Buyer’s guide: choosing the right AODD pump

by David Rozee, Managing Director, Tri-Ark Pumps

Since their introduction to the market over six decades ago, air operated double diaphragm pumps (AODD) have found uses in a number of applications across a wide range of industries ranging from the oil and gas sector to food processing and everything in between.

AODD pumps are at the forefront of pump technology and design. Key characteristics including their versatility, intrinsically safe design, flexibility/discharge rate and easy-to-use nature have ensured they retain their competitive edge over alternative pumping methods in 2015 and helped to cement their position as ‘the pump of choice’ for many.

Investing in a more established brand not only guarantees you a quality product, but it also ensures you have a support network, should you require spare parts or repairs in the future.

Reliable pump selection is essential in maximising a company’s profits. However, with so many different brands on the market today offering varying levels of customisation, it can be difficult to know which AODD pump is suited to a specific application.

David Rozee, Managing Director of Tri-Ark Pumps, shares his advice on the things to consider when choosing a diaphragm pump.

Reputable brands

Purchasing a diaphragm pump from a reputable brand is strongly advised for a number of reasons. Investing in a more established brand not only guarantees you a quality product, but it also ensures you have a support network, should you require spare parts or repairs in the future.

Cheaper alternatives may seem tempting from the onset but often contain an inferior air motor technology, which could cause freezing, stalling and poor energy efficiency. The reliability of these pumps is questionable and the cost associated with fixing them can be substantial. In some instances, the pump will need to be replaced altogether.

It is important to think of the impact this would have on your business in terms of increased downtime and additional labour costs, which can quickly erode bottom-line profits. This can prove catastrophic for any business.

Materials of construction

There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution in the pump industry. A high level of customisation means that AODD pumps can be used to pump fluids as diverse as water, harsh chemicals and even naphtha. This ensures that the buyer is not trapped into purchasing an unnecessarily expensive model of pump for their desired application. For example, while a stainless steel solution could be used to pump petrol and diesel effectively, an aluminium construction would work just as well and cost the user four times less.

There are many materials of construction available for the pump body, diaphragms and check valves, which are dependent on the type and composition of a fluid and its desired application. Acetal, polypropylene, modified PTFE, Kynar, aluminium and stainless steel are just some of the materials used in the manufacture of diaphragm pumps.

Sizing

Desired flow rate and potential pressure conditions will determine the size of the pump required for a particular application. AODD pump sizes range from ¼” to 4”, giving flow rates between 19lpm and 1,100lpm.

Desired flow rate and potential pressure conditions will determine the size of the pump required for a particular application.

Standard units for AODD pumps are 1:1 ratio pumps, where users can expect pressures reaching up to 8 bar and these account for 99 per cent of AODD pump sales; the other 1 per cent is where a high pressure option is used where a user has 8 bar of air and is looking for a higher output, 2:1 and 3:1 ratio pump units are available with the only sacrifice being a lower pump flow output.

Certification

Some industries, such as the pharmaceutical sectors, require diaphragm pumps to be certified and comply with international safety guidelines. The food and beverage sector is another industry where diaphragm pumps must follow strict regulations in order to be used in hygienic applications such as pumping beer, milk, strawberries and even peanut butter.

Other applications specify that diaphragm pumps are ATEX certified for use where the immediate environment is considered explosive. Since diaphragm pumps are driven by air, in as much as there is no risk of a short circuit or liquid penetrating through the wiring, there is an argument that static build up could be an issue. ATEX certification leaves users rest assured and this built-in safety advantage is an appealing USP for AODD pumps.

Investing in a more established brand not only guarantees you a quality product, but it also ensures you have a support network, should you require spare parts or repairs in the future.

Pump selection

Desired flow rate and potential pressure conditions will determine the size of the pump required for a particular application.

David Rozee is the Managing Director of Tri-Ark Pumps, visit www.tri-ark.com.

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