Everyone loves a bargain. So when a customer buys a new homogenizer, they often give a lot of attention to the purchase price. This can be misleading when the real cost of running and maintaining the homogenizer actually determines how much it will cost in the long run. Here is an example that illustrates the true cost of ownership.
Let’s take a typical scenario for the dairy industry of a line processing 10,000 litres of milk an hour through a homogenizer within a pasteurization module. Trials in Sweden under these conditions showed that the actual utility cost of homogenizing 1,000 litres of milk in a Tetra Pak Homogenizer 250 came to about 50 cents in US dollars (about 40 cents in Euros) at the time of writing.* This sum includes utility costs for energy and water.
We believe in benchmarking so our engineers ran the same trial with a popular competitive homogenizer on the market also designed for medium capacities in a dairy. The corresponding utility cost per 1,000 litres of milk came out at about 56 cents in US dollars. The difference of a few cents may not sound like much but it soon adds up. For example, if the homogenizer is working 16 hours a day for 250 days a year, the annual savings amount to USD 3,650* (about EUR 3,000*).
So how does the 250 model save customers this large amount of money? The explanation lies partially in the working rate of the pistons, which are the heart of any homogenizer as they force the product through a narrow gap. Due to a more efficient design, the pistons of the Tetra Pak Homogenizer 250 can create the same flow rate at a lower rpm than the competitor model tested. In the trial, the latter was pumping near the limit of its capacity and therefore creating more wear on the pistons and seals and the entire drive unit. This can be likened to a combustion engine in a car. The more you put your foot down on the accelerator, the harder the pistons work and the higher the wear within the cylinder and other moving parts.
The Tetra Pak Homogenizer 250 was working at 73% of maximum capacity during this trial giving utility savings of 16% in comparison to the competitive homogenizer which was working at a faster rate at 100% capacity to achieve the same performance.
With less strain on our homogenizers, parts wear out slower while noise levels and vibrations are lower. Tetra Pak homogenizers are fitted with unique turnable parts on the homogenizing head called forcer discs. When they become worn out, these critical parts can simply be turned around to use the other side giving double the lifetime. In the Tetra Pak Homogenizer 250 trial, total savings in spare parts were estimated to be 32% lower in comparison to the competitor’s homogenizer. The Tetra Pak Homogenizer 250 is equipped with the latest in smart control with a series of sensors to monitor when it is time to change or turn a part. In this way, customers never need to change a part too early or too late.
The trial showed that there was a corresponding saving in service costs of 32% because of longer service intervals. Uptime increases when less maintenance is needed.
There is an old saying in English: “Take care of the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves.” The Tetra Pak Homogenizer 250 does just this by cutting daily costs by small but significant amounts. With substantial annual savings in operating and maintenance costs, the fact that the Tetra Pak Homogenizer 250 costs a few percent more to purchase than the competitor’s model featured in the trial is not a deciding factor in the long run. It is the total cost of ownership that really matters and we estimate that this cost is at least 10% lower. That’s what makes the Tetra Pak Homogenizer 250 a true bargain.
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Scenario in the trial
*Based on official exchange rates on 25 April 2018.