Disk Pumps: An Alternative to Traditional Centrifugal and Positive Displacement Pumps

What can ruin a week faster than having to replace a pump yet again? For too many production managers and engineers who work with difficult to pump applications, this is their regular reality. Although it may seem challenging to solve persistent issues with centrifugal pumps, often solutions are within reach.

One common challenging application is pumping viscous material. Viscosity defines a fluid property that is resistant to shear when energy is applied. Essentially, highly viscous materials are thick and difficult to pump. As viscosity increases, it becomes more probable that a pump specifically designed for handling high-viscosity materials will be necessary.

Here at Discflo, our disc pumps are uniquely designed to pump highly viscous materials with ease, but you don’t have to take our word for it. Instead, let’s take a look at some case studies.

The Right Pump Can Save You Money

Tyson Foods Beef Processing Plant was facing a unique challenge. They needed to move a hot tallow mixture from the cone-shaped bottom of a stainless steel tank to the top of a 25’ tall tank. The tallow was not only hot but also highly viscous, while the suction side would run as low as 48” and would occasionally empty completely. This would cause a momentary dry run vapor lock condition. Moreover, the tallow was abrasive.

The dry run condition and the abrasiveness of the tallow led to severe damage on the pumps. Ultimately, they were replacing the pumps every month.

We replaced their older pumps with the Model 403-12-2HHD slurry pump. To better suit their needs, we added double-flush mechanical seals designed to accommodate the dry run times.

It only took 90 days to prove the effectiveness of this set-up.

Tyson quickly replaced five other pumps in various facilities with our design because of the evident merits. Previously, they were spending around $45,000 every 6 months on maintenance. After the installation of the pumps, the only cost was a monthly inspection, which resulted in no replacements needed!

By using a pump designed for the material they were moving, combined with our pumping expertise and innovative problem solving, Tyson saved around $91,000 a year. The corresponding decrease in maintenance resulted in less downtime and alleviated demands on personnel.

The Right Pump Can Effectively Remove Sludge

Even when it comes to some of the most difficult material to move, Discflo’s pumps are designed to make it happen. For example, Discflo has been working with the City of Cocoa in Florida since 1993 to help them pump sludge that is highly abrasive with a solids content of up to 80%.

Our pumps have withstood the test of time in the city. During the initial trial, one of our disc pumps was taken apart after almost a year of use pumping sludge with 30-60% solids content and found almost no signs of wear and tear on pump components. For years afterwards, the only maintenance needed was a packing replacement. The city superintendent even advocates for the money saved over the years.

Now, Discflo pumps are in operation throughout the City of Cocoa for a number of lime sludge and lime slurry applications. Discflo pumps provide a comprehensive pumping solution for highly viscous materials, with long service lives ranging upwards of 30 years without a replacement.

The Right Pump Can Handle Chemical Substances Safely

Not only do Discflo pumps provide pumping solutions for viscous materials, they also are a solution for chemical substances. For instance, we can look at our work with Clorox. They installed Discflo pumps to move a proprietary cleaning fluid, which is a chemical slurry that contains 5% solids and a pH of 13. While not the most viscous material our disc pumps can move, with a viscosity ranging from 1000 to 1500 cP, the solids combined with the pH posed a unique challenge to traditional pumps.

The pump users were extremely satisfied with not only how well the pump held up against the challenge, but the usability and quiet operation. The unique applications of the pump, such as running with suction and discharge valves closed, also impressed them.

The Right Pump Can Move Delicate Substances Well

As you can see, Discflo pumps provide a comprehensive pumping solution in many areas, but also in the ability to move delicate substances. Our disc pumps are at work for National Egg Products, who was processing unfiltered egg whites with positive displacement pumps. Their pumps would need to be rebuilt every three months on average, with a complete wet end replacement every year. The damage was caused by egg shell particles in the unfiltered whites. These quickly wore down rotors because of the close tolerances in the pump.

Another unique challenge in finding the right pump for this situation was the sensitivity to shear and propensity for foaming. While the positive displacement pumps they used were not causing much foaming, they were worn down quickly by the excessive abrasion. On the other hand, centrifugal pumps would whip the eggs into a foam.

We found the answer: our Model SP302-10-2D. This unique system did not suffer from abrasion and it did not cause foaming, thanks to our perfected laminar flow. They soon added another pump for the same application.

Discflo pumps provided a solution where both centrifugal and positive displacement pumps failed to move substances with unique obstacles.

Is a Discflo Disc Pump Right for Your Operation?

Discflo disc pumps are effective in many applications where traditional centrifugal, progressive cavity, lobe or positive displacement pumps underperform.

If a material is prone to clogging or causing corrosion, or if your pump is overheating, disc pumps provide a viable solution that can also withstand high temperatures and run dry without deadheading.