Choosing the Right Pump

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Depending on what you need and the pressure you are dealing with, there may come a time when you will need to choose between a new piston pump or plunger pumps. While it may seem like these are basically the same thing, there are a few differences that can make a world of difference to your business.

The main difference between piston pumps and plunger pumps is the high-pressure seal. In a piston pump, the seal moves with the piston within a cylinder. Output pressure for these pump types range from 100 – 1,200 psi, making them perfect for lower pressure applications. A plunger pump has a high-pressure seal that does not move. The plunger slides through the seal, allowing for greater output pressure range, varying from 100 – 10,000 psi.

Other factors you will want to note when looking at new pumps is the duty cycle. This refers to the amount of time a pump is actually running. A continuous duty operation pump is on for a 8 – 24 hours a day, 5 – 7 days a week. These pumps will have more maintenance requirements than intermittent duty operation pumps that are only run once in a while.

Liquid properties can be another cause for more maintenance and care. If pumps are working with more abrasive liquids, such as dirty or reclaim water, the hard minerals within the water can cause parts to wear down more frequently. Steps can be taken to help prevent this, though. Water softeners may work in lighter cases, but for more extreme water, inlet filters and settling tanks may be necessary.

Other liquid properties that play a key factor in the life of a pump are temperature and pH number. A liquid’s temperature can cause the materials and seals to have to be changed or altered. If a pump is operating in cold waters below 1°C (34°F), standard pump elastomers may need to be used. Hot liquids can cause issues, as well. Pumps operating with liquids above 54°C (130°F) can cause damage to parts and wear seals prematurely. Above this temperature, special parts and seals will need to be used.

Most pump vendors, even online vendors like CatPumps.com, have specialists to help out. They can answer questions and explain in detail which pump your company needs.