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Diaphragm Rupture Protection

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    Diaphragm Rupture

    A Diaphragm rupture is a large problem for Diaphragm Pump users because it takes your pump out of action and can affect the overall efficiency of your process line, as well as potentially harming operators and the surrounding environment if the process media is hazardous, or costing your company a large amount of money if handling an expensive fluid. As we move through this article, we’ll discuss diaphragm rupture protection and the changes you can make on-site to benefit the operation of your pump.

    As the main operating part within a Diaphragm Pump, it is obvious that the diaphragms are a wearing part and will rupture, they should be regularly checked and maintained to support the efficient operation of your unit to avoid rupturing if possible. You can find some advice on Maintaining your Diaphragm Pump in our article or contact our team of Diaphragm Pump experts for advice and troubleshooting.

    Reasons your diaphragms might rupture:

    • As the main wearing part within a Diaphragm Pump, the diaphragms will naturally fail
    • If your fluid is particularly hazardous, it may wear away at your diaphragms faster or if the diaphragms aren’t suitably compatible with your fluid
    • Excessive dry running will increase the rate at which your diaphragms wear
    • Deadheading the pump can cause additional strain to your pump and the diaphragms

    Diaphragm Rupture Protection

    General changes that you can make to the running of your pump can help prevent diaphragm ruptures such as:

    • Not deadheading or dry running your Diaphragm Pump for extended periods of time. Although it is a feature of your pump, it shouldn’t be used in excess, if the pump is not handling fluid, it should be turned off as soon as possible
    • Putting a regular maintenance plan in place on-site, during maintenance, your diaphragms should be checked for signs of wear and can be replaced before they have become so worn out that they rupture.

    At Tapflo UK we can also offer additional diaphragm rupture protection in the form of accessories that can be fitted to your pump to support its operation including a Life Counter to monitor your pump and enable your engineers to create preventative maintenance regimes.  Also within our range is our Diaphragm Pump Pressure Switch which converts pneumatic signals to allow operators to monitor the operation of and maintain their pump.

    For diaphragm rupture protection, our best piece of equipment would be the Guardian System when used in conjunction with a Tapflo Barrier Pump. Designed and developed in the UK by Tapflo UK’s Technical Director, the Guardian System is unique to Tapflo and can be programmed for a range of scenarios including detection of a diaphragm rupture. Within the Tapflo network, you’ll typically hear this referred to as Barrier Protection and can go hand in hand with our Barrier Diaphragm Pump.

    Metal Barrier Diaphragm Pump

    Tapflo Metal Barrier Pump fitted with Guardian System

    Tapflo Barrier Pump

    The Tapflo Barrier Pump is a variation of the standard pump which gives the user an extra set of diaphragms to contain any fluid in the case of a rupture. A Barrier Pump contains a set of primary diaphragms (fluid side) and back up diaphragms (airside). Within a Diaphragm Pump, the diaphragms are moving parts under pressure; because of this, they present the greatest risk of failure. In the standard pump if the media being pumped penetrates the diaphragm the media will then flow through the centre of your pump, destroying it and in turn leaking out into the atmosphere. Barrier Protection puts a chamber between the fluid diaphragms and the airside which will keep the media from breaking into the atmosphere in the case of a diaphragm rupture.

    The Barrier Pump is available in both metal and HDPE/PTFE materials:

    Metal Barrier Pump

    HDPE/PTFE Barrier Pump

    What is a Guardian Monitoring System and how does this work with a Barrier Pump?

    Our Guardian System is a unique monitoring and energy conservation device designed and sold by Tapflo. The Guardian Unit, when fitted to a Barrier Pump, is used to monitor the pressure between the primary and back up diaphragms. In the case of the primary diaphragm rupturing, the Guardian System will detect a pressure change between the two diaphragms and cut the air supply to the pump; this contains the media within the pump and stops any potentially hazardous product from being exposed to the environment. The Guardian unit can also be set up to an alarm to the operator at the time of rupture, either with an audible alarm or by giving a signal to a PLC.

    What are the reasons for purchasing a pump with Barrier Protection over a standard pump?

    The choice to purchase a Barrier Pump is down to the end-user to specify, as Tapflo have criteria that, when hit, will trigger us to offer a Barrier Pump. For example, if the chemical being pumped is extremely hazardous and cannot come into contact with the operator, or another customer in the UK has a product that ignites when exposed to the atmosphere, this would make a Barrier pump the only sensible choice to ensure no flames! The flip side of hazardous is expensive; a number of barrier users have products they can’t afford to lose in the instance of a breakdown. Working with Tapflo to supply diaphragm rupture protection not only looks after the process media but helps to emphasise health and safety on your site.

    Does a Barrier Pump have any effect on the pump’s performance?

    Opting for a Barrier pump has NO effect on the pumps flow, pressures or overall performance. This makes opting for this system a no-brainer when pumping hazardous or expensive media.

    Are all diaphragms created equally?

    Simply put, no. There are some diaphragms available on the market that are designed better. A common problem with many diaphragms is that the layers are held together with a nut that goes through the middle of the diaphragms, however, this creates a weak spot for media to leak through and cause ruptures. Every Diaphragm Pump bought from Tapflo is supplied with no-nut, clean face diaphragms to offer diaphragm rupture protection.

    The diaphragms that we supply are manufactured from layers that are chemically bonded together with fabric reinforcement and a steel core that attaches to the diaphragm shaft within the pump. This steel core doesn’t go all the way through the diaphragm which ensures that no liquid comes into contact with it and helps to prevent leakages into the air supply of the pumps.

    Looking for spare diaphragms for your pump? Email the Tapflo UK team.

    Barrier Case Study

    Tapflo is well known to the chemical and petrochemical industry due to the work we have accomplished in the UK across the past 20 years. We offer reliable and efficient solutions, including this Barrier Pump with Guardian System Case Study that was offered to a customer to improve their system that was pumping extremely harsh chemicals that were wearing the diaphragms very quickly.

    If you have a  similar application or you’re looking to improve the protection of your Diaphragm Pump system, get in touch with our friendly experts.

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