Fluid Metering Inc. Blog

Understanding Pump Accuracy

Aug 2, 2022 8:41:02 PM / by Luis Cajas

In order for a pump to perform for a long period of time, it needs to maintain a high level of accuracy. If a pump's accuracy and repeatability changes over time, it will decrease the overall performance of the pump, and can possibly even render the pump useless. How can a user maintain accuracy and ensure that pumps remain reliable and repeatable over time? Here's a closer look at what you need to know:

Why It's Important to Maintain Pump Accuracy Over Time

FMI accuracy_precision graph

The bottom line - pumps need to be precise, accurate, and provide long-repeatability because they are inherent functional requirements for proper fluid control measures. While accuracy is important in all pump applications, it's a crucial factor in the medical industry. Even the slightest deviation in accuracy could affect clinical decision making and diagnosis based on the test results obtained from medical diagnostic instrumentation and the reliability of the fluid control component integrated into the system.

The same is true of industrial applications. Some users only need to add a certain amount of fluid to a mixture. Add too much or too little, and the final product could be skewed and the end quality significantly altered. Accuracy, precision and repeatability are crucial when it comes to pumps and streamlining efficiency and effectiveness.

The Role of Pump Calibration in Pump Accuracy

Calibration is important for ensuring pump accuracy - and there are a few key factors that play into calibration. One is the fluid type that the pump is processing, as understanding the likes of fluid density and viscosity are important for calibration.

At Fluid Metering, we work with customers to fine-tune calibration in-house before shipping them the pump. This step eliminates calibration error from the equation so that end users can begin using the pump right out of the box. Though there are some exceptions, once the pump is calibrated correctly, it maintains drift free accuracy, precision and repeatability for millions of maintenance free cycles without repair or recalibration.

Over time, calibration may need to be adjusted based on the type of pump that is being used. For instance, a diaphragm or syringe pump may not maintain accuracy as well as other types of pumps.

What Factors Impact Accuracy?

Here's a look at some of the key factors that impact pump accuracy:

  • The type of fluid that is being processed.
  • The temperature of the fluid.
  • The viscosity of the fluid.
  • The density of the fluid.
  • Worn or damaged parts of the pump.
  • Pressure constant. For instance, if pump pressure fluctuates, so too will the accuracy.
  • The speed at which the fluid needs to be delivered.

Which Fluid Metering Pumps are Suggested for High Accuracy?

As mentioned above, there are many factors that can impact the accuracy of a pump. However, if users require a pump to be extremely accurate, there are a few pumps the experts at Fluid Metering always recommend starting with. There are many variations of these models, so these pumps can be customized to meet a user's exact needs and calibrated in-house to ensure accuracy.

 

How to Solve for Maintaining Pump Accuracy (and Calibration's Role)

pump_accuracy_imgThere are several ways to maintain pump accuracy. One of the easiest ways is by adjusting the type of motor used to work with the pump. Stepper motors, for instance, work with Fluid Metering pump heads and have a high level of repeatability and reliability. In other words, they can stop in the same spot over and over again, and tend to be much more reliable than a DC or other type of motor.

Another thing to look out for is damage to the pump. Lip seals are a common area of wear and tear on pumps, but the good news is that they can be easily replaced. If an end user is working with a pre-calibrated pump and damaged lip seals are replaced, the pump should go back to its original calibration without issue. In other instances, the pump body or pump head may need to be replaced.

It's also worth mentioning again that it's imperative to understand fluid being used with the pump. If the fluid changes, the calibration is likely to change as well. And some fluids require more pump maintenance than others. For instance, if you're working with a crystal-forming fluid, the system is going to need to be flushed to prevent buildup and damage to the pump.

Questions to Ask When Searching for Answers on How to Calibrate a Pump to Maintain Accuracy

What are some common causes of your pump being out of calibration?

From wear and tear on the pump or pump components to changes in the fluid being processed to the type of motor that is powering the pump, there are various reasons why a pump's calibration may be altered.

What fluids may cause a problem with maintaining pump accuracy?

High viscosity, dense or crystal-forming fluids can create problems with maintaining pump accuracy and repeatability over time.

Does air impact the calibration of the pump?

If air bubbles enter the pump and play a role in the process, it can impact pump calibration.

Contact Fluid Metering, Inc. Today

For more information on how to maintain pump accuracy and the role pump calibration plays, contact Fluid Metering, Inc. today.

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Tags: Metering Pumps

Luis Cajas

Written by Luis Cajas