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How to Maintain a Diaphragm Pump

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    The best way to ensure your business is running smoothly and efficiently is by maintaining your pumps. Luckily, if you’ve purchased a Tapflo Diaphragm Pump, the simple design means easy maintenance that can be carried out on-site by you which means no expensive costs or long down times waiting for an engineer!

    If you aren’t already the proud owner of a Tapflo Diaphragm Pump, you should take a look at the full Diaphragm Pump & Accessories range.

    Below is Tapflo UK’s guide on maintaining your Diaphragm Pump written by our pump experts, to ensure your pump lives a long, healthy life!

    Remember: before disassembling or carrying out any maintenance on your pump you need to drain it of all liquid.

    1. Check and tighten the pump’s main nuts and bolts once a month. This will reduce the risk of your Diaphragm Pump leaking. Luckily, with a Tapflo Diaphragm Pump, there are considerably fewer bolts than the market standard Air Pump. Tightening torques are provided in the pump manual for reference.
    2. Check the seals on the connections to and from your Diaphragm Pump on a regular basis for wear, and make sure that they are airtight to ensure efficient operation.
    3. Checking your airline is essential for maintaining a Diaphragm Pump. The pump can only be run with dry & clean air; any contamination to your airline will cause the O-Rings on the air valve to fail and your pump to stall, causing damage to your Diaphragm Pump and potentially to its surrounding environment.
    4. Whilst it is often advertised that Diaphragm Pumps can be dry run, it is not advisable for indefinite periods of time as this will cause unnecessary damage and wear to your pump, as well as excess air consumption costs.

    If you’re worried that your Diaphragm Pump will be dry running for long periods of time, we can fit various accessories to automate your pump such as our:

    TPUK-BP(I) Pneumatic Batch Controller

    TPUK-LA / LM Pneumatic Level Controller

    PDRN Pneumatic Dry Run Protection Device (fitted with our Guardian System)

    EDRH Electronic Dry Run & Dead Head Protection System

    All of these systems either automate the operation of the pump to ensure that it only works when it needs to, or protect the pump in case it runs dry for undesirable periods of time.

    1. Diaphragm Pumps stall when operated against a dead head/closed valve and start again when the line becomes clear, however, this can put excess strain on the air valve and there is a 1 in 10 chance that the air valve can stick, causing unnecessary downtime. In order to prevent this, you can opt to install one of our protection systems, listed below:
      • PDHR Pneumatic Dead Head Stop & Automatic Restart Protection System
      • PDHS Pneumatic Dead Head Stop & Remain Stopped Protection System
      • EDRH Electronic Dry Run & Dead Head Protection System

    These devices will protect the pump and ensure efficient and trouble-free operation under the aforementioned conditions.

    1. Check the diaphragms for wear. If you swap to a Tapflo Diaphragm Pump, you’ll be supplied with diaphragms that have a completely smooth, no-nut face.No-nut diaphragm design

    Unlike the standard design of diaphragms, Tapflo supply diaphragms that are manufactured from chemically bonded components with fabric reinforcement and a steel core, which attaches to the diaphragm shaft. The steel core does not go through the whole diaphragm, which ensures no liquid comes into contact with the metal nut and seal. This prevents leakage through the diaphragm into the air side of the pump, making it clearly a superior design of diaphragm. Under specific test conditions, Tapflo Diaphragms have been tested to last up to 80 million cycles before failure and, according to customer testimonials, can last up to 2-3 times longer than our competition.

    To facilitate a preventative maintenance schedule, you can install our Life Counter which registers the number of strokes the pump has made since its install or last diaphragm change. This means that your process isn’t interrupted by undesirable downtimes, which can result in losses of production and expensive downtime. The counter can be re-set via a removable key once the diaphragms have been replaced.

    For process-critical applications, you can also purchase or upgrade your pump to our Barrier design with our PDFM Pneumatic Diaphragm Failure Monitoring System. This provides back up diaphragms behind the primary working ones with a pressure monitoring system between them. This will automatically stop the pump in case of a breach of the primary diaphragms and can also send an alarm signal to a central control system or sound an alarm to indicate failure.

    Diaphragm Pump with Guardian control system

    1. Diaphragm Pump with valve liftIf the pump is working on sticky products or in frosty conditions, the ball valves can stick to their seats. Make sure you regularly check and ensure that the balls are free moving on their seats. This can be done by cleaning the pump after operation via a CIP or SIP procedure or, for our Metal Series, you can install our TL Valve Lifting System, which enables operators to either manually lift the balls off their seats or they can be pneumatically or electronically actuated for remote control.

    For our Sanitary Diaphragm Pump Series, you can also employ our Magnetic Ball Lifters. This completely drains the pump of any excess fluid and residue left in the pump when it has completed its operation, without removing it from the system. This can also be useful when rotating the pump on its stand isn’t a possibility due to fixed pipework installations or limited space availability.

    1. We suggest inspecting your Diaphragm Pump regularly. A schedule for the complete inspection of your pump will depend on the application that it is being used for, taking into account the product, temperature and material that the pump is manufactured from; talk to the Tapflo team if you are unsure of how often this should be. Here at Tapflo, we recommend that your Diaphragm Pump has a complete inspection at least once a year at a minimum.

    To facilitate easy maintenance of our Diaphragm Pumps, you can purchase 3 different kits which enable complete overhaul of our Diaphragm Pump range.

    Liquid Kits – Contain Diaphragms, Inlet & Outlet O-Rings & Gaskets, Valve Balls & Valve Seat O-Rings

    Air Kits – Contain Inlet & Outlet O-Rings, Air Valve, Diaphragm Shaft, Shaft Seals, Shaft Seal O-Rings & Muffler

    Valve Kits – Contain Upper & Lower Seats, Spacer Sleeve & Ball Stops

    Each kit is delivered in a separate custom made box labelled with a part number & description of the contents, information about original spare parts and a QR code which, when scanned, downloads the manual of the pump in question.

    Diaphragm Pump maintenance kits

    If you’re looking for help with maintaining a Diaphragm Pump, let us know and we can either send over a manual or a video link to the assembly and disassembly of your pump to ensure that the maintenance procedure is carried out correctly.

    If you’re having trouble with your Diaphragm Pump, check out our Air-Operated Double Diaphragm Pump Troubleshooting page where we’ll run you through the problem, the potential fault and a possible solution.

    If you need any additional help, get in contact with us and we can advise you on the best course of action for restoring your pump to its top working order. We can also send you a Typical Malfunctions Presentation which details and runs through the most common faults and causes of failure in our pumps with photographic support. This will aid you in analysing the issues you have been having and their solutions.

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