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What is a Drum Pump?

A drum pump refers to a portable pump designed to allow fluids found in drums, barrels or storage tanks to transfer safely and efficiently. It is also referred to as a barrel pump or a high viscosity drum pump. It comes in different designs and pump configurations depending on the type and size of the container, the fluid being pumped and the available power supply on-site.

How Does a Drum Pump Work?

In processing and manufacturing plants, liquids are usually delivered in 100lts or 200lts barrels. These are too heavy to lift when emptying the liquid. Also, a lot of industries store feedstocks in intermediate bulk containers (IBCs) and large tanks. Drum pumps make it easy to transfer these fluids from these heavy containers safely and effectively.

Drum pumps are made up of a pump, an immersion tube and a motor section. The motor is found on top of the immersion tube to the outside part of the container. The immersion tube (whose length depends on the depth of the container) fits through and is sealed to an opening found on the top part of the container. The pump is located in the lower part of the immersion tube.

The pump comes from the opposite end of the immersion tube with an extended shaft usually protected using a sealed column. Once the liquid is pumped it flows between the tube and the sleeve to a discharge port found on the side of the immersion tube where the motor is located. The tube comes in varying lengths.

As such, it can cater for containers with varying depths or different material constructions. Of course, it depends on the media being pumped. A drum pump is mostly used for fluids with low or medium viscosity so it comes with extended centrifugal pumps with multiple, double or single impellers. When the impeller rotates, the liquid is discharged into the tube and gets out through a port found at the bottom of the immersion tube.

What are the Main Features of a Drum Pump?

A drum pump is made up of several components that come into contact with the fluid being pumped as well as the outer pump tube material. The wetted parts should be resistant to corrosion. If the fluid being pumped is flammable or combustible, the tubes should be safe to use at that operating temperature. The tubes in the drum pump and other parts are usually made of 316 stainless steel, polypropylene, CPVC, PVDF and pure polypropylene.

What are the Advantages and Limitations of a Drum Pump?

A drum pump is beneficial because it removes the risks associated with manual handling of containers such as chemical splashing, injuries, toxic fumes or leaks. Drum pumps are portable and lightweight so they are very easy to transfer from one container to the next.

Drum pumps are available in different designs to meet varying applications. For instance, centrifugal pumps come with multiple, double or single impeller designs suitable for transferring liquids with low viscosity. On the other hand, there are screw-type pumps perfect for transferring liquids of medium viscosity or small particulates. Finally, viscous fluids are transferred using pumps with progressive cavity designs to achieve gentle flows and low pulsation.

Drum pumps configurations depend on the size of the container. If the immersion tube is not long enough to reach the bottom part of the container, it will not drain it. However, drum pumps parts are easily interchangeable so you can repurpose effortlessly.