Different pump types offer distinct functionality and sometimes choosing the correct pump or pump system can make all the difference in enhancing efficiency.
When the world’s leading chemical distribution company receives their product in rail cars, they need to transfer the hydrochloric acid, sodium hypochlorite, potassium hydroxide, and other chemicals into vertical storage tanks. Using an air-operated double-diaphragm pump, they accomplished their task, but it would take up to two hours to unload and pulled a massive amount of power from the air system in the plant.
“This distributor was pumping between 5,000 to 10,000 gallons of fluid and their process was costly to operate and maintain,” said Joel Klippel, Midwest Regional Manager for Finish Thompson, Inc. “We could greatly enhance efficiency by switching pumps and using an electrical centrifugal pump instead.”
Finish Thompson developed a self-priming pump specifically for this application. “With the centrifugal pump, the fluid transfers at a higher flow rate and uses less power. It saves time by handling the same volume within about 45 minutes. It also drains less power from plant operations. Because it is a self-priming pump and not reciprocating, it requires less maintenance,” said Klippel.
The solution also worked for one of the largest providers of chemicals and related services in the US. With this success, Klippel and his team looked for other opportunities to enhance customers’ efficiency. They found the electrical centrifugal pump can also be used for double-containment systems moving fluid from filling trucks over containment walls. The self-priming pump pulls chemicals out of the top of storage containers, eliminating potential leak points. Further, the pump pulls even the bottom three to four feet of fluids, which was often left in the bottom of the basins with previous transfer methods.
Now, one of the largest ethanol plant networks in the Midwest, producing more than 1.6 billion gallons of ethanol annually, uses this enhanced pumping process to transfer sulfuric acid.
Taking off a coat
An international aerospace company manufactures cockpit transparencies or windshields used in many types of aircraft. Technicians apply special coatings to the transparency material for cockpit and cabin windows.
When searching for tubing to use in applying organic coatings to plastic substrates, the project’s team leader needed a flexible option that offered the appropriate level of chemical resistance. Yet, he also needed to remove waste coating cleanly, which required a system capable of responding to an increasing volume of waste building on manufacturing parts.
The team leader tested a peristaltic pump, the Masterflex I/P® Precision Brushless Drive, for heavy-duty performance for demanding process applications. Its 1/3-hp brushless motor handles challenging tasks with minimal maintenance and its nonchip epoxy-coated, IP55-rated steel and aluminum enclosure protects against moisture, chemicals, and dust. Along with the pump, he used Masterflex I/P® Easy-Load® Pump Heads, which accept multiple tubing sizes for maximum flexibility and allow quick, simple tubing changes in seconds. One of the most critical components of the system—the tubing—selected was the Masterflex Precision Tygon® LFL Tubing, chosen for its compatibility with the coatings.
With a successful test run, this new pumping system removed a challenging obstacle from the manufacturer’s process and enhanced their production.
Passing the test
With clients including the European Commission and UK government agencies, The Water Research centre (WRc) provides consultancy services for the water, waste, and environmental sectors.
A growing area of interest for WRc’s clients is the removal of pesticides and other micropollutants potentially harmful to the environment from water being treated. This includes conducting continuous flow tests with activated carbon (Rapid Column Tests). Partially treated water from specific sites is “spiked” with a range of pesticides or other regulated chemicals or nuisance micro-contaminants (such as Geosmin).
In WRc’s Rapid Column Tests, the flow of the spiked water is critical. The flow rate of the water is usually low (5 to 10 mL/min), needs to be pulseless, and relatively insensitive to changes in back pressure, which occur as the differential pressure increases across the carbon in the columns.
Gear pumps, specifically digital drive gear pumps, proved to be the best pumping technology for the application, as they deliver smooth, pulseless, accurate, and repeatable flow. They can be run for long periods between maintenance, making them suitable for continuous-duty applications.
WRc’s test rig allows the spiked water to be pumped at a fixed rate through a column containing Granular Activated Carbon (GAC), until the contaminant breaks through in the treated water. Samples of the treated water are then collected and analyzed for the contaminants of interest.
The test results assist water companies and consultants in the design of new GAC treatment facilities and provide a basis for optimized operation of existing facilities. The test rig simulates GAC performance spanning one to two years at full scale by operating it in a period of two to three weeks at a small scale. Due to an increasing demand for these tests, WRc recently expanded the original test facility, adding four more rigs.
Robert Camm, WRc’s Laboratory Manager, said, “When we started planning to expand our test rig, we chose Cole-Parmer’s gear pump systems as previous Cole-Parmer gear pump systems have provided excellent performance and reliability.”