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Metering Pumps

What is a metering pump?

A pump that is designed to move fluids at precise flow rates. Most have the ability to set and adjust the flow rate with a hand dial or digital touch pad. Flow rates for metering pumps are usually quite low due to the nature of the application, with most flow rates being rated in gallons per hour (gph) rather than the traditional gallons per minute (gpm) used for most pumps.

The most common types are diaphragm pumps, with the diaphragm mechanically or hydraulically actuated, or moved via a solenoid. However, other types of positive displacement pumps such as piston pumps, peristaltic pumps, plunger pumps, or several other rotary pump types may also serve as metering pumps.

Metering pumps generally work within the following ranges:

  • Flow rate ranges between .001 gph and 20 gpm
  • Total head (pressure) ranges between 10 and 30,000 psi
  • Horsepower ranges between 0.125 and 5 hp

How do they work?

There are two main types, both of which may adjust the flow rate by any number of different pumping mechanisms:

1. Variable displacement pumps adjust the flow by changing the amount of fluid that enters the pump, while the motor always runs at a constant speed. They often do this by adjusting the stroke length, or in some cases the amount of hydraulic fluid that is bypassed.

2. Fixed displacement pumps adjust the flow by changing the speed of the motor, while the same amount of fluid is displaced with each revolution.

Where are they used?

Metering pumps are used wherever the flow rate of a liquid needs to be regularly measured and adjusted to precise levels. They’re most commonly used to pump treatment chemicals in water treatment applications, such as treatment of water for drinking, swimming pools, boilers, cooling towers, or in treatment of wastewater. The treatment chemicals are pumped into the water to adjust the pH, alkalinity, and to disinfect the water.

They are also used in food processing plants for blending of liquid ingredients, in process metering applications where one chemical needs to be added to another in precise amounts, in pipelines to decrease the frictional losses as the oil moves through the line, and in various laboratory and medical applications.

Here are a few metering pump manufacturers to consider.

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