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Drum Pumps

What is a drum pump?

While water weighs about 8.3 pounds per gallon, a gallon of acid and some other liquids can weigh much more. That means that the contents of a relatively small 55-gallon drum can weigh 450-plus pounds, making manually tipping the drum impractical. This is where drum pumps come in.

They eliminate the need to turn over each of those barrels or drums to remove the liquid inside. All you have to do is insert the tube of the pump, turn it on, and the liquid will be drawn out in a steady flow. While using minimal power, the pump also lower the risk of spillage.

How do they work?

The mechanism of most drum pumps is very simple. It consists of a vertical shaft inside a very narrow tube, which can fit into the opening at the top of a standard 55-gallon drum. A small motor, located at the top of the tube, is connected to the shaft. This motor is typically an AC or DC electric motor, often with a trigger switch, though special driver types are available such as explosion proof electric motors or air drives. At the bottom of the tube is the pumping element itself. This may be either a very small centrifugal pump impeller, which would be used for relatively thin liquids, or a progressing cavity type rotor and stator for pumping thicker, more viscous fluids. Other types may be cranked by hand. Hand-cranked pumps are common in the food and agricultural industries. For even more viscous applications, such as pumping greases and other lubricants, piston pumps may be used.

Drum pumps are usually quite portable, so they can easily be moved from one barrel to another. However, they may also be hard piped within the system.

They come in a wide variety of metallurgies, and in a number of non-metallic materials, to minimize corrosion of the pump when handling corrosive liquids.

Drum pumps are generally limited to flows of about 70 gallons per minute, and to pressures (heads) of about 70 feet. Positive displacement versions can produce considerably higher pressures. They are typically limited to immersion depths of about four feet.

Where are they used?

Drum pumps are used by many types of chemical plants, food processing plants, and other manufacturing and processing plants that purchase liquids or pasty products in drums or totes (a larger container), and need a practical way to pump small quantities of the fluid out of the container.

Here are some drum pump manufacturers to consider.

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