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For effective oil separation, the pump that feeds an oil separator must be suitable to pump the mixture without emulsifying the oil. Suparator® systems are supplied with three types of pumps; electric driven diaphragm pumps, progressing cavity pumps or double diaphragm pumps. Every pump is supplied with the proper controls.

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What is important

A 24 series electric driven diaphragm pump.Pumps are an important component in any Suparator® installation. Although the use of pumps is common throughout industry, for oil/water separation, selecting the correct pump is critical and not as easy as it might seem.

Centrifugal pumps, used in 90% of the pump applications, are not suitable because the pumping mechanism creates high shear forces which break up oil into very fine drops. Centrifugal pumps turn oil/water mixtures into emulsions that are difficult to split.

Positive displacement pumps are a much better solution. This range of pumps includes hose pumps, double diaphragm pumps, progressing cavity pumps, impeller pumps, gear pumps and many more. However, not all types of positive displacement pumps are suitable. Issues like shear forces, exercised on the fluid, fluid viscosity and compatibility with temperature, chemicals and other process parameters come into play.

Suparator® systems are supplied with carefully selected and configured pumps to guarantee optimal performance in all applications. Three different types are used: electric driven diaphragm pumps, progressing cavity pumps and air driven double diaphragm pumps.

Double diaphragm pumps.

Although not the preferred solution, there are a number of advantages in using this type of pumps. Since the pump is air driven it is intrinsically explosion proof. Pump parts are available in an extensive range of materials so chemical compatibility will be less of a problem. The pump is capable of passing abrasive fluids without too much problem. The draw back is that the pumping action may emulsify the oil.

Type I progressing cavity (only available in the USA).

A simple and reliable pump; easy to maintain and very suitable for the application if configured in the correct way.
Suction and discharge characteristics are not impressive but in many applications there is no need for this.

Type II progressing cavity.

A very rugged and reliable pump type with excellent performance characteristics in both suction and discharge. This makes it possible to place the pump at a considerable distance from, or considerably higher(!) than, the tank or bath it pumps from. Low revolution rates warrant a smooth pumping action and ideal forwarding of the oil/water mixture.


Reliability is a primary issue, particularly since oil/water separation systems tend to get little to no attention. Suparator® systems and installations are configured for unattended operation; 24 hours/day, 7 days/week. This is only possible if the proper controls are fitted. Pump control systems supplied with Suparator® installations are matched to the selected pump and specific process conditions and requirements and can include:

  • Run dry protection
  • Pump overload protection
  • Variable frequency drives
  • Pump on/off control
  • Overflow protection
  • Overflow shut-off controls