Sergio Avila is the Almatec product specialist with Pump Solutions Group (PSG). Almatec is one of the world's leading manufacturers of solid-body plastic, air-operated double-diaphragm (AODD) pumps.
The pump's structure allows all housing bolts to be tightened against a diaphragm-sized ring on each side of the liquid housing. This creates a greater and more even compression at the sealing surfaces, which results in increased safety.
Other critical parts of the pump's construction are the pump housing, valves and air valve. The pump housing can be made from many types of material. Some popular plastic materials of construction are polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), polypropylene, polyethylene and acetal. Stainless steel, aluminum and cast iron can also be used, but they are not as compatible with the chemicals and abrasives that are used in solar-cell construction. The pump's check valves are ball-type valves that fit snugly with the valve seat to ensure that the pump chambers are completely sealed. The air valve, which is sealed off from the pump chambers by the diaphragm, handles the variable displacement of air behind the diaphragm.
In addition, the characteristics of the AODD pump design offer many other benefits, including:
- The absence of an axle seal or other lubricated parts, which allows the pumps to run dry
- The pump's capacity can be adjusted by increasing or decreasing the air pressure or air volume
- The pump will shut down automatically if the discharge pressure exceeds the air pressure
The diaphragm used in advanced solid body AODD pumps are available in EPDM or PTFE/EPDM, while components such as ball valves are available in EPDM or PTFE, with the cylinder valves constructed of PTFE.
AODD pumps are self-priming and provide gentle displacement of fluids. The compact, solid design makes these advanced AODD pumps easy to install and provide unattended operation with long service life. The pumps are easy to start up and also include an integrated muffler. Options such as a screw-on pulsation damper, draining system, barrier chamber system, diaphragm monitor, stroke counting and flange connection are also available in some models.
Solar cells are expensive to produce. They will also be expensive to buy, limiting the solar industry's growth potential. Selecting the right pump for use in solar-cell applications can help ensure that the production process is completed in the most cost-effective, error-free and efficient manner possible. Putting an end to undesired production downtimes that can incur enormous production costs is a must when the bottom line depends on it. When solar-cell manufacturers are looking for pumping solutions that they can totally rely on to be efficient and maintenance free, the clear choice is to use plastic AODD pumps.
Pumps & Systems, August 2011