After researching air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps and manufacturers, you just purchased an AODD pump for your company.
You know you made a great decision and your boss is happy, too. Because by purchasing an AODD pump, you bought a piece of equipment known for its reliability, durability and versatility. AODD pumps are also a great value, performing efficiently and requiring little maintenance.
As you get ready to install your pump, you start to think about optimizing pump performance. Yes, there are ways to make a great tool even better.
1. Properly size pump fittings
Before fluid begins to flow through your pump, there is something you can do during installation that will make it even more efficient: Make sure the fluid inlet and outlet piping/fitting are at least as large as the pump’s connection size.
This means if you are installing a two-inch pump, it should be connected to a two-inch or larger piping. If the piping is smaller than the pump size, fluid suction will be restricted and negatively affect pump flow, efficiency and diaphragm life.
This step is crucial for long pump life and the most effective operation of the pump.
2. Make sure compressed air is clean and dry
Perhaps nothing affects the pump’s longevity more than air quality.
An AODD pump’s power source is compressed air. Though AODD pumps are designed to deal with poor air quality, cleaner is better.
Clean, dry air helps to reduce wear on the dynamic valve and main shaft seals. External contaminants like lubrication from the compressor can attack or swell seals and, in some cases, the pump’s diaphragms.
Using a filter/regulator will help to reduce contaminants (and provide other benefits—see tip #3). Maintaining the overall compressed air system is also important to ensure clean compressed air is created for all the pneumatic equipment in the plant.
3. Install a filter/regulator
Installing a filter/regulator to the pump allows you to control the air pressure for optimum pump performance and efficiency.
If you don't use a regulator, you're almost certainly using more air (SCFM) and/or pressure (PSI/BAR) than the pump needs.
By not controlling the air volume and pressure, it can cost you efficiency and can shorten the life of the pump due to over-pressurization, hard start-ups and additional unnecessary pump cycles.
4. Track the pump’s performance
Unfortunately, there's no telltale sign an AODD pump is about to fail. The flow and performance will be consistent until a repair is needed.
Because every plant is unique and applications vary, there's no standard AODD pump maintenance schedule. The best way to estimate pump longevity is by getting to know your pump:
- Research the performance of pumps in similar applications to get an idea of when your pump may need wet side or air side repairs.
- Track your pump over time to see when it typically needs service, then establish a preventive maintenance schedule.
5. Keep the air exhaust muffler clean
Keeping the air exhaust muffler clean will help pump efficiency and flow. Keeping the filter on the filter/regulator clean is also important so there's no restriction of airflow to the pump. Replacement filters are available as needed.
Remember: Air has to be moving freely for the pump to work correctly.
6. Install accessories to extend the life of the pump
These universal parts and accessories are sold by distributors and should be easy to find and install:
Flexible fluid connections can help reduce pipe stress that can cause leaking or, in extreme cases, damage fluid castings. Flex connections can also reduce fluid pulsation, protecting downstream equipment.
Liquid-filled pressure gauges on the fluid inlet and discharge can act as the windows to pump performance and offer helpful information to control the pump more effectively. They can also troubleshoot systems issues like blockages, restrictions or pressure fluctuations.
Inlet stabilizers on the suction side of the pump can reduce incoming pressure spikes or waves that tend to be felt on the diaphragms during the suction stroke, reducing their life in some applications with positive suction pressure.
7. Check pump hardware
When installing a new AODD pump, or one that was repaired and placed on the shelf for later use, you should always check the tightness of the pump’s hardware.
Though this seems intuitive, many operators don’t know that pump hardware tends to loosen up due to material creep, vibration in transit and temperature changes.
Hardware torque specifications can be found in the operation manual. When installing bolted pumps, tighten the hardware in a cross-pattern to factory specifications.
- It's important the pump isn't under pressure when tightening hardware.
- If a pump isn't properly tightened prior to seeing fluid pressure, it could leak and seals could be damaged.
- Pumps will come with a tag to encourage retightening of hardware. For additional assistance, contact the manufacturer.
8. Conduct complete maintenance
If one individual AODD pump component fails, change all of the components. For example, if you’re changing one seal, change all of the seals. Simple-to-install, cost-effective air end and wet end kits are available to take the guesswork out of repair parts selection.
This strategy helps prevent the cost of a teardown and the pump being out of service. Usually, an out-of-service pump costs more than pump parts.
Tip: If your plant uses pumps for critical applications (like making paint, for example), you may want to consider having spare pumps on hand. Swapping a spare pump out for a pump that needs repair takes just minutes—much less time than a pump being out of service while awaiting repair.
9. Try your hand at maintenance
AODD pumps are simple to repair and parts are readily available via local authorized stocking distributors. If a distributor doesn't carry a part you need, contact the pump manufacturer.
10. Educate yourself
The beauty of an AODD pump is in its simplicity. Still, it’s critical to understand the technology in order to work with it best:
- Read pump manuals to make sure you understand the workings of your pump.
- Build a relationship with your pump manufacturer and/or distributor. Many offer technical assistance by phone, online or even in person.
Choose a Vendor You Can Trust
Though an AODD pump is designed to be an incredibly versatile piece of equipment, there are ways to optimize pump performance to reduce downtime and increase efficiency.
When you buy a Versamatic AODD pump, you’re not just purchasing a pump, you’re getting decades of pumping expertise.
Versamatic’s team of engineers and customer support specialists help you throughout the process, from selecting the pump to purchasing and providing post-sales support. Trust Versamatic’s experience to understand your specific needs, provide expert guidance and develop ideal solutions to keep your pumps working at the highest, most efficient level possible.
Find the AODD pump that will perfectly fit your application—reach out to a Versamatic distributor today.