Metering accuracy of Watson-Marlow Qdos pumps aids product quality at historic paper mill

St Cuthberts Mill, a master papermaker with a heritage that can be traced back to the 1700s, has switched to Qdos pump technology from Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group (WMFTG) for metering substances such as pigment and starch. Since installation, the mill says that compared with a previously deployed pump, the Qdos pumps have run with complete reliability, considerably boosted precision, saved thousands of pounds through precise control of the addition of shade and chemicals and reduced downtime.

Based near Wells in Somerset, England, St Cuthberts specializes in high-quality artists’ papers. The company makes about 80 tons of paper a month using a continental shift pattern across 24/7 operations. The secret of the company’s success lies in the performance of its papers, which can be used in watercolor, printmaking or inkjet applications.

“Reliability is the key to our output,” says the company’s shift manager Paul Tremlett. “As a result, we need pumps that perform reliably, dayin, day-out.”

Until recently, St Cuthberts used a series of older peristaltic pumps, some of which were installed 20 years ago. “We wanted to move into the 21st century, and knew that the Qdos pumps could offer us a number of key advantages,” says Tremlett. “For instance, the pumps can be linked to the machine’s control system, so we can change speed accordingly.”

Application challenge. The company currently has two Qdos 120 pumps and two Qdos 30 models for metering pigments and starch, with two more Qdos 30 pumps on order. What’s more, all papers produced by St Cuthberts are internally sized to increase strength. This process involves the addition of a special chemical – also pumped using Qdos technology – to make the sheet stronger and eliminate any possibility of blotting effects.

Qdos pumps are self-priming and reversible, so fluids can be returned to source at the end of a shift. Their design inherently reduces maintenance as operators can quickly and safely replace one component, the ReNu pump-head, without the need for tools or special skills. Cleaning times are also minimized – thus delivering further efficiencies to the St Cuthbert’s team. Crucially, from a health and safety perspective, integral leak detection reduces waste and eliminates mill operator exposure to chemicals.

“The machine crew here loves the Qdos pumps as they are so reliable; we’ve not had a single glitch even when handling the abrasive starch. The pumps offer high-accuracy metering, which helps maximize trust in the product,” says Tremlett.

Flow rates from 0.1 to 2000 mL/min at up to 7 bar can be achieved using Qdos pumps. As well, simple drop-in installation eliminates the need for ancillary equipment which often brings with it further maintenance challenges and costs.

WMFTG specializes in niche peristaltic and sinusoidal pumps and associated fluid-path technologies. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Spirax- Sarco Engineering plc, Cheltenham, England.

Watson-Marlow Fluid Technology Group, www.wmftg.com

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