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Getting the right oil transfer pump for your application

Moving oils and lubricants is one of the fundamental activities of refining and bulk oil operations.  Refined oils and lubricants are not only transferred between multiple facilities as it makes its way to the consumer, but are also transferred between different holding tanks and containers at the same facilities.  Each time the product moves, there is an oil transfer pump doing the work.

Selecting the right oil transfer pump for your application can be a daunting task when unprepared. There are several specific metrics that you can use to make sure that the pump you chose is going to give you the results you are looking for in your bulk oil transfer application.

Viscosity

When you begin looking for a new oil transfer pump, you need to know exactly what kind of oil you will be moving.  This may sound odd at first, but anyone working in the bulk distribution or refining industries can recognize that oil comes in a variety of weights and consequent viscosities.  The viscosity of the various oils and lubricants not only affects the rate at which the product can flow, but also determines the forces that can shear the product.  This means that if the rotor within the pump spins too fast for the product it may not damage the pump, but it can seriously damage the oil inside of the pump chamber.  This can leave you with contaminated, unusable product.

Flow rate

Most applications have a minimum requirement for the amount of product that needs to be moved in a specified amount of time.  This is referred to as “flow rate”.  The flow rate requirements are heavily dependent on a range of factors, including:

  • Viscosity
  • Application
  • Available power source
  • Other system components (meters, plumbing, etc.)
  • Temperature
  • And more

To meet flow rate requirements, it is important to consider any factors that may affect the movement of product.

Application

The application is the single largest determining factor when it comes to selecting the appropriate oil transfer pump.  While a range of pumps may be able to move any given product, all of the factors that make up a specific application can narrow your choices down to only a few, or even a single pump.  When going through the process of sourcing a new transfer pump for oil or lubricants, it is of utmost importance that the details of the application are fully understood.  There should be no factor left to chance, and no assumptions on your part- this is what can make the difference between a pump performing to your standards or failing miserably.

Even though bulk oil and lubricant transfer can be one of the most controlled and regulated uses of a transfer pump, there are still many variables that can throw a wrench into your production if not properly accounted for.  Never forget to spend the time planning to avoid time repairing and returning later.  If these simple factors are accounted for, you should encounter very few problems finding your next oil transfer pump for your operation.

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