In a perfect world, pump systems are inexpensive, long lasting, energy-efficient, and simple to maintain. Although there may be a perfect pump system for your specific processing application, there are still trade-offs you’ll make. Which should you budge on, and which should you leave as a priority when selecting a centrifugal pump?
- Best Efficiency Point (BEP)
Before selecting a pump, you need to know what optimal pump performance looks like for your operation. One method is to determine the best efficiency point (BEP), which all pump manufacturers will provide. For example, a centrifugal pump should operate between 50-120% of its BEP for best long-term performance.
2. Range of Conditions
Just as crucial as BEP is knowing the full desired range of performance based on operating conditions. Flow rates, net positive suction head (NPSh), pressure ratings, and temperatures, are a few examples. The point is to know what you need out of the pump system before finding equipment that gives you desired results.
3. Margin of Error
Until the pump is operating in the real world, it’s hard to determine the exact performance standards you require. You should be able to have fairly accurate estimates to establish acceptable ranges. Even so, pad your expectations, so there is some margin for error. You may find a centrifugal pump that checks most boxes and is within an acceptable range. From here, you can dial it in with fine-tuning or customizations.
4. Process Materials & Conditions
Varying centrifugal pump applications is the reason for a handful of pump designs. Beyond the desired performance characteristics, you will also need to understand the pumped materials. There are fluids, natural gases, liquids with solid particulates, slurries, chemicals, and plain water. Some are acidic and corrosive, damaging seals and interior components, while others produce clogs and cavitation. Select the correct pump and construction materials that will handle the fluids and materials you are processing.
5. Environmental Conditions
Where you are planning to install and operate the pump system is also a significant factor. Consider whether it’s operating in outside, the temperature of the atmosphere it’s in, and humidity. Pump systems are designed to run effectively and efficiently for its environment—know what to expect for success.
Safety is another critical concern. You want a safe pump system that keeps your operators safe and the environment protected. Many operations are under strict environmental regulations and you want to avoid leaks to protect from contamination.
All pumps require routine maintenance—some more than others—based on the operating factors above. Understand the pump’s maintenance requirements and make sure you are not getting equipment that will end up providing more uptime rather than extended downtime for maintenance and repairs.
Most centrifugal pumps are designed to allow for customization. There are after-market solutions and alternative components that can be supplied by the pump manufacturer. The key thing to remember is that selecting the best centrifugal pump for you takes time, research, calculations, and planning. You don’t have to settle on the proper solution alone! Contact DXP Pacific today.