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What You Need to Know to Pick Your Next Best Pump

posted by the Epiroc Exploration & OreBody Solutions team

January 15, 2020

Pumps are an essential piece of equipment on a diamond drilling site. They are responsible for getting water to the site and for lubricating the bore hole and flushing drill cuttings. For efficient operations, you will need a pump that will produce the same flow at a given speed, so drillers choose positive displacement pumps. Your pump also needs to be reliable so that operations do not stop. When you need to get a new pump, there are several important questions you need to ask yourself.

What do you need the pump to do?

Unless you get water trucked in to the site, you will need two pumps: a supply pump and a pressure pump. Each type of pump has a different function.  A supply pump is located next the water source and it pumps water to the drill site.  A pressure pump (usually powered by the drill), provides high pressure flow to the bit to lubricate, cool and flush cuttings.  Whichever you need, they should be positive displacement pumps that will move water from one point to another without losing water flow performance.

What are you pumping?

This is a key question. If you need a supply pump, then you will be pumping water and a triplex plunger pump will do the job. A triplex plunger pump has a solid ceramic cylinder with a series of rubber packing around the cylinder. The packing moves and causes the pumping action. When the packing goes back, it draws water in and when it moves forward it pushes water out. You can learn more about supply pumps in this blog. You can also use a piston pump as it will pump anything but you will need to run GOOD suction screens in order to keep the plunger pump intake clean.

But even if you are pumping only water, you should know what kind of water you are pumping. Will the water be clean water, salty water, recycled water or acidic water?  If the water is acidic, you need to consider the materials used in making the pump. Parts that are nickel-plated or stainless are more resistant to acidity and will last long.

As a rule, a plunger type pump is less expensive but is really tough and has long-wearing components. For example, an Elepump KF-40 is reasonably priced but still very robust. It is lightweight and has an aluminum body making it easy to transport.

Of course, if you need a pressure pump, the question of what you are pumping becomes very even more important. In the case of a pressure pump, you will need to choose between a triplex plunger and a triplex piston type pump and it will depend on the type of fluids you will be pumping. Will you be pumping slurries, bentonite, polymers or concrete mixes? Will you be cementing holes after the program is finished?

A piston pump is what you will need if you are planning to pump gritty or chunky fluids. A triplex piston pump has a cylinder with a ceramic face on the inside and the packing on the inside. The biggest advantage to a triplex piston pump is that it will pump pretty much anything including grit, concrete, cuttings, bentonite, sand and rocks. It has been to go-to pump in the industry for years. Due to its ball and seat valve system, it is tougher and doesn’t clog up with debris as easily. The Elepump KT 45 or KF 50M are both really solid mud pumps capable of handling anything you throw at them. Read more about choosing pressure pumps here.

How far are you pumping?

This is an important logistical question if you are buying a supply pump. You want to makes sure that the pump you get will be able to get the water to where it needs to go. Each pump has its own specifications in terms of gallons per minute (GPM) and pressure in pounds per square inch (PSI). You need to calculate the distance between the source of your water and the drill site to make sure the new pump will be strong enough to deliver. Elevation is also a consideration. If your water needs to climb up then you will need to account for this.

Choosing the right pump can be a complex decision especially when distance and elevation will enter into the equation. Rest assured that should you require any guidance or advice in choosing the right diesel engine for your pump, our technical team is ready to help. Contact us to learn more about triplex plunger or piston pumps and the kind of diesel engine you should get. Our goal is help improve your drilling performance and accelerate the transformation of our industry.

2020 Pumps, Assemblies & Parts Fordia