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A refrigeration company is using magnetically coupled vane pumps from Michael Smith Engineers in a fluids recycling application to eliminate the threat of contamination caused by pump leaks. The company has also reduced downtime and repair bills.

M Pumps magnetically coupled vane pump

Refrigerant recycling involves a distillation process that removes unwanted ‘contaminants’ such as oil, water, acids and solid particles from the process fluid. The distilled refrigerant is then re-condensed and passed through filters to remove any residual moisture and acids, ensuring that the refrigerant is suitable for reuse in refrigeration systems.

As part of the reflux process at the refrigeration company, a range of refrigerants including hydrofluorocarbons (HFCSs), propane and butane need to be transferred to the top of a distillation column. Previously, a mechanically sealed cast-iron gear pump had been used for this stage of the process. However, there were problems with seal leakages, process liquid contamination and reduced capacity due to excessive slip caused by the low liquid viscosity of 0.2cp.

Following a review of the pumping options and challenges of the process, the decision was made to install an M Pumps VM-15 magnetically coupled vane pump with variable-speed drive.

M Pumps’ Vane series pumps are capable of flow rates of up to 3,000 litres per hour at up to 12-bar differential pressure and at temperatures of up to 200°C. They can pump liquids with viscosities up to 10,000cSt and are suitable for system pressures to 25 bar for the standard design or 150 bar for the high-pressure version.

Key benefits of product application

  • The pump was installed in late 2012 and has been running for more than a year without problems.
  • The combination of the magnetically coupled, seal-less design and a stainless steel pump head has provided excellent corrosion resistance and effective containment of all the process fluids.
  • There are no rotating seals to fail, so leak-free pumping is assured and consequently the refrigeration plant is benefiting from a reduced environmental hazard and no repair costs associated with the seal failures of the previous pump.
  • The extended pump operation between servicing also means reduced downtime.
  • The user also appreciates the compact, close-coupled design, which has freed up plant work space, and the variable-speed drive feature, which provides the flexibility to pump at different duty points, depending on the refrigerant being pumped.

Michael Smith Engineers

Michael Smith Engineers Ltd,  the UK’s leading pump specialist for difficult liquid handling applications since 1971,  provide representation in the UK for specialist pump manufacturers, with particular emphasis on sealless leak free pump technology.  Our product range includes magnetically driven gear pumps, magnetically driven centrifugal pumps (including metal, plastic and lined centrifugals),  canned motor centrifugal pumps, peristaltic pumps, tubular diaphragm pumps, metering pumps, valveless piston pumps, turbine  pumps,  high pressure diaphragm pumps, vane pumps and barrel emptying pumps. We can supply pumps in a wide choice of wetted materials for liquids between 0.2 cP and 500,000 cP, temperatures between -50 oC and +400 oC,  capacities from nanolitres per hour to m3  per minute and can offer pumps for  high system pressures up to 350 Bar and high discharge pressures up to 500 Bar.  Corrosion resistant materials are available for many of our ranges include metallic options of stainless steel and high nickel alloys or plastic options of PVC,  polypropylene, PVDF and ETFE. The main markets we service with our ranges of pumps are the chemical, petrochemical, pharmaceutical and process sector with our larger pumps  as well as laboratories, research and development institutions and OEMs with our smaller pumps.  

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