Types of Industrial Pumps and Their Uses

There are many types of industrial pumps, and these can be categorized according to their size, how they are powered, or by their application. In general, there are two main categories, namely Dynamic or Kinetic pumps and Positive Displacement pumps. Get to know each type and what tasks they’re most suitable before choosing one for your application.

Dynamic or Kinetic Pumps

This type of pump includes all other types of pumps that use the pumped fluid’s velocity and the resulting momentum to create kinetic power to pump and move fluid through its system. Dynamic or kinetic pumps include:

Centrifugal Pumps

This is a popular type of dynamic/kinetic pump and is used in many industries like construction, mining, water treatment, and quarrying. In fact, the use and demand for centrifugal pumps are so widespread that it’s expected to dominate the world market in 5 years. Centrifugal pumps use an impeller to move and accelerate fluids through its system. These pumps can have a variety of features, and there are self-priming pumps as well as centrifugal pumps that need to be primed. The three basic subcategories of centrifugal pumps include:

  • Axial Flow Pumps—Provide high pressure and high flow that “lifts” fluids in a direction parallel to its impeller shaft.
  • Radial Flow Pumps—Supply high pressure and low flows to move fluid along the impeller blades at a 90° angle relative to its shaft.
  • Mixed Flow Pumps—These pumps give medium pressure and medium flow to push fluid away from the pump shaft, usually at angles over 90°.

In terms of application, centrifugal pumps are favored when there is a need to pump liquids with low viscosity and high flow rates. This type of pump is commonly used for a wide range of commercial, residential, industrial, and municipal applications.

Specialty Pumps

industrial machinery

Another way that dynamic or kinetic pumps can be classed is according to their unique characteristics, such as:

  • Cantilever Pumps—These are centrifugal pumps that have a long cantilever for use in sump pump applications; only the casing and impeller are submerged in the sump while all the pump’s joints, bearings, bushings, and suction check valves do not make contact with the liquid.
  • Turbine Pumps—This type of pump has some characteristics of positive displacement but is centrifugal in nature. Turbine pumps impart kinetic energy to the liquid, then move the liquid to other “stages” that increase the pressure of the liquid in small increments. This type of pump is unique in that it minimizes the risk of decavitation.
  • Jet Pumps—Jet pumps are dynamic pumps that have an ejector attachment at the discharge area, and it uses the Venturi effect to create and increase pumping pressure.

Positive Displacement Pumps

The other main category of industrial pumps is positive displacement pumps. These pumps work by trapping a fixed volume of liquid and forcing it through a discharge pipe. Some of these pumps use a gradually expanding cavity on the suction side and a gradually contracting cavity on the discharge side. Types of positive displacement pumps include:

Reciprocating Pumps—Instead of a rotating impeller to move fluids, this type of pump uses a piston or diaphragm to draw liquid and push it out. Check valves direct flow and regulate the liquid volume as it passes through the system. Reciprocating pumps can be further divided into:

  • Diaphragm pumps—Also called a membrane pump, these pumps use a combination of reciprocating action and either a ball or flapper valve to move viscous liquids.
  • Peristaltic pumps—These use rollers that squeeze flexible tubing to move liquids.
  • Bladder pumps—This pump uses a squeezable bladder in a rigid shell that provides a low flow for sampling applications.

Rotary Pumps—Rotary pumps move fluids via a rotating mechanical motion, usually supplied by a rotor. As the rotor spins, the liquid is sucked in then forced out of cavities created by the moving components.

  • Gear pumps—As the name suggests, these pumps use intermeshed gears that compress fluids and generate flow as they rotate.
  • Rotary Lobe pumps—Direct liquid flow with rotating lobes.
  • Screw pumps—These direct fluids or materials with one or more screws placed on an axis.

When choosing the right type of pump for your application, bear in mind that dynamic or kinetic pumps deal with high volumes of viscous and thin fluids. Positive displacement pumps are suited for lower volumes and can be used to apply more exact amounts of fluids or other material. Consult an expert supplier to know which pump is best for your needs.

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