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PPMA Award Innovative Processing System

onv 17 23PPMA Award Innovative Processing System

Tapflo Group is a global manufacturer and supplier of Air Operated Diaphragm Pumps, Centrifugal Pumps and other industrial process equipment. Tapflo UK Ltd was established in 1998 and has been working within the UK industrial, food and beverage, chemical, petrochemical, energy, water treatment, surface treatment, automation and nuclear sectors ever since. With a team of over 30 people, and growing, (Read More) based in the UK with national and international coverage, Tapflo prides itself on its attention to detail and high quality products and services. Working closely with customers and supply partners, Tapflo UK provides comprehensive solutions to all fluid and powder processing applications.

Tapflo Group is a global manufacturer and supplier of Air Operated Diaphragm Pumps, Centrifugal Pumps and other industrial process equipment. Tapflo UK Ltd was established in 1998 and has been working within the UK industrial, food and beverage, chemical, petrochemical, energy, water treatment, surface treatment, automation and nuclear sectors ever since. With a team of over 30 people, and growing, based in the UK with national and international coverage, Tapflo prides itself on its attention to detail and high quality products and services. Working closely with customers and supply partners, Tapflo UK provides comprehensive solutions to all fluid and powder processing applications.

Summary

From its humble beginnings, Tapflo UK Ltd has grown to become a leading supplier of industrial and hygienic process pumps, systems and spears. The company’s belief is to become more than just another pump distributor; Team Tapflo strives to mould the company as an engineering centre offering equipment, engineered to order solutions for any process need, which are designed and built straight out of the facility here in the UK. Throughout the years, working closely with the customers, listening to their needs and looking at the market demand, Tapflo has addressed the energy conservation issue through the design, development, and just recently, the launch of the LEAP® Technology (Low Energy Air Pump) on a global scale.

As a result, Tapflo UK has been recognised for its commitment in developing a product that provides customers not only with the highest performance in the process application but also the lowest energy consumption of its category with significant annual saving. The British LEAP® Technology after being announced to the Tapflo Group during the annual assembly in Vietnam, last May 2017, it has aroused great interest from all 72 global Tapflo Partners. Under great demand, LEAP® Technology has evolved in a new series of Intelligent Diaphragm Pump, the TC range, which is now available for a worldwide distribution.  

Entry

Problem/Challenge

At the base of the development of LEAP® Technology was the question of how to reduce the waste of air pressure during the run of the pump and still keep high performances during the process. Typically, air operated double diaphragm pumps require a minimum air supply pressure of >1.2 bar to operate. Often the pump runs at ‘mains pressure’, which is significantly much higher than what the application requires. This results in a significant amount of wasted compressed air energy, reduced life of the parts and elevated noise levels during operation.

During recent years, the demand for a more efficient air operated pump was growing in the market. Distributors were looking to provide customers for a more reliable and well-made Diaphragm Pump solution that could provide the end user with feedback, precise control functionality and a cut in the energy costs. Tapflo UK Ltd. was already known by many in the industry for suppling the most trusted and reliable equipment on the market for industrial and hygienic process pumps, when enquiries on the patented British LEAP® Technology, and its ingenious operating principle, started arousing. Thanks to its claimed performances over any other air operated pump available on the market, LEAP® has started building its success.

Among many successful stories of applied LEAP® Technology to the pump processing system, the case of a UK’s Chemical Manufacturing Plant demonstrated remarkable results in reducing energy consumption in the manufacturing process and extra cuts in maintenance costs. This case was introduced to the Tapflo UK’s Team from one of its distributors. The distributor contacted the British Team to assess the problems that its customer was having with an existing pump system and see whether there was a way of improving the reliability of the equipment, and at the same time reducing down time and spares costs. Overall the aim was to simplify the operation whilst retaining flexibility with the changes in demand by the production lines. The distributor’s customer, the Chemical Manufacturing Plant, had its current system based on a complex, electrically driven, multi-headed diaphragm pump dosing system, which costed approximately £10.000 in a year for 4 pump systems on maintenance contracts, as well as, over £800.00 per diaphragm on the main product feed heads to replace each year. Due to the complexity of the pump system, downtime was also lengthy, costing the site thousands of pounds every time they needed to do any maintenance on the pumps.

Additional problems were also given by the fluid pumped. The fluid was pumping to a low temperature monomer which acts as a coagulant. This proved to be an issue for both mechanically sealed and mag drive pumping technologies, suggesting that the application of a diaphragm pump was the only obvious solution for this system. However, standard diaphragm pumps required maximum amount of compressed air to operate, increasing running costs and high energy consumption.   This air operated pump processing system would have required a fairly complex control gear to be integrated into their central control system in order to modulate the pumps and to maintain an accurate feed into the production lines, adding additional costs to the already costly pump system.

