In my last post, I talked about selecting the right type and size of pump for an end customer’s needs. The next step is configuring all the key pump details that ensure proper performance, durability, maintainability, and other operational factors.
Most pumps can be ordered with myriad, interdependent features and options. Some features are a function of the pump technology, such as centrifugal versus reciprocal. Other features are a function of pump type, including single, multi-stage, or split case. Still other features are a function of a proprietary pump family. The selection process can filter available pump families so that the features you will need for a given application can later be chosen in configuration after the sizing process. Note that some options in configuration influence the performance calculated in the sizing result - especially options like impeller trim.
eLogic has deep expertise in the nuanced relationship between selection, sizing, and configuration. At the heart of this relationship is identifying those aspects of selection and configuration that can affect hydraulic performance, and then either prohibiting changes in subsequent configuration or identifying that certain configuration changes may alter the originally sized pump performance. We advise our customers on the tradeoffs of each approach, and then design a solution to meet the desired user experience.
Most customers need more than just a bare pump. Pump units comprised of a liquid end, power end (e.g. motor or engine), baseplate, piping, and controls require extensive expertise and proper modeling beyond that required for the pump alone. Design considerations typically include integration to proprietary selector services (for motors, seals, etc.), hierarchical or chained configuration instances, compatibility rules among instances, and final validation of configured pump unit performance. Modeling considerations typically entail weight calculations, electricity characteristics and the inclusion of couplings, coupling guards, reducers, controllers, and more.
Most pump companies offer their products worldwide. eLogic is intimately familiar with the common challenges of global configuration solutions, namely regionalization (i.e. language), systems of measure, and currency as well as regional assortments and right to buy (i.e. by territory or sales company). There is also different pricing by sales organization (see Quoting) and supply chain considerations to choose the plant or plants from which to source a pump configuration or package. The best pump CPQ solutions allow users to save preferences and favorites to provide a consistent user experience without having to repeatedly enter the same data each time.
"We Suck at Motors"
One of our especially candid customers admitted they don’t do as well they should with regard to managing motors in CPQ applications. Motors (i.e. the power end) serve an obviously critical function in any pump package. Even within the pump industry, few people have a comprehensive understanding of the nuances and complexities entailed in motors. There is a vast array of motors from which to choose, and each has nuances regarding power requirements, starters, speeds, and so forth. Often end customers will have a preference or requirement to use a specific motor or motor manufacturer.
Motor characteristics have a direct impact on the overall performance of a pump. While it is important to get the right pump, it is also important to get the right motor. If required, an external service can be used to select motors (and other accessories). A motor selection service (perhaps supplied by the motor vendor) may also be accessed from within configuration. Motor candidates are limited by parameters passed from configuration and the selected motor data is passed back to configuration.
Roughly 10% of the world's electrical power is consumed by pumps. If you doubt this, you should try powering a pump by hand or pedaling. I’ve done it in a bicycle demonstrator. It takes a LOT of energy to pump even small volumes of water across small distances. So much so, that electrical consumption is often factored into the total cost of ownership of a pump. Even minor improvements in efficiency can have a substantial effect on TCO. Some of the advanced CPQ solutions we have deployed include built-in calculators that enable customers to estimate power cost over the life of given pump configuration.
Engines (typically diesel) are used to power pumps in applications where electrical power is not available or not reliable. Engine-driven pumps is an even more complicated topic, so I will save that for a future blog.
In my next pump blog post, we’ll discuss CPQ and Commerce approaches for pump sales.
For more on this topic, as well as a deep dive into pump configuration, sales, aftermarket, and more, you can download my eBook “Pumps and CPQ: Solving CPQ for Pumps with Industry Best Practices” by clicking the button below: