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Gear pump offers a sweet solution for fluids containing crystals

28 July 2018

A recent addition to the Viking Universal seal pump range, available through Michael Smith Engineers, features a modified ribbed/stepped idler gear design – specially developed for sugar processing – but is also suited to other applications where there are crystals in the pumped fluid.  

By removing 0.9mm (or 900 microns) of material from 80% of the flank of each idler gear tooth on both sides results in reduced gear-to-gear contact that could damage tiny sugar crystals or other solids in the pumped fluid.

Available in either hardened iron or hardened steel, the ribbed idler alternates position on each tooth to minimise wear on the rotor teeth in any given spot and since the idler turns at a different speed than the rotor, the contact point changes with each revolution of the rotor gear. This creates additional ‘slip paths’ that allow liquids to slip back from the high pressure (discharge) side of the pump to the low pressure (inlet side), the amount of which depends on the viscosity of the pumped liquid.

The pumps capacity on high viscosity liquids using ribbed idlers is almost the same as the performance of pumps which have standard (non-ribbed) idler gears. For example, on liquids with a viscosity of 10,000 cSt operating at 50 rpm, the capacity is reduced by only about 1% compared to the standard pump performance at 3.5 Bar g, 7 Bar g and 10 Bar g.

By changing the idler gear from a standard to a ribbed idler and slowing it to appropriate speeds, users have the flexibility and convenience of using the same pump for liquids containing sensitive solids or for pumping other liquids such as syrups and molasses by switching back to a standard idler gear. This offers the potential to cover all positive displacement pumping needs with one or two sizes of the same pump, helping to simplify plant operations and maintenance, while increasing reliability and uptime.


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