There are many ways a pumping process can be automated to reduce reliance on personnel manually involved in a pumping process. Automating a process can help:
– Improve dispensing accuracy
– Prevent the overfilling and consequential loss of product
– Prevent pumps from running dry, running against a closed valve and being damaged.
– Reduce Labour Costs
– Free labour up to carry out higher-value tasks
Some of the pumping applications that are typically automated include:
Batching & dispensing – Involves the transferring of a set amount of fluid from small precise amounts to large volumes in tank or container filling applications
Heating and Cooling – The transfer of cooling fluid or water and glycol mixture around a closed or open loop system with varying speeds and pressures
Dosing & Metering – The precise transfer, dispensing or injection of fluids into a line
Dewatering – To remove excess nuisance bodies of water
Multiphase Pumping – Pumping of oil, gas and sand mixtures of varying viscosities to a centralized facility increasing efficiency of extraction from wells and reducing environmental impact though removal of surface equipment such as separators, hydrators, dehydrators and flares.
Pressure Boosting – To increase the pressure of a fluid within a pipeline to a set point.
Recirculation –Recirculation of a fluid around a system to prevent separation of liquid, maintaining of fluid temperature to prevent solidification or use in a dispensing line where actuated valves continuously open and close where a pump can not be continually stopped and started.
Transfer – The transfer of selected amounts of fluid into a process which can be from a bulk tank to day tank, into smaller containers
Unloading – Emptying of containers, tanks, and tankers to a specified volume, at a specified flow rate or in a specific time frame.
17 Ways to Automate your Pump for Pump Protection and Lower Lifespan Application Costs
North Ridge Pumps have identified 17 ways to automate a process to help protect pumps in processes, lower lifespan application costs and reduce energy costs:
Amp draw – The current drawn can be set within a control panel to certain limits to detect when a pump is dry running, running end of curve or cavitating. This helps limit any damage when a pump is left unattended.
Bypass valve – A bypass valve both on the pump and discharge pipework will help protect the pump should a nozzle be closed or discharge valve be closed preventing damage.
Dry run capability – Pumps which are specified with dry run capability will mean you will not be concerned should the pump be left unattended. If a fluid which has a high amount of dry content you can rest assured it can be handled without damage to your pump.
Dry Run Protection – Dry run protection sensors can check amp draw, power absorbed, and be set up to measure inlet pressure, thus protecting the pump from dry running.
End of Stroke Sensor – An end of stroke sensor provides details of the number of strokes performed by a pump verifying normal pump operation. It also helps determine preventative maintenance schedules or for cycle counting in batching systems. This sensor is typically used in diaphragm metering pumps.
Float switch – A float switch is one of the most common ways to automate a pump in dewatering applications. When the float switch is raised above the pump, the pump will begin working as sensors within the float make contact when raised at specific angles. Then when the water level is lower than the pump, the contacts in the float switch detect the angle switching off the pump.
Frequency Drive – When automating a process a frequency drive will often be specified as it can provide multiple functions enabling measurement of motor rpm, power absorbed, and have a torque sensor providing many of the features listed separately here in one unit.
Leakage sensor –Leakage sensors can be built into diaphragm metering, AOD, and peristaltic pumps to detect when a pump is leaking and automatically stop the process. This ensures dangerous fluids do not leak creating hazardous areas, contamination, and pose health risks. It also allows fluids to be recovered if they are particularly expensive.
Level Probes / Level Sensors – Level probes and level sensors are typically utilized in applications where pumps may be dry mounted, or immersed in the fluid. Ultrasonic level sensors or infrared beams detect the height of the fluid stopping and starting pumps as required. They are used as an alternative to float switches which can get tangled or prove unreliable over time.
Pressure Transducer – Pressure transducers detect the pressure of fluid within a pipeline, causing a pump which is fitted with a variable speed drive to speed up or slow down to match the required performance.
Probes – Level probes are conductive which work when in contact with a fluid. It allows pumps such as puddle suckers to pump down to a few mm, allowing complete emptying of low levels of water.
Product Sensor – Our range of progressing cavity, peristaltic and lobe pumps can be built with hoppers containing product sensors. When a product enters the hopper the pump will automatically start emptying the hopper before stopping again meaning your pump only works when product is available eliminating a manual on and off process.
Remote Monitoring – Remote monitoring devices with data loggers incorporated enables users to monitor pumps and when a fault occurs to determine the factors leading up to it. Flow, pressure, absorbed power and vibrations can all be monitored to create a condition based monitoring profile eliminating inspection intervals, meaning labour is spent on more productive activities.
Stroke Counter – Stroke sensors can detect the number of strokes performed by an air operated diaphragm pump, counting the number of times the air is ejected from the exhaust which after completion of a set number stops the pumps. This method of transfer is known to be inaccurate for fluids which viscosity changes with temperature.
Temperature probe – On some designs of pumps it is possible to monitor the temperature of the bearings, and stator to detect when the pump is working over-temperature meaning it can be stopped before damage is done caused by dry running.
Timer – Pumps can be set via a control panel to run for a specified amount of time and stop. This is common in dosing, recirculation, transfer and injection applications.
Torque Sensor – A torque sensor built into an inverter can detect when a positive displacement pump is working strenuously or outside its normal limits. With a torque sensor calibrated correctly overpressure build up in a discharge line can be stopped, and if coupled with a reverse switch the pump can be set to reverse and relieve pressure at the outlet.
If you are looking to automate a pumping process, consult with us to ensure the correct technologies and pumping type are applied for maximum accuracy, process effectiveness and pump longevity.
Download, 17 Ways To Automate Your Pump for Lower Application Costs & Increased Pump Protection to read later at your convenience.