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Pump, Process Equipment Shortages Update

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Penguin Series P Sealless Vertical Pumps

We’re stocking more and more pumps and parts such as these Penguin Series P vertical sealless pumps.

Supply chain disruptions may no longer grab the headlines on the nightly news but for manufacturers depending on every minute of production to stay afloat, shortages and lead time delays continue to wreak havoc on a daily basis. It’s devastating when a common wear part fails, a production line shuts down, and the purchasing manager finds out the replacement part is unavailable or back ordered with a three-month lead time. Unfortunately, it’s tough to know exactly what products and parts are in short supply until it is too late.

We are seeing major delays in electronics for heaters, controllers, heating components, and PVDF materials for both vertical sealless pumps and centrifugal magnetically driven pumps. How long is a major delay? With heaters and controllers, the lead times can be upwards of 16-20 weeks. Try managing a production shutdown for five months.

We have increased our stock of Penguin vertical pump and motor assemblies, and thermostats for Process Technology controllers, and we’ve assembled and added more Wilden pump repair kits, among other purchases.

We recommend you do the same. Stock backups of any part or product that can shut your production down if it becomes unavailable. Start with getting repair kits for all of your AODD pumps, get extra motors and impellers for any vertical pumps, wet end kits for magnetically driven pumps, and/or complete pump units as the budget allows. Pump manufacturers often discontinue models and getting your hands on exactly the right replacement in the event of a failure is proving to be quite a challenge for many frustrated plant managers.

We also recommend avoiding pump and process equipment failures in the first place by performing preventative maintenance. In metal plating, for example, the material that strips off the cleaned parts can build up on the heaters and cause premature failures. But this is entirely avoidable with routine cleaning. Similarly, it doesn’t take long to check the diaphragms of an air operated double diaphragm pump to make sure there’s no leakage. Catch any leakage before a failure and it’s a relatively easy kit replacement. But waiting until a failure can invite a much bigger disaster.

We help our customers avoid disasters and when a customer calls us in a bind, scrambling for a rush part or product, we try to drop everything and ship out the exact part or product immediately. Of course, even we can’t stock every pump, heater, and component in our warehouse. But we can often find the solution within our extensive network of manufacturers. Or, we can find an alternative solution that is more readily available.

Times are crazy – even if we’re not hearing about it at the top of the news every day. Please know that we are constantly working to source and stock the pumps and parts you need to keep your business running. We’re a family-owned, American distributor with real people who understand the pumps and other equipment offered on the Website. We’re happy to help you get exactly what’s needed and can help you figure the tags, model numbers, and other information even if it’s no longer legible.


Personal Service a Covid Casualty?

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I grew up watching my Dad build this company. He was always trying to help people solve problems with their pumps and other process equipment – on the phone, in the car, visiting a plant – andPersonal Service Elise Vaughn taking the extra steps to grow lasting customer relationships, even if there wasn’t a sale involved. I didn’t realize just how lacking this kind of customer commitment and personal service have become until I hung up the phone from a call last week. A new customer called with a pump sizing question and was shocked that the person who answered the phone – me – actually knew how to size a pump and that I could and would immediately answer the question – correctly, no less – all without waiting on hold or being transferred and without going through a customer service person reading from a script.

Another customer could not believe how quickly I replied to emails and provided quotes – personally. This is simply how I learned to serve our customers. It’s sad that we’re so used to getting auto-responder emails that we’re shocked when a real person calls or replies. Another customer who had a pump failure was beyond grateful that I’d drop what I was working on to send out a custom pump repair kit same day. At a time when we’re being told to social distance and avoid contact with each other, let’s try to stay in touch with what matters.

Call anytime 203.740.1877 or

Heating Coil Materials: Not All Created Equal

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Heating coils for the plating industry come in many different materials to suit many different chemicals. No one would specify PVC pump components when working with acetic acid or acetone – they’re incompatible and the chemical would quickly attack and break down the PVC, leading to a dangerous failure. An immersion heating coil faces the same chemical compatibility issues.


These Quartz Immersion Heaters with Metal Elements: QM Series come as a complete assembly with the metal heating element, polypropylene guards and heavy wall quartz sheath. Replacement parts also available here.

Brass, for example, doesn’t work well in a copper sulfate bath. That’s why immersion heaters and coolers are offered in stainless steel, titanium, zirconium, PTFE, and in other materials. There’s always at least one material that plays well with the plating bath, though each also has other properties that may or may not play well. Choosing incompatible materials will inhibit the plating reaction and cause deposits on or corrosion of the heater.

PTFE, for example, is a relatively soft plastic that gets nicked more easily than more durable metals. Once nicked or cut, the chemical attacks from the inside leading eventually to failure.

See heaters for surface finishing here.