Overall, the all system was set to be inefficient and costly, affecting not only the entire manufacturing process performance but also the all Chemical Manufacturing Plant business. The plant needed a complete switch and the introduction of a more sustainable energy management for its pump systems.  

Solution

Further to the initial site visit and report analysis on the existing installation, the end user was recommended to integrate the existing pump systems with LEAP® Technology. The unique and patented technology offered many features and benefits perfect for resolving the end users issues with their existing units.

LEAP® integration allowed the full digital control and feedback of the pump, enabling the end user to monitor the pump’s operation and control the performance accurately, whilst retaining all the intrinsic benefits of a standard air operated diaphragm pump. The LEAP® control module provided an electrical feedback signal, triggered at the end of each stroke of the diaphragms, which allowed the external monitoring of the pump performance within the main process control system. When the pump is used in conjunction with the digital proportional control valve, the end user is also able to control the pump as if it was fitted with an electric motor and inverter system, providing seamless performance control via a 4-20 mA signal.

Additional benefits provided from the integration of LEAP® Technology also included a Batch Dispensing control, allowing the counting of the strokes of the diaphragms and stopping the pump after the required volume has been dispensed. The pumps also were able to control the Dry Running status, which by analysing the frequency of the pulses, it is possible to monitor whether the pump is dry running or not. When the pump starts to dry run the frequency of the pulses will increase. The pumps also supplied control on Dead Heading, monitoring when the frequency of the pulses slows down or stops, meaning that the pump has deadheaded and indicating a closed valve operation or a blockage in the pipework.

As last, the integration provided full control on Flow Monitoring, which allowed the counting of the frequency of the pulses and also the monitoring of the flow rate of the media in the process. This is achievable as the diaphragms displace a set amount of fluid per stroke and by multiplying these strokes by the volume displaced per stroke, it provides an accurate indication of the flow. In the case of this specific end user, the team proposed the wiring in of a Coreolis flow meter with pulse feedback into their system, providing real time monitoring of flow for an even greater degree of accuracy. Coreolis Flow Meters are usually never used with diaphragm pumps as they are susceptible to pulsing flow. However, with LEAP® the pulsing effect (usually associated with the traditional diaphragm pumps) is reduced to minimum allowing the use of these monitor system without the hassle.  

Outcome

The LEAP® Technology was originally designed to vastly reduced air consumption and provide ultra-low start up pressure. Usually, the proportion of energy used to produce compressed air varies between business sectors but it can be as much as 30%. With LEAP® Technology, as little as 8% of the total energy supplied by an air compressor is actually converted into compressed air at the point of use. The LEAP® pump is able to start pumping at 0.1 bar with no stalling. During tests, pumps integrated with LEAP® were already achieving flow rates of 70% of its maximum open end flow before other pumps had even started. In the case of this specific end user, after swapping their pumps to LEAP® Technology the affiliated energy costs to operate their lines was significantly reduced and kept to an absolute minimum.

Often, to operate a standard 2” AODD (like the ones used in the Chemical Manufacturing Plant) running at 150 l/min @ 1 bar discharge pressure over a complete 5 day working period would cost an average of £1,843.20 per year (based on the British Compressed Air Society; figures including £0.01 – £0.03 to produce 1000 litres of compressed air). Switching to a LEAP® unit saved the end user about £652.64 each year per pump with a total energy saving of £2,610 in total compared to the application of traditional air operated pumps.

Moreover, when running numerous pumps on site, any cost savings that can be made offer a significant effect on the end users energy costs. As commonly known, the air operated diaphragm pumps are among the most expensive equipment to maintain. Many of this pumps will be working 24/7; parts replacement can cost up to £2,000.00 in a year for a 2” pump. As part of the innovative original Tapflo Diaphragm Pump, which has approx. 70% less parts than other diaphragm pumps on the market, LEAP® offers all the Tapflo’s diaphragm pumps benefits plus more. The Air Valve used within the LEAP® has a significantly longer life expectancy over traditional rubber seal technology. Tapflo UK has developed its own air valve for use within the LEAP® Technology, using a lapped spool and sleeve construction. This method provides a life expectancy in excess of 200 million cycles. When the air valve finally needs replacing, it can be removed without the hassle to pull apart the side plates and diaphragms. It is done by simply removing 2 retaining screws and pushing the valve spool out through the access hole within the pump housing. The pump can remain in the pipework whilst this is done, reducing significantly any other downtime costs.

With the integration of LEAP® Technology in the pump systems, the end user was free from all the expensive maintenance contracts costs.  The new pump systems allow the user to maintain the pumps by themselves, avoiding downtime, loss of production costs and the costs of spares. If calculating the total savings, by switching to LEAP® this end user was able to save over £ 45,000 per year, including maintenance costs, spare parts and energy bills.

For further information please visit:
www.tapflopumps.co.uk