Air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps are known for reliability, versatility, and ease of maintenance, making them the preferred choice in transfer applications. Their simple design makes them easy to operate and cost-effective to repair.
Even in the most severe applications and environments, these workhorses are engineered to provide industry-leading durability and performance.
However, there are a number of things that can ruin AODD pumps. Understanding what these are can help you avoid downtime and ensure your pumps are always operating at their best.
The five most common mistakes we encounter related to installation, operation, and maintenance are:
- Not using abrasion-resistant components
- Pumping product that isn’t chemically compatible with the pump’s materials
- Not taking the compressed air supply into account
- Improperly sizing pump fittings
- Lacking AODD pump education
Luckily, these are easy to avoid. In this blog, we’ll look at each of these mistakes, help you understand why they could be detrimental, and tell you how to avoid them.
1. Not Using Abrasion-Resistant Components
When pumping abrasive fluids, consider components made from an abrasion-resistant material. For example, if you’re pumping abrasive ceramic slip, replace rubber valve seats with stainless steel or cast iron to reduce the wear associated with abrasive applications.
For plastic pumps, PVDF is more abrasion resistant than polypropylene. If you’re questioning the effectiveness of a specific material, consult an AODD pump manufacturer for assistance.
2. Pumping Product That Isn’t Chemically Compatible With the Pump’s Materials
It’s critical to make sure the fluid you’re moving is chemically compatible with the pump’s materials of construction. This includes elastomers, castings, and possibly hardware if there are plans to submerge the pump. Because safety is a major concern with many chemicals, it’s important to select a pump manufactured from materials that are compatible with the chemical being moved.
The easiest thing you can do to ensure the fluid you’re moving is chemically compatible with your pump's materials is to check out the pump manufacturer's chemical compatibility guide. If there are still questions or concerns, you can reach out to your local distributor or a factory application specialist.
3. Not Taking the Compressed Air Supply into Account
Perhaps nothing affects an AODD pump’s longevity more than air quality and pressure—after all, compressed air is their power source. Just as dirty air can disrupt pump performance, air pressure can mean the difference between a pump working at full capacity and a pump that underperforms or won’t operate at all.
Air pressure controls how fast an AODD pump operates and how much flow it produces. If the pump is receiving more pressure than it requires, the pump will cycle rapidly, leading to inefficient operation, additional pump wear, and premature failure.
By installing an air filter/regulator, you ensure the air is clean and the pressure is appropriate. You want the fluid to have enough time to fully enter and exit each fluid chamber and the valve balls to seat properly. This will ensure each stroke is complete and leads to volumetric pump efficiency.
4. Improperly Sizing Pump Fittings
Before fluid begins to flow through your pump, make sure the fluid inlet and outlet piping/fittings are at least as large as the pump’s connection size. Doing this during installation will make your pump more efficient.
This means if you're installing a 2” pump, it should be connected to a 2” 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 optimal operation.
5. Lacking AODD Pump Education
AODD pumps are known for their simplicity. However, it’s still critical to understand the technology before installing, operating, or maintaining one. It's recommended that you:
- 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.
Get the Most Out of Your AODD Pump
Now that you know what mistakes to avoid, you can meet your fluid transfer needs quickly and reliably to ensure continuous operation.
Since 1983, Versamatic has set the standard of performance in AODD pumps. We provide reliable, quality AODD pumping solutions for customers globally who value simplicity, quick delivery, and convenience.
When you purchase a Versamatic pump, you’re getting so much more than just an AODD pump. You’re getting support from a team of experts throughout the process, from pump selection through post-sales support.
For more information, please reach out to one of our seasoned application engineers. You can also contact a local distributor.