How Thick Can It Be and The Difference Between ‘Could’ And ‘Should’
There is an old rule of thumb with the Pitbull industrial sump pump that says if you kick a bucket of your sludge over and it spreads out, the Pitbull can pump it. Well … that is true, but it needs a closer look to answer some questions and take us from “could” to “should” to deliver the customer a successful solution.
One of the first issues when dealing with thick materials is flow rate. Thick means viscous, and getting a high enough fill rate coming into the Pitbull industrial pump may not be possible. Piping size also comes in to play, as friction losses are high for thick materials and we are very limited in pressure to fill the pump with.
Even with flow inducement (vacuum assisted filling) and a perfect vacuum (which we don’t have), there is only a potential 14.7 psi to push a thick fluid into the pump. In the real world, we could easily be working with half of that force. Some viscous materials need pressures in the hundreds of psi to move through a pipe at the desired flow rate.
One way to help this intake/fill issue is to use large piping to drop that friction loss. The Pitbull industrial sump pump has such big passages that losses through the pump are usually not the problem. Once the Pitbull is filled, it can be pressurized up to its maximum if needed (100 psi typical). This generally will move thick muds and viscous fluids pretty well through a generously sized discharge pipe.
We do get surprised with just how thick of materials some of our customers have used Pitbull industrial pumps for. It’s common that we find out afterwards the customer is happily pumping some fluid we recommended against.
So what have we learned? Use large piping and minimize all possible losses on the intake side. Getting the fluid into the pump is the hardest part.
Second, be shy about flow rate promises. It is very hard to accurately predict flow with our pump and viscous fluids. We may do a great job on reliably pumping the material, but the flow is subject to a lot of variables that the pump has no control over (viscosity, temperature, pipe size and internal condition to name some). Usually it is safe to go after waste stream applications versus process ones where dialed-in flow rates are critical.
- Posted by Madelyn Vetter
- On November 16, 2017