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Guide to Industrial Pumps

By OTC Insights Team on June 27, 2022

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OTC Insights Team

Established in 1963, OTC Industrial Technologies is one of the largest industrial distributors & service providers in the United States. We're committed to seeing industrial operations advance through expert technical solutions & unmatched support using our years of experience.

Not every pump is created equal.

Industrial pumps are specifically designed and built for use in heavy-duty work, moving materials such as water, chemicals, oil, and food ingredients. They provide a critical function to numerous industrial and manufacturing applications.

Because there are so many different needs for industrial pumps — materials to move, action on the material, agitation before or after the movement, flow rate, capacity, characteristics of the material, and more — it is critical to use the right pump for your needs.


Types of Pumps

Our OTC Industrial Technologies team developed this pump guide to assist you in determining which pump is suitable for your needs. While this guide can help with reviewing the available types of pumps, helping you to narrow your choices, it is also important to consult with the experts at OTC to discuss your needs to ensure you have the most efficient and effective pump solution.

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Centrifugal Pumps

With a simple, efficient design, centrifugal pumps are one of the most commonly used pump types for a variety of activities and applications. These pumps are the best option for liquids with lower viscosity and processes with a higher flow rate.

ANSI Process Pumps

A type of centrifugal pump, ANSI process pumps provide more numerous material options for construction than other pumps. Additionally, they incorporate dimensional standardization and horizontal end suction with a centerline discharge, allowing the piping, foundation, and design to be modified before the pump is built.

API Process Pumps

Designed around an end suction centrifugal pump that operates in high-temperature and high-pressure liquids, they are used primarily for the oil, gas, and energy industries. These pumps meet the 610 API requirements, which ensure safety and reliability for hydrocarbon applications.

Axial Flow Pumps

Using a curved propeller as an impeller to generate liquid flow, rather than the fan-like propeller on a radial flow centrifugal pump, axial flow pumps are an excellent option if you are looking for a very high flow rate and very low heat.

Booster Pumps

Working between the source of the liquid and the endpoint of the process, such as a faucet, booster pumps utilize pressure for moving liquids a longer distance. These pumps work better in conjunction with other pumps.

Piston Pumps

Using a reciprocating piston to move liquid using pressure and direct displacement, piston pumps are best for managing and moving abrasive liquids.

Progressive Cavity Pumps

Also referred to as the last resort pump, these pumps can accommodate and handle difficult liquids that other pumps cannot manage. In these pumps, a rotor moves liquid through a series of small, discrete, and fixed-shape cavities.

Screw Pumps

Screw pumps, also known as water screws, are positive displacement pumps using one or more screws rotating in a cavity to impart motion to the liquid. They offer the highest flow rate of all positive displacement pumps.

Gear Pumps

A common pump in hydraulic power applications, these pumps use meshing gears to move liquid. Gear pumps have very few moving parts, making them the best choice for clean oil applications and chemical applications with high viscosity liquids.

Lobe Pumps

These are positive displacement pumps using lobes that don't touch to move the liquid. Lobe pumps are the best option for sanitary applications, which pump liquids that are viscous or have fragile solids which require no metal-to-metal contact with the pump.

Diaphragm Pumps

Positive displacement pumps, and by far one of the most versatile types of pumps, diaphragm pumps can handle a wide range of liquids. These pumps are seamless and can run dry without causing damage to the pump. They use valves on the sides of the diaphragm to move the liquid.

Vertical Sump Pumps

With a pump head placed in the liquid and the motor above the head and kept dry, these pumps can be used with liquids containing clean or slightly contaminated liquids, as well as liquids with large solids. They are an affordable option for industrial applications. 

Vertical Turbine Pumps

Also known as line shaft turbine pumps, these centrifugal pumps can be submerged with the motor under the liquid. These are multistage pumps using a radial flow impeller, and are an excellent choice for deep wells

Submersible Pumps

With the electric motor hermetically sealed and coupled with the body of the pump, these pumps are designed to be submerged in the liquid, pushing the liquid to the surface. They work well in areas prone to flooding, eliminating the need for a column shaft and bearings that are typically found in column sump pumps.

Self-Priming Pumps

Self-priming pumps eliminate the need for external priming. This makes the self-priming pump the best option for applications that require intermittent use, offering additional efficiencies.

Multistage Pumps

Centrifugal pumps with a series of impellers in a series of stages, these pumps provide the most efficient way to get high pressure with a centrifugal pump while also having low thrust loads. They are often used in high-pressure cleaning and pressure boosting.

Magnetic Drive Pumps

Designed around a magnetically driven chemical process, these pumps don’t have mechanical seals or require shaft sealing and are leak free by design while reducing the cost of pump operation. A drive magnet and an inner magnet separated by the casing create motion for the impeller and the liquid.

Horizontal Split Case Pumps

These centrifugal pumps use two distinct chambers, making them highly efficient, quiet, and easier to service.

Get in Touch with Our Industrial Pump Experts at OTC

Keep in mind, this is not an all-inclusive list of the available pumps, but it provides an excellent overview of many different types and their best uses. Think of it as a starting point as you plan a pump purchase. Many companies will find they need additional service or modifications to increase efficiency and optimize the solution.

Contact us to learn more or set up an appointment to talk to our experts about your needs for a pump. OTC Industrial Technologies is here to help you grow your business with premier product lines, innovative solutions, and unparalleled technical expertise. Reach out to our team today for any questions and assistance when it comes to industrial pumps and industrial pump applications!