What are Drum Pumps?

A Barrel Pump

A barrel pump is an equipment that is designed to lift a fluid chemical from a barrel, a drum or another container when transferring or dispensing fluid to another storage area/vessel. They are usually food grade pumps and can carry a variety of fluids.

Barrel pumps, also called drum pumps, are made in different models, sizes (tube size) and with varying accessories to meet many requirements in industrial use.

Additionally, barrel pumps can be operated manually by turning handles and levels to dispense the fluid chemicals from storage.

How a Barrel Pump Works

Many industrial plants heavily rely on barrels to store or transport chemicals and fluid substances. Typically, most barrels are too heavy (with capacities of 100 to 200 litres) to empty the fluid contents safely and swiftly.

A barrel pump enables the operator to empty the fluid from the storage container without unnecessarily lifting and movement of the barrel. A barrel pump is made of a motor, a dipping tube and a pump. The motor is located on the upper end of the immersion tube and outside the container.

For efficacy, the immersion tube needs to be as long as the depth of the container to fit through and lift all chemical content. The immersion tube is fully sealed up to the top level of the container. Immersion tubes are purposely made available in different lengths to serve containers of different depths and are made of different manufacturing materials to suit types of fluid chemicals.

You will find the pump at the lower end of the dipping tube. The pump is operated from the upper side of the immersion tube through a shaft extension that is held inside a sealed column.

During pumping, the fluid chemical passes between the sleeve and the tube as it is pushed to flow to the point of discharge at the other end of the immersion tube.

Barrels pumps that are designed to lift chemical fluids of low to medium viscosity level generally include extended centrifugal pumps with one, two or numerous impellers. It is the rotating action of the impeller that lifts the fluid via the tube and discharges it out through a port at the top of the dipping tube.

When pumping chemical fluids of medium viscosity level, positive displacement pumps are more preferred. PTFE screw-type lifting compressor pumps are the more common option for fluids of medium viscosity of up to 2000cP such as inks, solvents, paints and food products.

When pumping chemical fluids of high viscosity level of up to 100,000cP, progressive cavity design pumps are more appropriate. The progressive cavity design pumps are more appropriate when lifting oils, waxes, solvents, adhesives, lotions, honey, juice concentrates, hair and bath gels, corn syrup, glycerine, silicone, gear lubes, resins, polymers etc. Material options that comply with FDA are available.

The Main Features of a Barrel Pump

There are several parts of a barrel pump that are in contact with the chemical fluid as well as the outer tube material of the pump.

All parts of the pump that are in contact with the fluid’s dampness must be made resistant to corrosion and safe to use when pumping a flammable or combustible fluid chemical while also considering the pump’s operating temperatures.

The tubes for the pump and other parts are made from 316 stainless steel, PVDF, CPVC, polypropylene and polypropylene. Most dealers offer a range of replaceable motors and immersion pumps of varying depth to customise the barrel pumps for use in different environments and container sizes. Usually, a motor can be easily disconnected and attached to another pump tube.

Typically, the main parts of barrel pumps can be taken apart in the field and are also easily replaceable. Additionally, air-powered motors can be used to operate pumps where electrical power is limited.

The length of the tube is determined by the depth/size of the container. For instance, a normal barrel of 200-litre (45 gallons) capacity requires a tube measuring 100 cm while the 15 and 30-gallon barrels use tubes of smaller length.

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