Ever Wonder Why Automation Companies Don’t Publish Pricing?

Ever Wonder Why Automation Companies Don’t Publish Pricing?

Posted on November 03, 2016 by Bobby Mason

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“How much does your drive cost?”  It’s the one question we hear all of the time, on the phone, in the field, during customer presentations and even at trade shows. 


It’s a logical question, of course. With Google, we can ask any question and we’ve come to expect immediate answers. I’m sure you’ve done product searches where the site you visited gave you product information, specifications, features and maybe even video’s explaining all the benefits of their products, but pricing information was strangely absent. It’s a frustration we’ve all felt.

I can’t speak for other companies, but there is a simple reason why we don’t publish pricing on our drives. When you ask “what does a drive cost?” the answer is always “it depends.”

There are a number of variables that go into building the right drive for the right application. One way that we add value to your operation is by configuring a drive specifically for your application, so that you pay the best price for the exact technology you need.

We offer drive solutions for all of the different artificial lift pumping methods, compressors, injection pumps, etc.  But let’s assume that we are pricing an IronHorse drive for a rod pump application.  Knowing your application tells us the series of drive and the correct software to use, but still leaves many critical questions unanswered.  Some of the most important questions we ask to properly configure your drive include:

  1. What is the horse power of the motor that we are controlling?
    • Typically rod pump motors range from 2HP – 200HP (equaling 22 possible size choices)
  1. What is the incoming voltage?
    • 240VAC
    • 480VAC
    • 600VAC
    • Other: If the drive is shipping International there are other voltage choices that have to be identified.
  1. What is the incoming feed or number of phases feeding the site?
    • Single Phase
    • Three Phase
  1. Will the application require pump off control?
    • SPOC (Sensorless Pump Off Control) software
    • 3rd Party Pump Off Control
    • Will the drive be communicating via
      • Analog
      • Digital
      • Communication protocol like ModBus, etc. 
  1. What would be the lowest ambient temperature of operation for the drive?
    • Above 32 degrees F
    • -10 to 32 degrees F
    • Below -10
  1. Will the drive be installed in applications 3,300 feet (1000 meters) above sea level? (AC motors and drives are rated to 3300 feet in altitude. Both de-rate at about 3% for every thousand feet above that.)
    • Yes
      • If yes, what will the operating altitude be in feet or meters?
    • No
  1. Will the drive require SCADA communications capabilities?
    • Well Optix modem, antennas, etc.
    • 3rd party SCADA interface protocol 
  1. Is there a requirement for low harmonic drive solutions?
    • Six pulse with input line reactor standard
    • Passive harmonic filter package drive
    • Active Front End (AFE) package drive
  1. Are there any other options your application requires?
    • Oversized control power transformer
    • Heat trace GFI breakers
    • Outdoor Rated Duplex GFI receptacle
    • Tri-color High Intensity operation status light
    • Additional relays, terminal blocks, etc.

Other Special controls


To get the most of your pump, you need a drive that is properly sized and equipped with the right features for the job. That’s why these questions are critical. The possible combinations for a single drive configuration are quite involved; there are more than 45 possibilities just from these questions.  Additionally, some options can change the enclosure size, wire, circuit breakers, surge protection and other control items. 

The IronHorse price range can vary from $2,500 to $25,000 depending on the answers to the application questions. Which makes it challenging to publishing a price sheet that is honest, fair and truly configured for the requirements of the application.  But as you can see with a few basic questions, we can narrow down your application quickly. 

Helping you identify your options, making you aware of the factors that can ensure a successful installation is, from our vantage point, how we add value to your business. 

Here’s the thing, it typically only takes about a five minute conversation to get the information we need to accurately price your drive. That’s infinitely more convenient than publishing a massive price list with literally thousands of part numbers and prices.

We engineer, build and price thousands of drives a year. And every one is built to meet a specific requirement, a specific application. The expertise that comes with that kind of experience is a great advantage to your business.

So next time you want to get a price on a drive system from SPOC Automation, we hope that you will appreciate our desire to help you find the exact solution to your need.

We welcome your feedback on this topic or if you would like to discuss drive applications please feel free to send us an email at sales@spocautomation.com or give us a call at 844.SPOC.VFD

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Topics: SPOC, Automation, Oil and Gas Industry, Pricing


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