What is the Best Pump for High Solids? 4 Challenges Disc Pumps Solve

Centrifugal pumps have long been the go-to in the pumping industry. But when it comes to pumping high solids and particulates, centrifugal pumps are prone to constant clogging, extreme wear and tear, and product damage–driving up operational costs and reducing efficiency.

Capable of handling up to 80% solids by volume, Discflo disc pumps are the best pump for high solids and particulates. This blog will explore how our unique Discpac technology solves common challenges associated with pumping fluids with high solids.

1. Clogging Issues

Centrifugal pumps use high-speed impellers (which generate centrifugal force) to push fluid from place to place. However, this force is often not sufficient to maintain a consistent flow in the presence of high solids, increasing the chance of clogging. These issues are further exacerbated by large or stringy solids, which are prone to becoming lodged or tangled in impeller vanes.

Discflo pumps virtually eliminate all clogging issues caused by pumping large solids and particulate matter. Our unique technology relies on principles of boundary layer, and viscous drag to successfully transport these materials where other pumps fail.

Turbulent vs. Laminar Flow

Fluids can move through a pipe with either laminar or turbulent flow. During turbulent flow, the fluid has an erratic pattern and mixes together. During laminar flow, the pipe exerts a viscous drag force on the moving liquid. This causes the fluid at the center of the pipe to have a higher velocity than the outer liquid.

Centrifugal pumps with high-speed impellers generate turbulent flow. In contrast, our patented Discpac technology creates a pulsation-free, laminar flow–with a twist. Our parallel, rotating Discpacs transfer energy into the boundary layer, increasing the velocity of the outer layer of liquid compared to the inner layer. In these conditions, solid particles fall to the point of lowest velocity (i.e., the central layer of fluid) and pass smoothly through the pipe without clogging.

Moreover, Discflo pumps’ low-to-no close tolerance design means large and stringy solids can easily pass through without getting trapped or tangled.

2. Abrasion and Wear/Tear

Centrifugal pumps are particularly vulnerable to abrasion and wear when handling fluids with high solids. As their high-speed impellers violently push fluid through the pump, solid particles become abrasive. This causes friction and erosion on the impeller surface. Turbulent flow creates vibration that increases as solids content is elevated, further wearing on pump components.

Discflo pumps minimize abrasive wear by providing a laminar, pulsation-free flow, resulting in a longer operational life. Our Discpac technology gently pulls–rather than forcibly pushes–the product smoothly into the pump, reducing vibration and wear and tear on the entire system.

Discflo excels at pumping highly abrasive fluids.

In Virginia, the Union Camp Paper Mill found success with Discflo where numerous other pumps had failed. The mill was struggling to effectively move a highly-abrasive cooked starch with high-solids content. Prior to Discflo, they were tearing down their pumps three times a week. They even had a full-time employee dedicated to repairing pipe damage caused by the pump’s vibration.

Discflo’s unique pulsation-free design and protective boundary layer allows highly-abrasive solids to pass through without damaging pump components. At last check, our pumps had been running continuously for two years with no downtime. In fact, following this project, Union Camp installed several other Discflo pumps for applications with up to 74% solids content.

3. Damage to Sensitive Materials

Another major challenge centrifugal pumps face when pumping high solids is damage to sensitive materials. The aggressive mechanical action of impeller blades, paired with chaotic turbulent flow, can compromise the integrity of delicate solids in the fluid–leading to product loss and reduced profit.

When it comes to protecting sensitive products, Discflo disc pumps are in a class of their own. In place of a conventional impeller, our Dispac gently pulls fluid through the pump using a Boundary layer, viscous drag technology. There is zero impact from expeller ribs that could damage delicate, sheer sensitive material.

With non-pulsating laminar flow, delicate solids pass through the pump in the central layer of highest velocity. We have found that in solids concentrations up to 40% there is no contact between the product and the pump–and thus, no risk of damage.

In many cases, product damage can be completely eliminated by replacing conventional centrifugal pumps with Discflo technology. No product degradation is one of our biggest success stories, and has solidified Discflo as the best pump for high solids in industries that depend on product integrity.

Discflo pumps are so gentle, our clients trust us even when their sensitive material is alive.

The Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute needed a pump capable of moving live algae–including several species with delicate protruding parts that would be destroyed by centrifugal impellers. The Discflo pump proved capable of moving all 15 species of algae without causing harm, and has been running successfully ever since.

4. High Operational Costs

Every factory manager knows pumping issues are more than just a headache–they drive up operational costs. Constant maintenance, idle employees, unplanned downtime, product loss, and costly replacement parts all eat into your bottom line. And when it comes to pumping high solids–centrifugal pumps simply underperform.

Discflo technology creates a low-to-no maintenance system by minimizing contact between the pump and the material being transported. In disc pumps, fluid moves parallel to the rotating discs, allowing for virtually no impingement between the pumpage and the disc. With very little gradual wear, Discpacs rarely need replacement or maintenance and can operate for decades.

Pulsation-free laminar flow greatly reduces wear on disc pump components, resulting in greater pump longevity and saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in replacement parts. Regularly scheduled maintenance for normal bearing lubrication and seal flush is generally all that’s needed to keep the pump operating. Unplanned downtime due to pump failure is rare. All this means your pump does its job longer and more efficiently, without workflow interruptions or product loss.

4. How Can Discflo Solve Your Operational Challenges?

If you’re looking for the best pump for high solids and particulates, look no further than Discflo disc pumps. In these applications, our unique technology makes clogs, wear and tear, and product damage a thing of the past.

Want to learn exactly how a Discflo disc pump can improve your operation? Contact our team below.