shutterstock_181385312In the era of globalisation, pump users are presented with numerous good and bad quality imports as well as locally manufactured products. Choosing an Australian manufactured pump has a number of practical benefits that buyers should consider when purchasing a pump.

Quality of material

Selecting an appropriate manufacturing material is an important consideration when choosing a pump. If low-quality or incorrect materials are used for an application it can increase long-term costs due to premature failure or unexpected servicing and replacement.

According to Anton Merry, Managing Director at Sterling Pumps, when you purchase a pump from an overseas manufacturer, users are often receiving a product of an unknown quality or material source.

“While you can verify the quality of some metals, others such as alloys cannot be verified by sight or touch. For example, you cannot tell the difference between 304 and 316L stainless steel just by looking, smelling or touching it,” Mr Merry said.

“Without proper identification, overseas pump manufactures can tell you that the pump is made with one quality material and give you another, and you won’t know until it’s too late. This may be done on purpose or it can be a mistake due to poor material management systems.

“The material quality plays an important role in the service life of a pump component as some materials are not as durable in certain applications. When the wrong material is used for the wrong application the longevity of pump components is compromised, leading to costly maintenance and replacement, and failure.”

Selecting an Australian manufactured pump is one way to ensure pump users are getting what they pay for.

“Good manufactures will undertake positive material identification (PMI) testing on all the manufacturing materials that arrive at their facilities. Using an X-ray Fluorescence machine we are able to identify the elemental composition of the metal to verify its type and quality,” Mr Merry said.

“We then record these results and provide our customers with the manufacturer’s Material Certificate so our customers know that what they are getting is what they paid for.”

Quality of product

Buying an Australian-made pump has further quality advantages as continuous testing is performed throughout the manufacturing process to ensure the customer is receiving a high-quality product.

“Completing a final test on a pump before it is sent out plays a small but important role in ensuring a quality product is shipped to the customer,” Mr Merry said.

“Australian pump manufacturers recognise that testing is a continuous process from the manufacturing process through to the final delivery. Testing plays a major role in the manufacturing chain as successfully tested pumps will run reliably for a long time but non-tested pumps may impose costs and delays to the customer.

“During the course of the manufacturing process we complete dimensional checks; assembly and clearance checks such as correct and easy fitting, free rotation, correct clearances and final assembled dimensions; and hydrostatic tests for pressure-containing components to ensure a minimum test pressure is 1.5 times of Maximum Allowable Working Pressure.

“We then perform the final testing. At Sterling we have one of the biggest pump testing capacities in Australia with a total capacity of 100,000 litres and multiple size pipe loops with the largest loop being 24” diameter. We also have a diesel power generator to test motors up to 1000kW. We are also able to undertake pump performance testing, mechanical running tests, and logic and functional tests when required.

“By completing these tests and fully documenting the results, customers can be sure that they are receiving a high-quality pump that will have reliable performance throughout its life, as long as they regularly schedule maintenance.”

Technical support and advice

Australian-made pumps also have the added benefit of having excellent customer and technical support on-hand. Customers are able to call the manufacturer to get support or advice, from the design and specification stage, through to the lifecycle of the product.

“As an Australian pump manufacturer, Sterling is able to troubleshoot, identify and solve problems by working closely with clients to develop innovative and long-term solutions for their pump applications. Through this we are able to provide tailored customer support, products and services,” Mr Merry said.

“This kind of support and advice is unavailable when purchasing or using a pump that is manufactured overseas, as this kind of on-the-ground support cannot be given unless the manufacturer is able to meet the customer. Furthermore, time differences can delay support and advice up to 24 hours.

Meeting standards

Australia prides itself on having a high level of standards which are based on sound industrial, scientific and consumer experience goals, and are regularly reviewed to ensure they keep pace with new technologies.

Australian pump manufacturers meet a variety of standards, including national, international and regional standards. This gives customers the confidence that the pump they are purchasing is safe, reliable, and will do the job it is intended for.

There are a number of standards pump users should be aware of when deciding to purchase a pump, including:

  • NCSI ISO 9001 Quality Management Certificate 2013

This is the world’s most recognised business management standard, and has been adopted across all industry types.

  • NFPA 20 – Standard for the Installation of Stationary Pumps for Fire Protection

This standard protects life and property by providing requirements for the selection and installation of pumps to ensure that systems will work as intended to deliver adequate and reliable water supplies in a fire emergency. It addresses the full range of issues and applies to all types of pump including those for high-rise buildings, centrifugal, vertical shaft turbine-type, and positive displacement.

  • API 610 (11th Ed.) – Pump Reliability Standard

This standards ensures that reliability and safety standards are upheld with a focus on the minimum requirements for centrifugal pumps in the chemical, petroleum and gas industries regarding safety, maintainability and reliability. It covers all centrifugal pump packages.

An Australian solution

“Australian manufactured pumps are just as high-quality or even better than pumps manufactured overseas, which is often reflected in the price tag. However, there are numerous benefits for end users that are not available when they purchase a pump from an overseas manufacturer. Buying Australian made gives them confidence that they are getting what they paid for,” Mr Merry said.

“It also gives them the knowledge that they are supporting Australian manufacturing jobs, allowing the sector to grow and to continue providing customers the option to choose high-quality products backed by local knowledge and support, than a product that is manufactured overseas.”