For free guidance in choosing the right heater/cooler and heating coil material for the chemical,  203.740.1877 or

Plating Tank Heater Failures

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The heater in the plating tank stopped heating? Before you buy a new tank heater, it’s important to know why it failed. Otherwise, the new heater will probably fail in the same way.Plating Tank Heater

First, check the most common reason for heater stoppage: the over-temperature protection fuse. When the solution level falls below this fuse, it automatically triggers power to the heater to be cut. This cuts risk of a fire. Press the reset button (or replace the fuse), fill up the tank, and try the heater again. If it doesn’t start right up, then, yes, it actually did fail.

Then look for physical damage. We’ve repaired a number of heaters over the years that failed due to physical bumps and thumps. Over and over again, the very parts that were being plated or cleaned were coming into contact with the heater. Seriously.

Then look for excessive scale buildup and pitting. If this caused the heater to burn up then it likely cannot be repaired. Checking for scale buildup needs to be part of a daily preventative maintenance check.

Did you transfer the heater from one plating bath to another? Not all heaters are compatible with all chemicals. Most heater manufacturers use a chemical compatibility guide to determine which heaters work with which applications. Call us for a free guide – 203.740.1877.

If a new heater is needed, call us for free guidance on the size and material.

To see if your heater can be repaired, email us a picture at

More about heaters here.

Diaphragm Selection for AODD Pumps DIY

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If your diaphragm pumps leak, stall, overheat or sound noisy, a failing diaphragm or the wrong type of diaphragm selection may be the culprit. Not to worry, replacing diaphragms is one of the technically simpler pump repair jobs if you have the right tools and equipment, though it’s also one of the more physically demanding jobs – and there’s some risk involved if the repair person hasn’t done it very often.Diaphragm selection for aodd pump

Since AODD pumps are so versatile, people often use the same pumps for transferring a wide variety of different types of fluids. Sometimes, people don’t realize the pump diaphragms manufactured for one fluid are not compatible with other fluids. This can cause the diaphragm to deteriorate faster than projected, even with proper maintenance. Take a look at these guidelines to make sure your pump has the right diaphragm materials for the fluid:

  • Buna: use with fuel oils, motor oils, kerosene and most petroleum based products
  • Neoprene: use with most water based applications and non-corrosive/aggressive chemistries
  • Wilflex or PTFE: use with caustic and acidic applications, plus abrasive solutions

For guidance on diaphragm selection or on DIY pump repair, call 203-740-1877 or

For genuine replacement parts, see here.
For genuine Wilden repair kits, see here.

Pump Terms 101: Liquid Side, Air Side

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Every air-operated double diaphragm pump whether Wilden, Yamada, FTI or another brand has a liquid side and an air side. Simply put, the liquid side comes in contact with the liquid to be pumped. On theFinish Thompson FTI Air FT15 air pump - choose PVDF or Polypro opposite side of the pump, the air side connects to the compressed air line.

Compressed air enters the pump through an air valve and fills one chamber while the other chamber is being filled with liquid. In a constant, back and forth motion, the air forces the liquid out of the chamber to discharge, then the cycle continues with air filling one chamber and liquid the other. Each chamber has an air side and a side for liquid.

The pump parts used on the one side may differ from the parts used on the other side, depending on the model and application. That is why parts and repair kits are often sold specifically for the air side or liquid side.

Air side parts may include gaskets, O-rings, air valve spool, pilot spool and other components. Liquid side kits may include the diaphragms, O-rings, valve balls and other components, all based on the liquid being pumped and other factors.

For guidance on diagnosing a diaphragm pump that may need a repair or replacement part, call us at 203-740-1877 or

Simple Winter Maintenance Tips – Don’t Skip These!

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When the weather outside is frightful, the conditions often change inside, too. Whether the ambient air is drier or the pressure is weaker, these seasonal changes can affect your process and your equipment. To keep your operation in operation and extend the life of your equipment, try these quick winter maintenance checks:Elise pump maintenance

AODD Pumps: Every wear part has a finite life expectancy. Valve balls, diaphragms, gaskets and other pump parts are designed to fail at some point even with proper use. Take a look for any leakage or pressure changes and be sure to keep spare parts on hand just in case.

Electric Pumps: Drum pumps and other electric pumps are not intended to squeal. If you hear a squealing sound then shut it down and check the motor bearings. Don’t try to stretch their life too far. If the bearings fail, the motor shaft will seize and cause the pump to fail.

Filter Chambers: In plating and surface finishing, the entire process relies on a clean, contaminant-free bath. Keep an eye on the pressure gauges to monitor the load on the filter and be sure to replace the filters before the plating bath becomes contaminated.

