If you’re a plant manager or buyer, there are many reasons to purchase an air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pump.
They're known for versatility and reliability, handling the harshest fluids and performing in the most challenging environments. As if this isn’t enough, they also have a low initial purchase price and operate efficiently. In fact, in addition to being able to handle just about any pumping job at a great price point, AODD pumps require little maintenance and few repairs.
Still, when making a purchasing decision, you'll need to consider both the short-term and long-term expenses to determine the true life cycle cost. Here's what you should consider to figure out that cost.
The 6 Factors That Affect the Life Cycle Cost of an AODD Pump
How long will your AODD pump last? And how much will it cost over its lifetime?
There are no easy answers to those questions. Lifetime costs can vary significantly and are dependent on many different factors—some of which can be controlled to reduce costs and extend the life of your pump.
Figuring out the expected life cycle cost (or the total AODD pump price) is similar to that of determining the life cycle cost of the tires on your car. There's an expected mileage rating for all automotive tires. But how long they last really comes down to how and where you drive your vehicle.
So, how can you extend the life of your pump in the most efficient way? Let’s review six factors that affect the life cycle of an AODD pump.
1. Initial Purchase Price
The first life cycle cost is the initial purchase price of the pump. On average, the most popular AODD pump sizes and configurations cost less than $1,000. They're usually readily available via local distributors or can be built quickly and shipped out in a few weeks or less. Some AODD pump manufacturers even offer special programs that ship pumps in 24 hours or less at no additional cost.
2. Installation Cost
In general, the cost to install an AODD pump is much lower than that of many other types of positive displacement (PD) pump technologies. The cost is low for several reasons. AODD pumps:
- Don't require electricity for a power source
- Don't need laser alignment or other special requirements when being installed
- Simply need an air supply and, ideally, some fluid flex connections and a basic valve on the inlet and discharge lines of the pumps, so they can be isolated when taken out of service for repair
3. Proper Pump Sizing
To get the greatest efficiency and longevity when sizing an AODD pump, go up one size in the porting size.
For example, if you want to pump 40 gpm (151 lpm) with 10 feet (3 meters) of head, most AODD pumps on the market could achieve that flow rate pumping water. Unfortunately, the pump would have to work at near its maximum capacity and stroke rate, leading to greater wear and reduced efficiency.
Simply by going up to the next pump size, you can run the pump significantly slower (at reduced strokes per minute), which will extend the life of the pump and enhance efficiencies (i.e., reduced air consumption). The difference in initial purchase price between the two sizes isn't significant. Sizing the pump up will allow the cost difference to be quickly made up with pump longevity and efficiency.
4. Pump Material
Pump material selection is critical to its cost and durability.
First, make sure that what you're pumping is chemically compatible with the pump material. To do this, consult the pump manufacturer’s chemical compatibility guide.
Second, once you've selected the proper material, determine what will offer the best life at the best price. For example, if you want to pump sodium hydroxide, polypropylene and PVDF can be used for the wetted body materials of the pump, but PVDF costs significantly more than polypropylene. Regarding the pump elastomers (i.e., the diaphragms, valve balls and seals), Santoprene is a fraction of the cost of PTFE and offers superior flex life, but PTFE can be used for a wider range of chemicals and applications.
5. Repairs: “Complete” Versus “Individual" Components
When an AODD pump needs repair, you must consider the true cost of this repair, taking into account:
- Process downtime: When a pump is out of service, you have to factor in the cost of lost production. This is typically the costliest part of a repair. Many companies have back-up units that can be quickly exchanged to minimize the downtime and loss of production.
- Repair labor cost: The costs associated with the maintenance staff can be factored in, but usually those individuals are already on the payroll. For AODD pump repairs, many users choose to have local distributors conduct service on their pumps if they don’t have the staff to handle repairs.
- Environment/safety cost: When a pump fails, it's likely that some of the product being pumped will need to be cleaned up. In some cases, the spill will simply be water. But, more likely, the product will be a chemical or liquid that cannot be washed to the sump or drain. Maintaining the pump and working on a preventive maintenance schedule are great ways to reduce costs and expensive downtime.
- Tip: The product being pumped can sometimes be very valuable, so reducing product loss or batch contamination is also a factor when it comes to implementing preventive maintenance programs.
- Repair parts cost: The actual replacement parts are usually a small portion of the overall repair costs. To save time and money, “complete” maintenance is recommended. This means replacing all critical components rather than just the part(s) that failed. It's a cost-effective strategy that will almost always save time and money by reducing the likelihood of future failures.
6. Cost of Energy/Air Consumption
Controlling the pump’s air supply can make the pump more efficient. An air filter/regulator can “dial in” the air pressure for specific applications. Also, using certain accessories, like a liquid level controller, prevents the pump from running dry when a tank or sump is empty—this saves air, which saves money.
A Pumping Partner Can Help Maximize Efficiency
There are dozens of AODD pump manufacturers. When it comes to choosing your pumping partner, make sure you select a manufacturer with deep pumping experience and a track record of maximizing efficiency.
Since 1983, Versamatic has offered world-class AODD pumps, superior customer service and dedicated engineering and after-sales support teams that provide trusted, hands-on assistance from order placement through each pump's life cycle.
Additionally, our parts and accessories improve pump performance and productivity, extend the mean time between failures and enhance safety. We make sure you have everything you need to increase uptime and extend your pump’s service life. If you have questions about any of our pumping solutions, feel free to contact us or find a local distributor.