How Do I Know My Slurry Pump Is Up to the Task?

hds corrosive applications

A slurry pump is a non-negotiable when having to pump slurry, which often comprises a mix of difficult-to-move solids and fluids. This is because of the abrasive nature of slurry—and the operational toll it often takes. For this reason, standard water pumps can’t stand up to the harsh wear and tear. Plus, in the grand scheme, slurry pumping costs carve out a significant portion of industrial operational pumping costs (even at a smaller overall pump distribution): some estimates being up to 80%. With everything that depends on quality slurry pumps, how do you know that a pump can handle the pressure?

How the Slurry Pump Is Made Matters

It stands to reason that pump make matters—and that holds true, if not more so, for slurry pumps. 

The materials slurry pumps move, coupled by the space they occupy (sump, discharge point, pipeline, etc.), increases the chance for higher wear rates. Typically, this results in larger, thicker, and heavier pumps (when compared to water pumps) in order to handle the materials present. Some may also incorporate heavy-duty internal liners and/or weightier components for the same (or similar) reason. 

But slurry pumping is anything but a one-size-fits-all model. The diverse application and pump-performance requirements among industries and sites necessitate an equally diverse arsenal of pump size, types, and mounts. This is all the more reason why custom submersible and slurry pumps are a must—not a maybe. 

Similarly, overall quality is of the utmost importance. If quality is sacrificed for cost-efficiency or another consideration, the over-time effects can be more than felt: They can be paralyzing. Maintenance may need to be called in year-round (increasing costs) or there may even be an all-out pump breakdown (decreasing production). 

Other Considerations

Slurry pumps don’t exist in a vacuum. What this means is this: Things external to (and involved with) the slurry pump need to also be regularly assessed. For instance, pump systems rely heavily on adequate motor power availability. With so many mills functioning on variable speed drives, taking an involved and real-time look at pump pressure and flow in regards to time has to happen. This information helps work out considerations like adequate and optimal pump size for the mill, plant, or site. 

Additionally, pipe sizing, floor sump space, gland seal pressure, and gearbox cooling are other considerations to have in order to inform your decision-making—and ensure pump systems are operating optimally. The correct pipe sizing reduces friction and wear. Well-sized floor sumps are able to deal with site-specific volume. A proper gland seal size ensures a constant flow of gland water throughout operational conditions. The gearbox needs to be properly calibrated to avoid overheating, especially at increased altitudes and temperatures. 

Have Your Pump Perform

Again, as for the pump itself, durability is a stand-out feature. For pumping slurry, you want a well-rounded pump—one that continually performs, offers resistance to wear, provides needed power, is easy-to-maintain, and is applicable to the pumped material. Specific pumping conditions and requirements will often inform what pump will work where. For instance, pumps may differ depending on pump rate (steadfast vs. intermittent), as well as the amount of heavy mechanical wear present in conditions. 
Vulcan Pumps offers a completely U.S.-made pump and pump components that differ in metallurgies based on conditions at hand (including 28% chrome iron, ASTMA532 for abrasive). Reach out to learn more about what we can do for pump systems—from high-quality product to ongoing support.