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Peristaltic pumps – what you need to know

Head of Peristaltic pump LAMBDA PRECIFLOW. By Miropiro, www.peristalticpump.info/, www.schlauch-pumpen.com (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Head of Peristaltic pump LAMBDA PRECIFLOW. By Miropiro, www.peristalticpump.info/, www.schlauch-pumpen.com (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

How do peristaltic pumps work?

Peristaltic pumps can be used for pumping a variety of different fluids in a range of different applications. They work based on an alternating compression and relaxation of the pump’s flexible hose or tube, which is achieved by running the flexible tubing through a rotating shoe or roller. This process draws content in and then propels it away from the pump.

The peristaltic pump principle gets its name from peristalsis, the series of muscle contractions that moves food through the human digestive system. Peristaltic pumps work in a similar way.

 

The advantages of peristaltic pumps

  • A key feature of peristaltic pumps is that the media being pumped is confined to the tubing. This prevents the pump contaminating the fluid, and the fluid contaminating the pump. This provides a number of benefits in both health and safety. It also means the pumps can be used for a variety of fluids, including highly abrasive ones, by choosing the appropriate peristaltic tubing.
  • Peristaltic pumps are dry running and self-priming. They do not require pumped fluid to be continuously present, and can start running when dry and then draw fluid into the tubing. This removes the inconvenience of having to fill the pump prior to use, as well as reducing the risk of potentially hazardous accidents.
  • ‘Gentle’ pumping action. This makes peristaltic pumps ideal for shear sensitive products such as flocculants and broths.
  • Long-life and low maintenance. Generally speaking, the only replacement part is the hose or tube, which is relatively inexpensive. The hose is only likely to fail due to fatigue, or chemical action. Because the fluid only comes into contact with the hose, there is no need to clean components of the pump such as valves.
  • Compatible with a variety of fluids, including slurries.

 

What applications are peristaltic pumps used in?

Peristaltic pumps are used in a variety of industries, including food manufacturing, chemical handling, water and wastewater, and engineering and manufacturing.

Some examples of applications where peristaltic pumps are used include:

  • Pharmaceutical production
  • Handling hazardous chemicals
  • Chemical transfer
  • Chemical process metering.
  • Accurate dosing in lab situations
  • Transfer of fuels and lubricants

 

Major peristaltic pump manufacturers

There are a number of companies that specialise in the manufacture of peristaltic pumps. These include Graco, Watson-Marlow, Castle Pumps and Verderflex.

 

Head of Peristaltic pump LAMBDA PRECIFLOW. By Miropiro, www.peristalticpump.info/, www.schlauch-pumpen.com (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons