Excerpt from the Feb. 2018 Pumps & Systems Article by Jose Gutierrez
When is a vertical turbine pump an optimal solution?
Vertical turbine pumps are a trusted and proven workhorse pump found in industrial environments around the world. This pump design is continually improving operations in key global industries such as oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical, power, desalination and mining. Vertical pumps are designed to handle challenging applications and have a long legacy going back to their invention in the Los Angeles area more than one hundred years ago.
The earliest vertical pumps were created for agricultural purposes. Now verticals are frequently selected as a strong solution to common challenges where low flow and high head pumps are required. Despite this, there can be a lack of understanding for design engineers, plant managers and site operators about when a vertical turbine pump is an optimal solution compared to traditional horizontal pumps.
Considerations for a Vertical Pump
The length of a vertical pump can be extended going below ground as needed to ensure positive suction head. This flexible design offers a clear advantage with the ability to customize, essentially right sizing through stacking stages, or impellers, as needed. This feature allows for phasing and adjustment over time resulting in reduced operating costs because the pumps offer customizable installations suitable for any facility’s current and future needs.
Vertical pumps can fit in tight spaces and require a much smaller footprint compared to their traditional horizontal pump cousins. This is an important consideration in environments with size limitations. Additionally, the base materials in a vertical pump can be upgraded, resulting in less wear and tear, decreasing plant downtime and maximizing the life of the pump.
Another challenge that verticals can bypass is priming because many of them are self-priming. This means that in a vertical, the operator does not need to remove air, vacuum the pump and fill it with liquid prior to starting operation of the pump. Instead a vertical pump starts without filling with liquid and will operate properly if a minimum level is achieved for the first stage impeller to start pumping.
On verticals, it is possible to combine different hydraulic models to meet the specific conditions for the application. The flexibility enables customization that otherwise would not be possible.
Safety, hydraulics & mechanics
Vertical turbine pumps also tend to offer differences when it comes to safety, hydraulics and mechanics. Their features often become more important in tight spaces and hazardous environments typically found in many energy applications.
When it comes to safety, verticals feature a submerged pump element and steeper head-flow curves.
Another feature from vertical pumps is that the motor is on the top of the unit. It is easy to monitor and offers some protection since it is not as low to the ground as a horizontal pump. In flood zones, damage can potentially be averted due to the pump motor being elevated high enough above the ground.
Vertical turbine pump hydraulics offer increased flexibility across a range of factors: an ability to handle lowest net positive suction head available (NPSHa), pressure by staging, broad specific speed (Ns) range and eliminating the need to prime. In certain instances, horizontal pumps might not have enough pressure at the suction port from the system to prevent cavitation. The vertical design eliminates the need to ensure that the NPSH liquid pressure versus liquid vapor pressure is adequate.
A Complete Line of Pumps for Industry
Vertiflo Pump Company’s Vertical Sump Centrifugal Pumps, Horizontal End Suction Centrifugal Pumps and self-priming pumps are delivered fast, usually in half the typical lead time. Vertiflo’s vertical sump pump line offers up to 3000 GPM, 250′ Heads and 26′ depth. The horizontal end suction pump line offers up to 3000 GPM and 300’ Heads.
Vertiflo pumps are designed for nonresidential applications and currently over 20,000 are operating successfully worldwide. Vertiflo is recognized as a quality manufacturer of dependable pumps, and continues to grow and encompass new applications in the pump industry.