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Do You Have The Right Pump For Your Application?

Posted by Darrell Milton on 6 December 2015

Do You Have The Right Pump For Your Application?

We often get called to sites to have a look at pumps that are experiencing on-going problems. Sometimes the problem is with a Becker pump hence the reason why we are the first port of call. However, more often than not, the pump is from another manufacturer, hence why we get called in to see if we can provide a better pump to replace it.

The most common problem we see is that the type of pump being used might not be the best pump or even a suitable pump for that application.

But if the pump is doing the job required, isn't that the most obvious way to determine whether you have the correct pump or not?

Not always. A common complaint we hear is that the pump WAS doing the job required but then it started having on-going issues and now it either won't do the job, or the problems that the pump is experiencing is having a negative effect within the whole factory that it is installed in.

One of the most common complaints is that the pump is smoking badly, producing oil-mist within the air, or is leaking oil. Of course these issues are only going to affect oil-lubricated pumps, and it's that type of pump that might be the issue

Oil-lubricated pumps are great when the application calls for a working pressure close to the pump's ultimate pressure, but when the application only requires a low vacuum level, also called rough vacuum or coarse vacuum, oil-lubricated pumps may not be the best pump for that application.

Often times we will see an oil-lubricated pump installed in an application that requires a working pressure between -60kPa and -80kPa and at these levels, oil-lubricated pumps will produce smoke or excessive amounts of oil-mist within the air, or the pump might leak oil.

The other disadvantage of using an oil-lubricated pump at a pressure that is well below its ultimate pressure is that the pump will be less efficient as far as power consumption is concerned. At the vacuum levels between -80kPA and the ultimate vacuum of that pump, the efficiency increased and less power is used.

An example of this is the Becker U 4.165 Oil-Lubricated vacuum pump which is fitted with a 4.0kW motor. On start-up and when the pressure is equal to atmospheric pressure, the pump requires 3.0kW of power.

Between -40kPA and -80kPA, the pump requires slightly greater power to produce the given flow. It's after this point that the efficiency increases and at -90kPa the motor is using just over 2.5kW and by the time it is at ultimate vacuum, -99.95kPA to motor only uses a little over 2.0kW to achieve this pressure.

How are the wrong pumps ending up in these applications that require a different working pressure that the one that pump is best suited to?

There are a couple of answers to this question...

Frequently we attend sites where the pump in question has been put into an application it is not well suited for merely because when the original pump on that machine or system died, this pump was laying around not being used.

  • A cheap pump was sourced from an online seller without any consultation as to the application.
  • A second hand pump was bought online or from a second hand machinery dealer, again without any consultation or knowledge of the application.
  • The distributor of new or second hand machinery has matched an inferior pump or one that is not best suited to match the application.
Although that pump was capable of doing the job in the short term, it might not be the best pump in the long term to keep on that machine or system.

Of course you can apply the issues already discussed in regards to the oil-lubricated type of pumps, but it's not just oil-lubricated pumps that can be a problem.

So how do I choose the right pump?

Under sizing a pump generally means that you won't be able to use that pump in the application you have it installed in, but it's not always the case. Sometimes the pump can achieve the level that you require but as the required flow rate/pressure is in the upper level of the capability of the pump, and if you're running a plant that runs non-stop, the next size up may have been the better pump to install to reduce stress on the working parts of the pump.

The type of vacuum pump that you chose to do a job can depend on many variables. If reducing maintenance and running costs are something that you want to consider, this can greatly affect the choice of pump for your application.

As an example, if your working pressure is -40kPa and you need a flow of 50m3/h at that pressure, we have seven models of pumps that will accommodate without being oversized.

While it is easy just to state that the pump which is the best one for you will depend on your application, when two or more styles of pumps are suitable then other factors can come into play such as the ongoing running costs, the ongoing maintenance costs, the environmental impact of the pump, noise levels or other associated costs that may be a direct result of the pump you are using; cooling fans, water supply, etc.

At Becker Pumps Australia we are trained to establish which pump will suit all the criteria that you are looking for to suit your application, and we can advise you on ways to reduce your running costs, reduce your maintenance costs, reduce the environmental impact, and eliminate other associated costs, delivering the results you need while saving you time, energy and money.

Author: Darrell Milton
About: With over six and a half year's experience with Becker pumps, Darrell heads up the Sydney office looking after New South Wales and the ACT.
Connect via: LinkedIn
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