Get the latest weekly fluid news direct to your inbox.

Sign up for our free newsletter now.

New pumps boost paper mill’s metering accuracy

St Cuthberts
St Cuthberts

Based near Wells in Somerset, St Cuthberts Mill specialises in the manufacture of high-quality artists’ papers. With a heritage that can be traced back to the 1700s, the company makes approximately 80 tonnes of paper every month using a continental shift pattern across 24/7 operations. The secret of the company’s success lies in the performance of its papers, which can be used for watercolour, printmaking or inkjet use.


“Reliability is the key to our output,” explained the company’s shift manager Paul Tremlett. As a result, we need pumps that perform reliably, day-in, day-out.” 


Until recently, St Cuthberts used a series of older peristaltic pumps, some of which were installed 20 years ago. Recently, they switched to Qdos pump technology from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) for metering substances such as pigment and starch.


“We wanted to move into the 21st century, and knew that the Qdos pumps could offer us a number of key advantages,” said Tremlett. “For instance, the pumps can be linked to the machine’s control system, so we can change speed accordingly.

Since installation, the Qdos pumps have run with complete reliability, boosted precision considerably and saved thousands of pounds due to precise shade and chemical addition control and a reduction in downtime, associated with a previously deployed pump.


Application challenge

The company currently has two Qdos 120 pumps and two Qdos 30 models for metering of pigments and starch, with two more Qdos 30 pumps on order. What’s more, all papers produced by St Cuthberts are internally sized to increase strength. This process involves the addition of a special chemical – also pumped using Qdos technology – to make the sheet stronger and eliminate any possibility of blotting effects

Qdos pumps are self-priming and reversible, so fluids can be returned to source at the end of a shift. Their design inherently reduces maintenance as operators can quickly and safely replace one component, the ReNu pumphead, without the need for tools or special skills. Cleaning times are also minimised – thus delivering further efficiencies to the St Cuthbert’s team. Crucially, from a health and safety perspective integral leak detection reduces wastage and eliminates mill operator exposure to chemicals.

“The machine crew here loves the Qdos pumps as they are so reliable; we’ve not had a single glitch even when handling the abrasive starch. The pumps offer high accuracy metering, which helps maximise trust in the product,” states Tremlett.

Flow rates from 0.1 to 2000ml/min at up to 7 bar can be achieved using Qdos pumps. Importantly, simple drop-in installation eliminates the need for ancillary equipment which often brings with it further maintenance challenges and costs.

WMFTG (Watson-Marlow) is a manufacturer of niche peristaltic pumps and associated fluid path technologies for the food, pharmaceutical, chemical and environmental industries. The international organisation is headquartered in Falmouth, Cornwall, UK.


St Cuthberts