One of the most surprising things about AODD pumps is their simplicity. It's amazing how such simple machines are powerful pieces of equipment that keep plants around the world running.
These workhorses can handle the most aggressive fluids in the harshest environments. Most can be submerged and are portable. They require no electrical power and can be fully grounded. They also offer leak-free performance, are self-priming and can run dry without damaging the pump or system.
Perhaps best of all, AODD pumps come with a relatively low initial purchase price that ranges from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand dollars.
Because operating AODD pumps costs more than purchasing them, it's vital they remain properly maintained to ensure they're working as efficiently as possible.
Fortunately, maintaining an AODD pump is as simple as having a few tools on hand, observing how your pump operates with different fluids and possibly purchasing some pump accessories. Investing time and money upfront will save more in the long run.
Grab Paper and a Pencil. And a Wrench.
Because every plant is unique and applications vary, there is no standard AODD pump maintenance schedule. The best way to estimate pump longevity is by getting to know your pump.
Simply keeping notes about your pump, detailing how it responds to different fluids and tracking when it typically needs service, allows you to establish a preventative maintenance schedule.
A typical preventive maintenance schedule will include:
- Periodically examining diaphragms for wear and changing them if necessary: Using a stroke counter is a good way to keep track of approximately how many strokes you can expect before a diaphragm needs to be replaced.
- Checking the tightness of the pump’s hardware: This can prevent leaking and damaged seals. Pump hardware tends to loosen up over time due to temperature changes and vibration. Hardware torque specifications can be found in the operation manual. Do not tighten hardware when the pump is under pressure.
Tip: If you’re new to AODD pumps, research the performance of pumps in similar applications to yours. This can help you get an idea of when your pump may need wet side or air side repairs.
Clean Air Is Key
The air distribution system (ADS) is one of the most frequently serviced parts of any AODD pump. The reason? Dirty air entering the pump.
To keep your pump operating at the most efficient level possible—and to improve its lifespan—install an air filter/regulator unit, which will prevent wet and contaminated air from entering the pump. Regularly check the air filter, as it can become dirty and clogged from poor air quality.
Remember: Clean, regulated air is the key to trouble-free pump operation (learn more about regulating air below).
Control the Air Supply
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 very rapidly, leading to inefficient operation, additional pump wear and premature failure.
By installing an air filter/regulator, you can make sure the air 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.
A liquid level controller is another accessory that can provide a safe and cost-effective way to control AODD pumps (providing on/off/on functionality). Liquid level controllers are most notably used in water and chemical sump applications. Their mechanics are simple: A pneumatic float switch turns the air to the pump on and off as the liquid level rises and falls.
Remember: Using air filter/regulators and liquid level controllers can save you money on energy use and improve diaphragm life. Most importantly, controlling air pressure can prevent premature failures, which could lead to lost product, costly cleanup and unplanned downtime.
Routinely Inspect Pump Lines
Because AODD pumps can handle suspended and non-suspended solids, floating solids, line-size solids, slurries and sludges, they're used for some of the harshest applications in the world.
But no pump can handle every situation.
If you work in certain industries, like wastewater treatment or mining, you know to expect the unexpected. In mining, it's common for rocks, sticks or other debris to build up and clog pump flow. Wastewater treatment plant managers have even reported dead animals blocking their lines.
Other potential line restrictions include kinks in the line, lines that are too long and closed or partially closed valves. Make sure the suction line is made of a non-collapsible material. If the hose can collapse or be drawn in on the suction side of the pump, it will affect performance and pump longevity. Also be mindful of any filters or screens used on the suction side of the pump. As these items become clogged, the pump will fight to pull in product, which limits flow and reduces diaphragm life.
By ensuring lines are clear of any restrictions, you can keep AODD pumps working at peak performance.
Remember: AODD pumps are known as “set it and forget it” pumps. However, they'll work most efficiently and experience fewer maintenance issues if you routinely check the pump’s suction side and discharge side.
Install a Surge Suppressor
AODD pump surge suppressors essentially eliminate undesirable pulsation from pumping, as well as provide virtually pulse-free discharge flow for steadier pressure with less system vibration and noise.
Delivering steadier pressure reduces piping system wear and tear and maximizes efficiency.
Remember: As mentioned above, spikes in inlet pressure can damage diaphragms. Surge suppressors are available in a variety of sizes and materials, are easy to install and can keep your pump working longer.
Control Leaks to Save Time and Money
Leaks are a plant manager’s worst enemy. When fluid spills, cleanup can be expensive, lines have to be shut down, plant staff may be exposed to dangerous chemicals and lost product means lost revenue.
Proper pump maintenance can reduce the likelihood of leaks, but if one occurs, timing is everything. The sooner you know about a leak, the quicker you can take steps to reduce its impact.
An electronic leak detector senses pumped liquid entering the air chambers of the pump. Indicator lights and/or an alarm signal fluid has entered the air chambers. Electronic leak detectors can be wired to a pump shutdown device, which can close off the air supply.
Tip: Electronic leak detectors are safe, reliable, can be used in a variety of applications and, most importantly, are your first line of defense against leaks.
Properly Maintaining a Pump Pays Off
As with any piece of industrial equipment, maintaining a pump pays dividends over its life.
Proper maintenance increases pump efficiency and performance, extends its lifespan, reduces downtime and decreases the possibility of annoying and costly leaks.
In short, maintaining your AODD pump saves you time and money.
For nearly 40 years, Versamatic has been delivering quality, easy-to-use pumping solutions without compromising your budget.
Versamatic offers a comprehensive line of pumps for a wide range of applications, as well as AODD pump parts and accessories (including liquid level controllers and a line of air filter/regulator units specifically developed for AODD pumps) to improve the performance and extend the life of pumps.