equipment costs online

The project costs estimation (PCE) is a well-known procedure. It is described in numerous web publications and textbooks.

Undoubtedly, the basis for meaningful PCE is the equipment purchase costs database. In times of fast-changing technologies, its quality and relevance, and an ability to catch price-technology relationships are a primary condition for any advances and improvements in PCE.

Such a database containing prices from different manufacturers is equally important for the designer and the manufacturer. The first will have a solid basis for the innovative technology commercialization, the scale-up costs estimation, and the business extension, while the latter - an entry-level price target not to miss.

You might think that manufacturers closely watch competitors? Figure below is a classic example of how far the manufacturer's ignorance may reach. It show the prices scatter for ordinary pumps of a grass-root seawater intake station (2010). The scatter hits 400%!

intake pump cost

My experience tells that manufacturers offering absurdly high prices first time lose chances to be pre-qualified ever. Bad first impression takes its toll for a long time. Competitive cost analysis as part of the bid/no-bid one may prevent such cases.

The costs database is equally critical for the project owners; prices transparency boosts the trust to the project contractors. The project owner may as well use this database for decisions having long reaching effects like the plant extension or refurbishment.

The database is of particular interest to investment companies wanting to buy existing plants or invest in new projects.

Finally, it is a powerful source of learning cost engineering as the major cost formers are already there.

For chemical engineering, such on-line databases are maintained by only 2 (!) sites – Matches and McGraw-Hill. Matches provides conceptual (order-of-magnitude) process equipment cost estimates for over 275 types of equipment. They may be used at the early stage of the project.

For water treatment and desalination industry such database may help many manufacturers having vast experience in small-scale desalination to get out of design-limiting containers and skids and extend their projects to bigger ones.

Not long ago I had a talk with the well-known manufacturer of containerized desalination units. On my question whether they would participate in a 150 MLD project, he answered that the client did not accept their solution including over 20 autonomous containers.

Recently added to its portfolio a new application – PRIGE. It records, retrieves and compares the prices for equipment pieces and systems. Currently its database contains over 600 entries. To promote free exchange of prices and make the user feel at ease, all records are anonymous; the user does not see the record's owner name or the manufacturer's one.

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