Vertical Turbine Pumps

What is a vertical turbine pump?

A specialized centrifugal pumps designed to move water from a well or reservoir that is deep underground. Also known a deep well turbine pump or a lineshaft turbine pump, it is one of two main types of turbine pumps. 

The two main types of turbine pumps are vertical turbine pumps and submersible turbine pumps. While submersible pumps have the electric motor located underwater at the bottom of the pump, vertical turbine pumps have the motor located above ground, connected via a long vertical shaft to impellers at the bottom of the pump. The term “turbine” in the pump name is somewhat of a misnomer, as this pump type has nothing to do with a turbine.

How do they work?

The pumps are usually driven by an AC electric induction motor or by a diesel engine through a right angle drive. The pump end consists of at least one rotating impeller that is attached to a shaft and directs the well water into a diffuser casing called a bowl.

Multi-stage configurations use multiple impellers on the same shaft to create higher pressure that would be needed for deeper wells or higher required pressure (head) at ground level.

Vertical turbine pumps work when water enters the pump at the bottom through a bell-shaped part called the suction bell. From there it moves into the first stage impeller, which raises the water’s velocity. The water then enters the diffuser bowl immediately above the impeller, where this high velocity energy is converted into high pressure. The bowl also directs the fluid into the next impeller located immediately above the bowl, and this process continues through all of the stages of the pump. 

After the water leaves the last diffuser bowl, it passes through a long vertical column pipe as it rises up the well bore toward the surface. The spinning shaft inside this column is supported at three- or five-foot intervals with sleeve bushings that are mounted inside the column and lubricated by the water moving past them. At the surface is the pump discharge head, which allows the flow to change direction, toward the discharge pipe. A vertical high thrust A.C. motor is mounted above the discharge head.

Where are they used?

They are primarily used wherever a submersible pump is not possible, because the flow is above the range of turbines, or because the owner prefers a conventional motor mounted at the top of the pump.

They are commonly used in wells that are bored to provide agricultural or turf irrigation, or to provide water supply for municipalities that rely on ground water rather than surface water. They are also used to provide plant make-up water and fire water for industrial plants.

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Vertical turbine pumps may also pump from an open body of water such as a river, reservoir, or pump intake structure, rather than from a bored well. They can also be mounted on top of a tank in an industrial settings. They may also be mounted inside a barrel, so that the suction source may be higher or lower than atmospheric pressure. The pump in this configuration may be used as a booster pump for boosting municipal water supply, or in an industrial application where the pressure (head) must be boosted. Or it can take suction from a vessel under vacuum, such as a hot well condensate pump application.

They are very versatile, with flows ranging from around 50 gpm to 30,000 gpm and higher. The pump is also very versatile as to the amount of head generated, as the pump can be built with one stage or many. These advantages make it one of the most common types of centrifugal pumps, and it’s used in many commercial, industrial, municipal, and agricultural applications.

Here are a few vertical turbine pump manufacturers to consider.

Vertical Turbine Pump Manufacturers
Patterson Pump Company (Pump Manufacturer)

Water applications - Patterson makes its H2O Works™ Vertical Turbine pump for the industrial, municipal and power applications. The high-pressure vertical turbine design is capable of handling flows in excess of 30,000 gpm with discharge heads from 6 inch to 14 inch. Bowls are available in diameters ranging from 12 inch through 40 inch Open line shaft construction is standard; enclosed line shafts are available.

Wastewater and industrial applications – The company produces its H2O Works™ Multi-Purpose Vertical Turbine for solids handling applications in water treatment, industrial, flood control, municipal and water supply applications. Bowl sizes from 12 in. to 40 in. deliver capacities from 1,500 gpm to 20,000 gpm. Standard units have cast iron discharge heads, fabricated steel columns, stainless steel head and bowl shafts, alloy steel line shaft and cast iron bronze fitted bowls.

Fire suppression – Patterson’s Sentinel™ Vertical Turbine Fire Pump utilizes the latest design concepts and engineering technology for fighting fire. The pumps standard construction offers cast iron discharge heads with a fabricated steel column, stainless steel head and bowl shafts, or alloy steel line shaft and cast iron bronze fitted bowls. No priming is necessary to provide flows from 500 to 5,000 gpm, with pressures in excess of 350 psi.

Ruhrpumpen (Pump Manufacturer)

Ruhrpumpen produces vertical turbine pumps for the industrial, municipal, well and irrigation, and fire service markets.  The companies VTP pump model can accommodate max flows up 60,000 gpm and heads to 2,500 ft.  The product is available with cast iron bowls and aluminum bronze impellers. The HQ pump also allows for 60,000 gpm and is ideal for various water applications as well as hydrocarbon and chemical process markets.

Ruhrpumpen also manufacturers a vertical turbine fire pump for commercial and high rise buildings, power stations, and oil/gas and chemical process applications. The pumps are produced in any number of stages depending on the client’s specific pressure requirements.

Expert Advice

Understanding a few key factors before buying a vertical turbine pump can prevent unnecessary maintenance costs. Author provides some advice when shopping for and installing the pumps motor, discharge head, bowl assembly, and column & lineshaft.

Incorrectly installed suction and discharge piping can create stresses on the pump casing and thus reducing the reliability of the seal and bearings. Read tips on how to eliminate this occurance.

Dr. Lev Nelik recommends some valuable steps you can take to extend the life of your pump and ensure its operating under optimum conditions.

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Switch to: Expert Advice | Pump Tweets

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