What Makes or Breaks a Slurry Pump

pump repair and upgrade

With how crucial slurry pumps are for certain industries, the stakes for a good one are great. Applications that aren’t well-served by a quality slurry pump experience disruption, breakdown, and increased maintenance and/or replacement costs. This being said, there are a handful of key aspects that inform a slurry pump’s performance—in layman’s terms what “makes or breaks it.” Here’s a helpful primer on these aspects, as well as what makes them so important to the success of a slurry pump. 

#1: Design

Intuitively, design is among the most critical aspects of a slurry pump. It has to be in order for the slurry not to wear down or downright destroy the impeller and other key components. 

Slurry is often highly abrasive and/or corrosive and, for this reason, slurry pump design has to be top-notch. Slurry also has a high possibility for the presence of unexpected solids, which has a chance to clog up or bottleneck pumps—potentially affecting the volume and causing loss of suction. The right slurry pump design is critical to keeping volute integrity (over time) in the most abrasive settings. 

#2: Construction

Design’s close counterpart, construction, is also top of list for slurry pumps. Abrasive-resistant metallurgies must be utilized if applications are heavily harsh and/or caustic. 

Typically, a high chrome is the preferred construction material for highly abrasive settings. In these cases, Vulcan Pumps builds our submersible slurry pumps with metallurgy 28% chrome iron, ASTMA532. 

Additionally, we manufacture duplex stainless steel construction pumps for slurry that exhibits both an abrasive nature and low pH. Good examples of where this construction is necessary are places with a high presence of chemical or chloride concerns. 

#3: Seal

Pump seal loss of function can have a devastating effect; oftentimes, motor manufacturers offer a generic seal, which can prove ill-suited for specific applications. Per application needs, the ideal seal is absolutely necessary. Often seals need to incorporate hard set, tungsten or silicon carbide faces in order to avoid cracking. 

At Vulcan Pumps, we partner with U.S.-based John Crane Co. for the most robust, application-made seals and seal designs. This ensures top quality from the get-go. 

#4: Size & Power

Slurry pump power and size is also a critical element that can inform the success of the pump for the application. With the abrasiveness of slurries, a pump must be of adequate size to operate slow enough to extend pump life. Ideally, a pump will be set to run between 900 and 1200 RPM; more than this can wear out the pump at its wear points through abrasive blasting. 

#5: Method of Use

The deployment or use method for the pump is the final key aspect to ensuring slurry pump success. Submersible pumps, the kind Vulcan Pumps specializes in, are pumps completely submerged in a liquid. This avoids the requirement for priming, as the pump is immersed in the liquid being pumped. Other pumping setups may involve priming (or be self-primed) or have additional needs prior to pumping. Knowing which pumping method the intended application calls for helps the pump be most effective and last longer. 

Find Your Ideal Submersible Slurry Pump

Vulcan Pumps offers top-of-the-line, U.S.-made submersible slurry pumps—with parts inventoried locally in the Southeast. Contact us to see how our pumps can best meet your application needs.