Cost-effective solutions for challenging times

A recent industry survey indicates a surprisingly widespread lack of knowledge among process and maintenance engineers about non-OEM replacement parts for PC pumps. Mark Viner gives the low-down on the available options.

The European Water Framework Directive (WFD) and AMP5 spending means treatment works are being encouraged to focus on lifetime costs and their improvement through more efficient management of maintenance budgets. As key elements of the treatment process, the performance of pumps has a considerable bearing on how energy and cost efficient a treatment works is, as well as its quality of discharge. Even with the use of screens and grinders, PC pumps can still suffer from ragging and maintenance issues. Therefore it is important that treatment works pay attention to on-going maintenance costs and their improvement through better specification and assessment of equipment and parts. Bearing this in mind, it is surprising that a recent industry survey has revealed that over a third of process and maintenance engineers do not realise it is possible to buy high performance, cost-effective non-OEM replacement parts for their PC pumps. According to the survey, which set out to explore attitudes and approaches to maintenance within the water and wastewater industry, over half of engineers always purchase genuine parts from the OEM when maintaining their PC pumps, while a third are unaware that it is even possible to buy non-OEM parts. These results are not what you would expect, particularly when you consider that half the survey respondents indicated rising equipment maintenance costs are a growing concern. It is clear that process and maintenance engineers need to be made aware that there are practical solutions to help bring costs under control. Compatible The fact is that there are ranges of high performance, durable spare parts available that offer cost effective alternatives to OEM PC pump parts. They include rotors, stators, coupling rods, shafts, pins / bushes, seals and drive train assemblies and are designed to be compatible with all major PC pump brands. The leading ranges also manufacture parts in the UK, so can offer same-day delivery on stock items and have dedicated aftermarket teams. This makes them a very attractive offering for engineers in the UK looking to control pump maintenance costs without sacrificing high quality service and parts. Not surprisingly, the survey showed that performance is a key issue, with 80% of respondents rating it among the top three important attributes when purchasing spare parts. However incorrectly, 39% thought that non-OEM parts would be lower in quality than the OEM equivalents. Whole life cost was also an important issue for engineers with 60% rating it among the top three. The key is to look for manufacturers offering a range of parts that embodies the quality, heritage and integrity that come with a trusted brand. The latest generation of market leading PC pump parts have been designed to offer the same or better warranties and guarantees as OEM parts. High performance parts are put through rigorous multiple matrix testing to ensure that performance is equal to, or higher than that of the OEM equivalent. With this kind of reassurance, engineers can confidently switch to non-OEM parts and quickly make a saving on maintenance budgets. As well as providing excellent whole life costs, non-OEM parts are extremely cost competitive compared with genuine parts. With an increasing focus on operational and maintenance cost control, leading manufacturers understand that the price and availability of spare parts is high on the agenda and using their global manufacturing facilities and engineering know-how, they are able to produce parts at competitive prices. Leading manufacturers of non-OEM parts are also able to offer best in class lead times on parts due to comprehensive stocks held at head offices and international distributor locations. This provides minimal downtime and eliminates the need for extensive onsite stocks. Same-day delivery is also available on request for stock items, which helps ensure minimum disruption and production stoppages. This service combined with competitive pricing gives engineers a trusted and valued source when buying their spare parts. Non-OEM parts can be purchased via online e-commerce systems making it even easier for engineers looking to reduce downtime on site. This service also allows you to check stock levels and lead times. Alternatives Maintenance costs are likely to continue to be a real issue for the industry, but to ensure plants continually improve their processes and control costs, engineers must be fully up to speed with the latest product developments so they can consider all the options that are open to them. In these challenging times, the right pump part, which offers engineers a reliable and cost-effective solution, can play a key role in a plant considerably improving maintenance downtime and whole life costs. Moreover, it enables them to meet the requirements of the AMP5 spending and the WFD, helping them to safeguard funding moving forward. It is clear that manufacturers of high performance non-OEM PC pump parts need to do more to educate the industry on their cost-effective alternatives that are proven to deliver high performance, reliable results that will enable engineers to make immediate savings on their maintenance budgets. Mark Viner is European sales manager at Mono NOV. W: www.mono-pumps.com

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