ELPRO LEPENIK In this expert article, we present the importance of the total cost of ownership (TCO) of our temperature sensors, or an explanation of why ELPRO temperature sensors actually cost less than competing sensors.
TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) represents and highlights the difference between the purchase price and the long-term or direct costs associated with a product or service over a given lifetime or expected lifetime. These include installation costs, operating costs, use, maintenance, repair, quality, scrap or replacement costs.
Even if we are not familiar with the term TCO, we logically apply it to many areas of our lives. When you only need something once and for a short time, it will be a different purchase than when you need something every day, it is used a lot and you may need a professional to install it.
If you understand the principle of TCO over the lifetime of a product, you will soon realise that ELPRO temperature sensors actually COST LESS than similar products in the competition.
At ELPRO Lepenik, we are committed to maximising the optimum service life or service life. Hence design temperature sensors to have replaceable components, to be repairable and renewable .
By repairing or refurbishing, we are bringing the optimum useful life closer to the service life, or significantly extending it. At least 95% of our temperature sensors are like this. Only those that are filled with non-reversible masses are not renewable due to the specificity of their use (vapour-tight, vacuum). And even these can be reused for their special parts: fittings, connectors and other interchangeable parts, so even these are still largely viable to repair.
Temperature sensor lifetime is as long as the sensor is working to give the signal read on the instrument.
Optimal lifetime of the temperature sensor is the period of time during which the temperature sensor operates optimally and according to its specification (accuracy, class, creep). The article below explains which factors make the difference. For a start, it is good to know that the difference between these two periods can range from a few months to a few years, or even several decades. These are the many years when we waste energy, have poor quality and a lot of rejection, have problems with the product and its properties (strength, compactness) and often do not even realise why or what is the source of these problems. Very often it’s a worn-out temperature sensor – but it’s still working. And as long as it works, we won’t touch it, will we?
With proven low spoilage, high quality materials and modular design, 100% output control, reliable and repeatable processes and high levels of confidence, we achieve one of the lowest loss of value rates in the industry.
With cost-efficiency as an integral part of our offer at all levels, and with the help of our experts and excellent complementary services, we ensure optimal total product costs, competitive repair and refurbishment costs. As well as a sustainable impact in your process for your social responsibility and emission balance.
Without any special preparation, packaging or shipping, temperature sensors removed from the process are delivered today by our service contractors whenever and wherever they need to be (when they are on their way past us, so there are no extra costs, or we pick them up when we need to). Some people have special transport cases made for this purpose, others use dedicated suitcases, others use whatever they have at their disposal. We inspect them when we have unoccupied time available (within a month) and assess whether or not repair or renovation is viable. This is how we fill our free time in production. This makes the repair or overhaul job an hour cheaper than a regular job, which has a positive impact on the repair price. (note: the service described above is contractual; in the contract we agree on the logistics of receipt and delivery, the time of execution, the pricing policy, the method of validation, additional services of control, calibration, etc. – whatever the customer needs).
This can also be done within the regular 3-5 working days or under the urgent (24 h) deadline. If this is the case, just after the regular billing hour (note: no special contractual agreement is needed for this type of service, just an order before or after the cost estimate).
Where, and only where, the Contracting Authority requires a written estimate of costs, it shall pay this in a small lump sum. But that’s only if the repair/refurbishment/purchase is not done by us and we cover the cost of the inspection. In practice, there are hardly any cases of non-repair or non-rebuild, as temperature sensors are an indispensable sensor in the process for the operation of the control and measurement system and are extremely suitable for repair and rebuild.
It is important to remember that the measuring element, whether it is a resistance sensor or a thermocouple, is always replaced by a new one. The exception to retaining the measuring sensor/element shall only be made for calibration laboratories that monitor the annual creep of the sensor and only if the element is still in a suitable condition, which shall be tested separately and such repair is more costly.
We build partnerships with our users based on trust and tailored, integrated solutions. As a result, they reduce the overall cost of use in the work process.
It’s all part of our real commitment to quality, in products, partners, employees and the services needed to meet the needs of all our customers.
When customers need a reliable solution for measuring temperature in their processes, the company’s customer often makes a decision on the basis of the purchase price alone when purchasing temperature sensors. However, as the purchase price does not reflect the actual cost of the temperature sensor, it turns out to be a more expensive purchase later on. Of course, this is an aspect that the final buyer is not informed about and does not know how to take into account at the beginning of the purchasing process. That’s why we are here – temperature measurement experts with more than 30 years of professional and practical experience, knowledge and in-house development. Ask us.
