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Tips For Choosing The Right Pump

Dec. 10, 2021

When selecting a pump, hydraulic fit and efficiency are often the primary factors considered by engineers, placing them at the top of the list. This approach often leaves the end user with a pump that is oversized or underperforming in its specified application, as the specification process fails to take into account overall operating costs, maintenance and reliability. 

Ignoring all technical and commercial aspects of the pump selection process will inevitably lead to higher costs and more inefficiencies. This article will demonstrate how to avoid the common pitfalls of pump selection by detailing a complete process.


Intelligent pump selection

Pump selection is based on two broad categories of consideration: technical and commercial.


For obvious reasons, the technical aspects of the pump are important. To obtain information on the technical requirements of a pumping system, the engineer should complete a complete analysis of the system and note the following points.

 Slurry Pump

 Slurry Pump     

Net Positive Suction Head (NPSHa) - What is NPSH? Very often, NPSH is never checked, which can lead to pump cavitation and corresponding total pump failure. The available NPSH (NPSH) should always be 0.5 m higher than the required NPSH (NPSHr). this is specified by the pump manufacturer.


Fluid type and specifications - what are the solids sizes - what are the temperatures, corrosiveness and abrasiveness, toxicity levels and flammability of the fluid being transferred, if any? It is vital to know the type of fluid being pumped before selecting a pump.


Criticality of the application - what if a back-up pump is required? Spare parts are necessary in situations where pump failure is detrimental to the entire system.


Sealing requirements - Is the fluid hazardous or sterile? If leakage is not an acceptable option, mechanical seals may be required.


Construction requirements - Are there space restrictions or a lack of clean water? This determines not only the size and configuration of the pump, but also whether an oil lubricated pump is recommended.


Efficiency - What is the efficiency rating? Pumps are one of the largest consumers of energy; energy efficient pumps reduce the harmful effects of CO2 emissions and lower energy bills. While high efficiency is important, it is also important to note that the most efficient pump is not necessarily the most suitable pump for the job.


Drivers - how will the pump be powered? Steam turbines, diesel engines and electric motors are all examples.


Commercial considerations emphasise the cost of the pump to the end user, whether it is time, money or lost opportunities. These considerations are just as important as the technical aspects.


Capital costs - buyers often purchase oversized pumps, adding unnecessary safety margins and incurring significant capital costs for the end user.


Operating and maintenance costs - Lower initial investment does not always translate into lower operating costs. Cheap, unreliable pumps increase downtime, which leads to increased power consumption, lost revenue and higher maintenance costs.


Efficiency - Higher energy efficiency translates into higher energy savings. However, better operational suitability should not be sacrificed for higher efficiency, as the benefits may not always outweigh the costs.


Other factors to consider when selecting a pump include service history, manufacturer, spare parts availability and cost, as well as the distance of the end user from the service centre. When all these factors are weighed and no particular attention is paid to one or two, the end user can correctly select the most suitable pump for their application.

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