operating costs also include taking care of the physical wear and tear that's inevitable in industrial operations, cleaning the system, and, of course, supervising it. By providing 24/7 monitoring of your centrifugal pump, centralized in an overview of all assets, and optimizing your maintenance strategy, AiSight's solution helps reduce the cost of unnecessary supervision tasks.

Dive Deeper and Wider

In conclusion, comparing life cycle cost to an iceberg gives us a clearer understanding of this tricky metric. Instead of spending time negotiating and speculating about just one variable— the initial cost, which only represents 10% of the whole LCC— focus on the above four sub- variables. Doing so could make a tangible impact on 72% of the costs generated by your centrifugal pump. AiSight makes it easy. If you're interested in monitoring the condition of your machines to predict and prevent downtime and optimize the use of your machine, reach out to us.

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