“It seems logical, therefore, that before buying such an item, it would be a good idea to consult a professional, or . consider its TCO before deploying it in the workplace. Making decisions based solely on a lower initial cost (purchase price) happens more often than you might think.”
By being tempted by a lower price, buyers of temperature sensors are essentially receiving inadequate, unsustainable, unmaintainable, unreliable, unrepairable or inflexible sensors. This does not take into account the high costs involved in their actual use.
In general, RTDs and TCs have a fairly wide range of applications and standardised properties. However, both have features that allow us to make various adjustments. That’s why it doesn’t matter which sensor technique is used for a particular purpose. This is where the experience and testing/calibration capabilities of us, the temperature sensor manufacturers, are important.
TCO is made up of the indirect costs (goods, materials, labour, services) and the direct costs (energy, maintenance, repairs, downtime, scrap, depreciation, etc.) of a product. Direct costs are the ones you should absolutely look into before buying a temperature sensor. These are influenced by many factors (complaints, customer bad will, loss of new orders, process bottlenecks, accelerated ageing and/or deterioration of working equipment, etc.). These increase operating expenses, leading to a loss of orders and thus negatively affecting business and reputation.
The total cost of ownership of ELPRO temperature sensors over their lifetime is presented below. These consist of:
So what is the difference in total cost of ownership between ELPRO temperature sensors and other temperature sensors?
Example of TCO on sheathed temperature sensors (MIMS) – when it really matters who the manufacturer is – the material may or may not be exactly the same, and there is already a significant difference in quality, but to the eye it is all the same:
MIMS (Mineral Insulated Metal Sheathed) temperature sensors, or sheathed temperature sensors, or cable mineral insulated temperature sensors, are the most commonly used elements in measurement technology in general use. They offer great flexibility (fit for purpose) at an affordable price. The MIMS temperature sensors have the advantage of flexibility, large temperature ranges, large diameter ranges and an extremely wide range of applications. This is their positive side.
At the expense of good properties, we are faced with more difficult processing (manufacturers are specialising) and the necessary attention to make the right choice for the user. Process-intensive and correct manufacturing results in specified accuracy to standard and retention of properties over time. Poorer workmanship results in poorer accuracy, higher drift, and therefore a shorter optimum service life and a shorter lifetime. The latter two parameters are strongly dependent on the manufacturing process of the sheathing material itself, the purity and dryness of the MgO insulation. Above all from the storage and tempering process before and during the otherwise time-limited processing in the production of temperature sensors. The process has an increased number of control points and control measurements and is very time-dependent and does not allow for large batches. That a manufacturer can be bad is their downside – the user cannot see it by eye, only through the purchase price.
This is why there are also larger differences in market prices in this segment, as manufacturers can go from almost zero attention to maximum attention and this is reflected in the price. Because intermediate steps are time-consuming (sealing, tempering, appropriate storage and processing time window, small batch processing, increased control measurements during processing, special sealing materials, cleaning, etc.). Therefore, it is useful for the user to indicate at the time of enquiry whether they have a very simple application (e.g. only short-term measurements, application complexity, etc.) as well as if they have a very demanding application (measuring equipment, test measurements, low or high temperatures). This allowsthe manufacturer to adapt the production process to the optimum use.
So here’s what we’re telling you – AN ACCURATELY SELECTED AND SET TEMPERATURE TIPALO IS PAID FOR ALONE. But poorly chosen and inadequately made, it can be extremely costly. Of course, there are certain areas of operation that are extremely demanding (vacuum, steam sterilisation, cryo, etc.). We won’t get the life expectancy we want here for a long time, but doing anything is better than doing nothing. But we also influence user and producer awareness, development, science.
Communication between the user and the manufacturer is key to improvements. That’s also why we have a life cycle for our temperature sensors. We restore them, repair and recycle their relevant parts, or give them a new lease of life. To ensure that the useless phase comes as late as possible or never.
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They are always available for opinions and explanations:
Aleksandra Lepenik, expert in temperature measurements
Measurement expert Zoran Lepenik
Authors Katarina Žunko, Aleksandra Lepenik