The general consensus within the municipal and industrial pumping markets is that standard material pumps aren’t quite good enough for today’s demanding applications. There may be some truth to the idea that special materials and construction methods can provide a longer and more reliable service life. However, there are also good reasons why you should think long and hard before asking for an expensive material or construction upgrade.
A Proven Track Record
One reason why a pump manufacturer’s standard product should, at least, be given cursory consideration is that the materials and design that make up the standard product are proven. There’s nothing theoretical or risky about using the standard materials and design. On the other hand, with special materials and designs the specifier has taken on all the risk, and if something goes wrong the specifier will be in hot water right along with the manufacturer.
There are certainly cases where standard materials and designs won’t cut it, but before making the leap to a special pump design, it’s always best to make sure this is one of those cases.
A second reason to think about using standard product has to do with getting replacement parts on down the road. Most manufacturer’s can offer standard material replacement parts off the shelf, and with next day shipping those replacement parts can generally be on site within a matter of days. On the other hand, if that pump has a sophisticated bearing lubrication system and you need a replacement bearing you may be looking at some extended downtime while the replacement parts are manufactured.
The Bottom Line
One final reason to consider using standard product is cost. In virtually all cases the manufacturer’s standard product will be the cheapest configuration available. This isn’t necessarily because it’s inferior as much as because the manufacturer has been able to accomplish economies of scale in building their standard product.
There are certainly times where process or pumpage characteristics dictate that special materials or special designs are required. However, if these conditions do not exist it’s always a good idea to give standard product serious consideration due to the significant benefits standard product can afford.