Pumping of latex agglomerate - Polimeri Europa is one of the major world producers of elastomers at their plants in Hythe and Grangemouth, United Kingdom. Latex represents a particular difficulty because of its adhesion and coagulation properties.
A high cost maintenance regime requiring numerous built up spare pumps, stand-by pumps and regular labour intensive overhauls and cleaning was used to keep process lines running. Pumps were changed as often as every shift during certain product batches.
Polimeri Europa commenced a search for a pump to avoid the latex build-up that seized impellers. In addition they were looking for a robust design with specialised mechanical seals to eject coagulated latex in a controlled manner.
No standard products were identified as being suitable and so Polimeri Europa invited a number of ISO9001 accredited pump suppliers with proven track records to propose how they could resolve the problem.
Amarinth were selected for their ability and willingness to work with Polimeri Europa on optimising a design which would include special features outside of their standard catalogue.
The design parameters were for a pump that could run for some three weeks before requiring any maintenance.
The base pump chosen was an N-series, which included a removable front suction cover enabling quick access for cleaning.
A scalloped impeller was specifically designed to minimise clogging and an electro-polish was applied to the backplate and impeller to create low friction surfaces. Finally a special mechanical seal was designed to handle latex coagulate.
The new pumps were delivered on-time and are exceeding design expectations on this very demanding application.
Labour costs are down by 85% and overall costs are down by 83%. These cost savings in both parts and labour has meant that the pumps have paid for themselves in under a year.
Despite having surpassed the original specification, Polimeri Europa were keen to further develop the design and achieve even better performances.
Ideas were developed and discussed jointly between engineers from Amarinth and Polimeri Europa. FEA analysis of proposed changes was undertaken by Amarinth, thereby accelerating development.
Polimeri Europa then tested incremental improvements in design for latex duties on-site and found that small modifications to the impeller and back-plate dramatically increased performance.
Polimeri Europa now have a trial pump that has run for six months without the need for any maintenance or cleaning. As an additional bonus the new pump is also delivering significant energy savings.
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