4 Factors Impacting High Pressure Plunger Pump Price
by Shawn Glover, VP of Sales, on Dec 15, 2020
How much do our plunger pumps cost? It’s a fair question, and it’s one that we get asked a lot during initial conversations with customers. There are many factors that determine a high pressure plunger pump price, and we’ll explore each of them here.
As you consider each of the following cost factors, you’ll want to think about the longevity of your commercial pump and its maintenance and operating costs down the road. Commercial industries that rely on pump equipment to get the job done need to know they’re receiving a good overall value, not just a good initial price.
The materials that go into manufacturing a high pressure pump play the biggest role in determining price. An entry-level residential diaphragm pump, for example, is typically made out of polycarbonate or plastic. While these materials are less expensive, it’s not uncommon for a pump to only last a few months with repeated use, needing replacement the following season.
Plastic components are susceptible to the elements, becoming brittle or compromised when exposed to UV rays, temperature fluctuations, and high pressure. Most are not compatible with harsh chemicals which degrade the plastic and other components. There’s no denying that plastic pumps typically cost less up front, but they’re simply impractical for most commercial applications and will end up costing an operator far more over time by way of repairs, replacements, maintenance, and lost revenue due to downtime.
The best materials for industrial-grade commercial pumps are typically aluminum or stainless steel. Despite costing a bit more to manufacture up front, they’re far more durable under high pressure, withstand harsh chemicals, and can last for many years. Less durable materials will never give you the performance and power you’re looking for.
Ceramic may also be used in commercial pumps and is more expensive than stainless steel. Ceramic should be considered for applications that need to withstand high temperatures, as it does not transfer heat like stainless steel does. This is an important factor in prolonging the life of your pump’s elastomers and seals, especially in low-volume, high-pressure applications like misting systems where temperatures can climb quickly. Excessive heat can degrade buna or viton elastomers, causing tears and eventual pump failure. In these situations, ceramic pumps can add tremendous value.
Pump Pro Tip: If you’re considering a misting system pump, insist that it delivers true flash evaporation with an ultra-fine mist that dissipates into the air rather than leaving surfaces wet. Not only are wet surfaces an indication of inferior performance, it can also indicate that your system may overheat and result in pump failure.
Custom vs. Off-the-Shelf Pump
What will end up costing you more — an off-the-shelf pump or a custom-designed pump system to fit into your existing equipment? It’s easy to reason that the ready-made pump will be cheaper, but deeper exploration often reveals a completely different story.
This is demonstrated in a recent customer’s experience with a pump for their insecticide and fertilizer spray rig. The pump they had been using from another manufacturer was being discontinued. To determine whether we could fill the need, we asked exploratory questions about the required flow rate, pressure, and nozzle size. Turns out that the other manufacturer had never asked such questions and, for years, was selling them a much larger off-the-shelf pump than they needed.
By customizing a right-sized solution, they ended up with a pump that was half the size and one-third the price.
Labor and Fittings
Those who are enticed by the lower price point of a ready-made pump often overlook the many ancillary costs associated with configuring it into a system. It’s important to get answers to the following questions:
- Will the pump need to be modified to fit into my system?
- Is the pump a complete system that’s already plumbed or is it bare bones?
- Are the proper hoses, fittings, regulators, and other components included?
- Is it compatible with the fluids and chemicals I use?
- Will the pump provide the right power and flow rate for my application?
- Am I able to test the pump prior to purchasing it to make sure it meets specifications and operates as it should?
- What will the labor costs be to install it in my system and maintain it over time?
A pump that’s custom fit for your system might cost more up front, but the labor to install it will decrease significantly because you won’t have to reconfigure anything. If you need a compact pump for a commercial pressure cleaning sprayer that delivers 6 GPM at 300 PSI, a custom pump manufacturer will design a system to those specifications.
They’ll also ensure it’s plumbed properly, test it, and equip you with the right hoses, fittings, and accessories to ensure it operates properly on day one and for years to come.
When you step into the commercial pump world, it’s not as simple as hooking up a couple hoses and going to work. A plug-and-play custom solution is arguably a far greater value over time. On the other hand, the costs and headaches of dealing with inferior pumps can quickly erode profits and patience.
Many OEMs have design or mechanical engineers on staff to design their commercial equipment. When that equipment requires a high pressure pump to operate, however, it’s critical to leverage the expertise of a fluid control engineer who specializes in designing electric motor pump systems. Their skillset helps obtain peak performance and long-lasting durability through proper plumbing, configurations, flow rates, PSI, material selection, and more.
Many manufacturers don’t have a pump expert on staff. Without a fluid control engineer, a lot of time and money can be tied up in designing a system that may not meet your needs. One of our greatest strengths at Pumptec is our team of pump experts and fluid control engineers who design a system to meet a specific goal: yours. We serve as an extension of your team, collaborating with your engineers at no cost, building prototypes, testing, and more.
Speak with a pump expert today to see how a custom pump solution can truly provide greater lifetime value.