The Fundamentals of Pneumatic Pumps

By Brian Robson
  • Jun 02, 2016

Pneumatic systems make use of pressurized gas or air to drive media and when found in industrial applications are usually driven by compressed inert gases or compressed air. A compressor located in the center is used to power cylinders, motors, and other devices that work on pneumatics, including pumps. These systems are typically controlled through either a manually operated or automated solenoid valve and can act as a more flexible, lower cost, and safer option to gas-powered motors or other electrically driven machines.


Types of Pneumatic Pumps


Pneumatic pumps corresponds to the positive displacement pumps that are double-acting with no return spring and can make use of many pressurized gases or fluids as drivers. There are many different types of pneumatic pump systems, but some of the widely known alternatives include:


Pneumatic Diaphragm Pumps (both piston and plunger types) – They utilize a plunger or piston mechanism to shift media through a cylindrical chamber. This mechanism is impelled by a pneumatic, hydraulic, electric, or steam drive.
Pneumatic Liquid Pumps – Used to shift liquid.
Pneumatic Refrigerant Pumps – Used to transfer refrigerant from one place to another, usually two stage pumps.
Pneumatic Test Pumps – These pumps are designed and configured to examine the effectiveness of a specific pneumatic system.


Pneumatic Pump Applications


Pneumatics pumps are particularly designed for rigorous oil and gas production applications, together with use in many other industrial sectors such as pulp and paper, fertilizer dosing, food processing and water treatment.


Pneumatic Pump Numbers


Flow Rate Range – 0.005 to 1,175 GPH (gallons per hour), or 0.02 to 4,447.37 LPH (liters per hour).
Pressure Range – up to 20,000 psi, or 1380 bar
Horse Power Range – .33 to 10 HP


Pros and Cons of Pneumatic Pumps


Since they use pressurized air to function, pneumatic pumps can have a cheap total cost of ownership compared to the other traditional pump alternatives. Other benefits include declination in chemical waste, cutback in lost production, amplified program effectiveness, reduction in repair time and energy consumption, and other relevant reductions in operating costs.

In case of pneumatic diaphragm pumps, they can deal with many different types of liquids, even those that carry some solid material. The construction of these pumps keep them protected from piston corrosion and lessens the risk of seal problems.

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