Viscosity is a measure of a fluid’s internal resistance to flow. As higher viscosity fluids act less like a liquid and more like a solid, they present a pumping challenge.
There are several factors to consider when pumping a high viscosity fluid. Including, but not limited to viscosity characteristics (thixotropic, dilatant, Newtonian), temperature, flow rate, pipe size and length. When choosing a process pump, industrial professionals must keep these considerations in mind to determine the optimal pump technology.
There are several challenges to consider when selecting a pump for higher viscosity fluids:
- Suction side – getting it into the pump – The first and often most challenging aspect of high viscosity pumping is on the suction side of the pump. As resistance to flow increases, so does the ability of any pump to ‘suck’. The pump simply creates a vacuum into which atmospheric pressure moves – or tries to move – the fluid into the pump. This means that even if the pump is capable of creating a perfect vacuum there is only roughly 15 psi (1 bar) available to push the fluid through the suction piping to the pump inlet.
Methods of solving this problem include:
- Elevating the fluid source above the pump inlet in order to provide a ‘flooded’ suction
- Keep suction lines as large and as short as possible – to reduce friction loss.
- Forced induction
- Pressurized supply container
- Drum, tote/IBC Unloader with Priming Piston pumpsForced induction
See our blog post regarding NPSHA here.
- Discharge side – getting it out of the pump: In order to pump the product to the point of use, a pump is needed that will generate the pressure required to overcome the friction loss of the discharge piping, as well as provide whatever pressure is required at the point of use – at the desired flow rate.
Types of pumps for high viscosity fluids: At Springer Pumps, we provide safe and efficient pumping solutions for a wide variety of high viscosity fluids, whether they are pastes, gels, or slurries. Additionally, we have 50+ years of experience, a trial pump program, and pumpability testing – all of which allow us to make the correct pump recommendation.
High Viscosity Fluids We’ve Pumped
Our company has experience in pumping a wide range of high viscosity fluids, including:
- Tomato paste
- Peanut butter
- 10 million cP silicone
- Sponge (dough)
These examples constitute a small sample of all the high viscosity fluids we have pumped. We have the resources, expertise, and experience to come up with pumping solutions tailored to each customer’s specific needs, even for the most inert and unyielding of liquids.
In addition to helping you find the right pump for your application, partnering with us can offer the following benefits:
- Waste reduction. We can achieve residuals of less than 1%.
- Cost reduction. By providing solutions that allow for the easy transfer of fluids between containers, we enable customers to save by buying in bulk. Bulk purchases also reduce the cost of container handling, storage, cleaning, and disposal.
- High automation. Our automated pumping solutions help to minimize operator involvement, decreasing the risk of operator injury or product contamination.
- Elimination of hot rooms. By employing our direct transfer pumps, our customers eliminate the need for hot rooms, lowering the energy costs and space required for sticky product transfer.
We have provided high viscosity pumping solutions for companies across numerous industrial sectors, including:
- Food and beverage: food and beverage processing and handling applications
- Campbell Soup, DuPont/Dow, BASF, Hershey, and Godiva
- Personal care: soap, shampoo, lotion, and other personal care product manufacturing
- Estee Lauder, Proctor and Gamble
- Pharmaceutical: medical and healthcare product fabrication
- J&J and McNeil
- Industrial: general industrial chemical and material production
- DuPont/DOW and BASF
- Co-packers/contract packaging: Bulk ingredient transfer, ingredient transfer into mix vessels, finished product into storage container, storage container to filling/packaging machines.
Viscous Pumping Solutions With Springer
Several key benefits come from working with Springer Pumps. We offer our customers the following advantages:
- The ability to pump high viscosity fluid from any container, including pails, drums, totes, and IBCs
- Pump it cold*: no heating requirements – shut down the hot room!
- Less than 1% product residual
- Cost savings from buying bulk fluids
- Elimination of hot rooms
- Process automation capabilities
(*depends on material characteristics and application requirements)
If you are not sure what kind of pump you need for your fluid transfer application, you can consult with our team of experts.
Application Data Sheet