The Most Important Questions to Ask When Considering a Pump

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The Most Important Questions to Ask When Considering a Pump

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All pumps and pump suppliers are not created equal. Furthermore, pumps, especially rotary lobe pumps, are not one-size-fits-all. Make sure you have the information you need to make an informed purchase for a pump that will get the job done for you.

Q: What is this pump designed for?

A: Each style of pump is designed to tackle specific tasks. Some have a wider range of tasks they can perform compared to others.

For example, the centrifugal pump was designed to efficiently pump clear, clean liquids with viscosities similar to water. This is why they are generally less expensive than other pump styles. Progressive cavity pumps were designed to pump thick, viscous material with some solids efficiently. Elastomeric rotary lobe pumps were designed to pump manure and other various viscosities and solids efficiently. 

Q: What is my long-term investment to price ratio?

A: Most global pumping applications are pumping clear clean fluids similar to water. Pumps that are designed to handle other materials and fluids are more expensive because they are niche applications. It’s important to consider that the family of pumps designed for the application closest to your needs may not be the lowest priced offering in the short term, but they very well may be the most cost-effective solution over the life of the equipment. A cheap pump is not a good buy if you have to routinely replace it due to failure because it is a poor fit for your operation. Read more about the total cost ownership on a pump.

Q: How many pumps do I need, based on the skills of my maintenance crew?

A: It is vitally important to know whether repairs can be done in-house, or if you will need to send the equipment out for repair. Pumps that need outside repair often come with a service contract that adds to your long-term cost. And sending a pump out means downtime if you don’t have a backup. Know if your pump has to be sent halfway across the world for service.  

If the pump can be serviced in-house, you then need to look at your in-house resources. If you have a crew full of MacGyvers, you can get by with one pump. If your maintenance crew has problems telling a wrench from a hammer, you probably want to have a backup piece of equipment. If you have an average crew, you need to consider how critical the application is to determine whether you need a backup pump or not. If you can do the repairs in-house, it is best to keep spare parts on the shelf to minimize downtime. If you’ll be keeping spare parts on hand for in-house repairs, it makes sense to have a pump that has fewer and smaller parts, making it easier to keep the pump up and running and taking up a minimum amount of inventory space. 

Q: How hard is it to get ahold of my sales rep?

A: You may think you have a handle on your pump operations. However, it is often not as important to have all the answers, as it is to know where and when to get answers and assistance. How many times have we gotten a piece of equipment that works great, but when it fails, we can only call the service center between the hours of 7 and 9 a.m. CST because the plant is located in Europe or Asia? Or worse, they have a local sales office you assume you can rely on, but they are unable to answer your questions or will not return your calls. Always make sure you have a quality local representative or manufacturer’s representative that you can reach quickly when it matters most. It makes a world of difference in protecting your equipment and keep it operating at its best performance.

Q: How hard is it to get spare parts?

A: You bought the right pump for the application. You have a top-notch maintenance crew. You have a backup pump because it is a critical application. You have a world-class local rep. Unfortunately, someone forgot to open the suction valve when the backup pump kicked on and the pump has cratered. You get your rep on the phone, but unfortunately the parts for your pump are made one Tuesday a month, and it’s Wednesday morning… Does your manufacturer have a good supply of spare parts ready to ship to you quickly? If not, ask your local representative if they can carry some on the shelf. Failing that, you may need to spend additional money to carry some increased inventory on your own shelf.

Q: Does your pump manufacturer have good technical support you can access directly?

A: Let’s face it, not every question is going to be able to be answered by the sales rep. You need a good reliable contact at the manufacturer who can help guide you through difficult applications or provide some guidance to extend the life of your systems.  

Q: Does your manufacturer offer factory training?

A: You can have the best maintenance crew in the land, but without proper training, they may not understand the nuances of a specific pump design — like the difference between a casing O-ring and a seal O-ring. Having your maintenance personnel go through factory training is critical to minimizing your downtime by giving them all the knowledge necessary to keep your pumps operating at peak efficiency and getting them back up to operating conditions when things go wrong.

Q: Does your pump manufacturer have quality local representatives who can help your crew out of a jam?

A: We’ve all been there: your dewatering equipment has gone down and your crew is hard at work putting out the fire. Now, your primary clarifier pump has gone down and you’re expecting a storm to come through. Having a local rep that not only understands your pumps, but has factory trained personnel that can come out and help get you back up and running in a pinch, is invaluable.

If you’re considering a Vogelsang rotary lobe pump, here is an easy rundown of answers to those questions:

  • Vogelsang salespeople and distributors are trained experts in pump technology, so they can help you choose the ideal pump for your specific needs. Find a local dealer/distributor here.
  • Vogelsang pumps can be serviced in-house and on-line. Watch a video overview.
  • Sales reps and distributors are glad to offer quotes that include the initial and long-term costs of your pump that includes spare parts, service work, etc. 
  • Vogelsang has a global sales network with a manufacturing facility in Ravenna, Ohio, that carries parts on the shelf. 
  • Vogelsang offers factory training several times a year at no cost to the end user (you make travel arrangements, they put you up in the hotel and feed you during training.) Get details here.
  • A nationwide network of local reps offers local service that can get you out of any jam.

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