Centrifugal, or turbine, pumps are highly versatile, efficient, and found in a wide variety of industrial and construction applications. They can accommodate a huge range of flow rates, pressures, and fluid viscosities. Fundamentally, turbine pumps can be used with nearly any sort of liquid, adding to their overall value.
However, when choosing between centrifugal pumps for your application, there is a major consideration to make: do you install a horizontal or vertical turbine pump?
Outlining the Differences Between A Horizontal and Vertical Turbine Pump
The basic difference is exactly what you would expect from the names, whether the pump is oriented horizontally or vertically. In either case, the pump usually overhangs the material being pumped. Despite the similarities in operation, however, there are still some major differences between horizontal and vertical turbine pumps to consider.
- Horizontal turbine pumps
One of the biggest overall benefits to horizontal pumps is that they are relatively compact. This makes them easy to fit into smaller spaces, as well as easier to work on. It’s easy to get at the primary internal mechanisms. Your maintenance crew will often appreciate a horizontal pump, and you may even save a bit on maintenance costs due to the ease of work.
There are also plenty of configurations available for horizontal pumps. An overhang design is best for low suction pressure applications, while an in-bearing shaft design is better for high suction. Likewise, different nozzle configurations allow for discharge at the top, end, or sides.
However, be aware of a couple of drawbacks. The overall pressure achieved will be lower than with vertical pumps. Also, they are unsuitable for applications where the Net Positive Suction Head (NPSH) required is higher than the NPSH available.
- Vertical turbine pumps
Vertical pumps are somewhat more specialized in their applications, but vital when their capabilities are called for. Their biggest advantage over horizontal pumps is that their NPSH can be altered, making them suitable for jobs with a high NPSH requirement. Also, vertical pumps are a better choice for liquids which will be at high temperatures and/or under high pressure.
However, as they require significant headroom, they can be difficult to both install and maintain. Also, balancing their axial thrust can likewise be difficult, especially at high pressures. In addition, they are fundamentally unsuited for pumping liquids with a high concentration of dissolved gasses.
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