Ask an expert: why progressive cavity pumps are vital for the wastewater and sludge treatment industry

The pump industry relies on expertise from a large and varied range of specialists, from experts in particular pump types to those with an intimate understanding of pump reliability; and from researchers who delve into the particulars of pump curves to experts in pump efficiency. To draw upon the wealth of expert knowledge the Australian pump industry has to offer, Pump Industry has established a panel of experts to answer all your pumping questions.

This edition of Ask an expert will look at why progressive cavity pumps are vital for the wastewater and sludge treatment industry. 

Sludge cake pump with accessible wearing parts.

Q: Should correct equipment selection really be an important issue for these industries?

A: While process optimisation, economies of scale and deregulation all play key parts in increasing energy generation in the water industry, it is vital not to overlook the importance of correct equipment selection.

Pumps, in particular, are essential to the water sector’s continued success and selecting the right pump for the job will give the optimum return on investment.

Minimising the energy use of equipment is extremely desirable. Progressive cavity (PC) pumps compare well in this respect to other pump technologies, because of their ability to maintain flow – even with varying pressures and variable sludge viscosities.

This specifically comes into play when feeding heat exchangers to ensure the most efficient heat transfer of the sludge.

When selecting the right equipment for your application, tailor-made packages can improve reliability, performance and cost efficiency. PC pumps can be integrated with complementary equipment, such as special live bottom silos, boundary layer injection systems, back-mixing technology and intelligent control systems.

Q: What is distinct about progressive cavity (PC) pumps for sludge cake?

A: Sewage treatment processes remove the water from raw sewage to thicken the sludge before dewatering to a dry solids content (ds%) of between 18–35 per cent.

PC pumps are adept at transferring this ds% sludge with lower energy demands than other pump types. This reduces the system’s pressure rating, enabling de-rating of pipework and valves.

Sludge cake pumps are large so it is vital that they are not only efficient in use, but also have accessible wearing parts for ease of maintenance when required. PC sludge pumps can competently provide both.

There are numerous case study examples where PC pumps for sludge cake shine over competitors.

In one instance, after two years the pumps required no maintenance interventions, delivering a hat trick of cost reductions: lower sludge disposal costs, lower energy use and reduced maintenance costs.

Furthermore, the pumps offered minimal pulsation pumping, which generated lower pressure in the pipework.

In another instance, PC pumps were specifically chosen since they can handle low to high viscosity products, sludge with 45 per cent ds and are not hindered by solid particles. They also offered good discharge pressure capabilities that enabled long distance pumping.

Peter Vila, Managing Director of SEEPEX Australia, is a progressive cavity pump expert. He has been involved with pumps for over 35 years. Peter spent the first five years repairing pumps and the following 30 years in technical sales, 15 of which have been with SEEPEX progressive cavity pumps.

For more information on progressive cavity pumps, please contact SEEPEX Australia on (02) 4355 4500 or at info.au@seepex.com.

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