An Overview of Industrial Pump Types

Knowing your options for industrial pump types and what uses are best for your application is important for saving your business time and money. But what pumps are best for your application? What options do you have? Once you land on a pump type, how do you choose a supplier? 

Pump distributors have experts that can help you with these questions, but it's also good to have an understanding of your options to better bargain and understand an expert's explanation when its given. 

Industrial pump types aren't always clear cut, so we wanted to create an modest list of pump types and their basic applications for you. This is not a complete list, but it does include the major types you will typically encounter. 


Diaphragm Pumps


Diaphragm pumps are a type of reciprocating positive displacement pump in which liquid is pumped by a reciprocating diaphragm and have both inlet and outlet check valves. We typically see them in high viscosity situations where a lot of solids are involved. Diaphragm pumps are versatile and can handle a wide variety of liquids — including corrosive liquids and liquids containing solids. They're also sealess and thus are good for dry running! 


Centrifugal Pumps


Centrifugal pumps include self-priming, single-stage, multi-stage, submersible, ANSI, drum, santiary, and grinder pumps, and are just pumps that use impellers to move liquids. Centrifugal pumps are popular because they have the highest flow rate of all pump types and are great for low viscosity situations. They can be used for corrosive applications when made with alloy, but don't use them for thicker liquids like oil.


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Positive Displacement Pumps


Positive displacement pumps include gear, lobe, hose/peristaltic, progressive cavity, and flexible impeller pumps.

Positive displacement pumps don't have impellers like centrifugal pumps due and rely on displacement into a discharge pipe and cavities to move liquids. 

They're also known as "constant flow machines" since these pumps will produce the same flow at any given discharge pressure. These pumps are industry standards due to their reliability when moving high viscosity liquids. 


High Pressure Pumps


High pressure pumps are reliably effective in transfering fluids at high discharge pressures. They use simplex and multi-plex diaphragms/piston-pump technologies to powerfully deliver high pressures.

These pumps are used for filtration, cleaning, deep hole boring and chemical injection. 


Vacuum Pumps


A vacuum pump is simply a pump that moves air out of something else. Sometimes it removes gas from an area, leaving a partial vacuum behind; other times a vacuum pump will move fluid from one area to another.  Vacuum pumps are used in an industrial setting to remove trapped gas, hold work in place, produce vacuum tubes and electric lamps, and semiconductors. They can also produce a vacuum that can then be used to power a piece of equipment. In aircrafts, for example, the gyroscopes located in some of the flight instruments are powered by a vacuum source in case of an electrical failure.

I hope you found this brief overview useful. And if you have any questions, feel free to comment below or fill out the "Talk With an Expert" form to the right!

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Tom Kolling

In my career the customer has always been my focus. I've worked with my staff to provide a level of service that surprises the customer and sets us apart. I've worked to establish new vendors, inventory, pricing and special requirements that are needed by customers.

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