Heaters: Fresh filter chambers and a contaminant-free cleaning bath keep your heaters free from scale. Look for any scale buildup and remove it before any hot spots form, which can damage the heaters and cut into heating efficiency.

Process Controls: Are you getting an accurate temperature reading from the process tanks? Since the process depends on the temperature, take a minute and test the RTD sensors. They don’t last forever and it’s best to find out if they are failing before noticing it in product quality.

What’s your top winter maintenance tip? Send to and we’ll include it in our next email newsletter with a link to your Website.

Filter Chambers and Pumps: Which Comes First?

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Pumps and Filters Work in Tandem

In plating, water treatment and other processes where filtering is needed ahead of pumping, the filter chamber and pump work at peak performance when specified in tandem. But since today’s high quality filter chambers will usually outlast the pump (often by several years!), it’s common for people to ask about replacing the pump without giving enough thought to its interaction with the filter chamber.Penguin filter chambers

Even when installing new pumps and filters, many people focus on the pump rather than the pump-chamber as an integrated system. This can lead to premature wear and failure for both the pump and the filter, as well as for connections and accessories.

The size of the filter chamber determines the size of the pump. Since the filter chamber determines the rate of flow into the pump, there is no need to buy more pump capacity than the filter chamber can process. So the filter chamber comes first.

Start with what is being filtered. Acid? Ultrapure water? Juice? Plating solution? Checking chemical compatibility and particle characteristics determines the material of construction for the filter chamber and the filter media. Then, checking the desired flow rate in gallons per hour allows the required filter surface area to be calculated, and the proper disc filters, filter tubes or filter bags to be specified.

Once the filter chamber and filtration media are determined, the right pump and size can be specified using a similar process that considers what liquid or material is being pumped, the flow rate and other factors. Then, the complete filter system can be designed, purchased and installed. We can even set it all up on a polypropylene base atop legs or casters.

See filter chambers here
See filter systems here
Call for free guidance on selecting the right filter chambers and pumps: 203-740-1877.

Made in USA Pump Brands Avoid Tariff Costs

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The 2018 import tariff slapped a 25 percent surcharge on a huge variety of equipment – including pumps.Penguin Filter Chamber

Though the tariffs really act like a tax on the American consumer and the tariff headlines seem constantly in flux, it’s important when considering a pump purchase to know which manufacturers have had to increase their prices to cover the cost of the tariffs and which made in USA manufacturers are immune to the increased cost.

These companies design and manufacture their pumps in the USA:

Finish Thompson, Erie, PA
FTI drum pumps, centrifugal pumps, and more

Sethco, Telford, PA
Drum pumps, mag drive suction pumps, vertical centrifugal pumps, and more

Penguin – Filter Pump Industries, Sun Valley, CA
Pumps, filter chambers, filtration systems, carbon treatment systems, filter media and more

Versamatic – Warren Rupp, Inc., Mansfield, OH
AODD pumps

Aro pumps (Ireland), Yamada pumps (Japan) Wilden pumps (China) and several other companies either manufacture complete pumps overseas or order parts from overseas then provide assembly in the United States. While this is simply the nature of a global economy, the impact of trade barriers has already been reflected in pump prices.

For example, we recently quoted several FTI pumps from Pennsylvania at significantly less cost than comparable pumps from other companies. Besides pricing, the tariffs are also impacting lead times. Using FTI as the example, we stock many pumps and parts and can send other products in three days or less. Companies shipping from overseas simply take more time to deliver.

Get a quote on FTI pumps here.
See all pumps here.

Summer Pump, Motor Maintenance Tips to Prevent Failure

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It’s a hot summer and we’re getting a lot of calls about fixing pumps that couldn’t take the heat. It’s true. The heat can shorten the expected service life but there are simple things you can do to prevent this type of pump failure.

Process Technology 316 Stainless Steel, bottom style, aquaculture series, 1KW, 120 volt, 1 phase

For indoor installations, pay close attention to ventilation and air circulation. Pumps and motors can generate a lot of heat and it needs to be constantly dissipated. In hot chemistry situations such as an oil or plating bath, chemical vapors can surround the equipment and cause corrosion very quickly unless it’s allowed to easily escape. Hot, humid conditions can make the situation worse.

In finishing tanks where immersion heaters may exceed 1,000 degrees F, keeping it well-maintained and free of corrosion and/or deposits keeps it operating at peak efficiency to take advantage of every kW/hr. of electricity.

Moving outside, summer is like a vacation for aquaponic heaters. With heat from the sun keeping water temperatures high, these tank heaters don’t need to work as hard. In fact, they may need to be kept from raising the water temperature too high. Check that automated shut off systems are functioning and consider adding cooling coils to maintain the desired temperature.

See heaters, heat exchangers here.
See chillers, cooling equipment here.