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What Are Vane Pumps?

A vane pump is a self-priming positive displacement pump providing constant flow at varying pressures. Operation is via a motor connected to a gearbox as typically the maximum rpm is 900. The pump is fitted with a relief valve to prevent the pump from building to a pressure which may damage the pump.

The pump head contains a slotted rotor which contain vanes. The vanes create segmented chambers within the pump head, partitioning the pump head between the rotor and outer casing which enable the vane pump to be self-priming as the chambers operate similar to valves. Vane Pump Head with Vanes in Rotor

The pump head is circular for the most part but has a flat portion as the vanes move in and out of the main rotor. The vanes will push out towards the casing due to the centrifugal force when the pump is in operation with forces exerting outwards keeping the vanes tight against the casing. When the vanes reach the outlet of the pump the casing is flatter and tighter against the rotor causing the vane to be pushed into the rotor and the fluid to expel through the outlet of the pump.

View our vane pump animation

Vane Pump Working Principle

Vane pumps are reversible which makes them an excellent choice for stripping and unloading tanks.

Then can be operated in reverse to then fill tanks or load vehicles as the pump can be operated in both directions. Typically vane pumps are fitted with either a single mechanical seal, double mechanical seal with barrier fluid, or gland packing.Stainless Steel Rotary Vane Pump Head

They are typically used for viscous fluids which are lubricating such as oils, petroleum’s, diesel, animal oils/blood, and fuel oil. They can also handle non-lubricating fluids such as solvents due to their being no metal to metal contact. Vane pumps self-compensate for wear meaning they can maintain peak performance without loss of flowrate.


 Vane pump Advantages and Disadvantages can be summarized as follows:

                                         Rotary Vane Pump Advantages and Disadvantages



Can handle viscous fluids up to 10,000cst

Pump requires a gearbox meaning   pump can be larger / heavier than other designs and can also be less   efficient due to mechanical losses through gearbox. Belt Driven designs can eliminate gear box

Belt Driven Vane Pump (Space saving)

ATEX rated for handling of flammable liquids

Can not handle solids or abrasives

Heating chamber allows solidifying liquids to be kept at low viscosity and prevent solidification within the   pump

Limited viscosity handling compared to other positive displacement pumps - maximum of 10,000cst

High Suction lift capability   and can Self Prime up to 8M

Reversible meaning pump can be   used to load and unload tankers, but also ensure product is fully recovered from hoses.

Flow rate is largely unaffected   should back pressure or pressure losses change.

Vane Pumps self-compensate for   wear. As vane tips wear they extend further out of the rotor ensuring efficiency   is maintained. Other pump types lose efficiency as they wear

Multiple sealing options from Single   Mechanical Seal, double mechanical seal and gland packing ensures suitability   for a wide range of liquids.


Vane pumps vs Gear pumps vs Liquid Ring Vs Centrifugal pump

VP = Vane Pumps

Vane Pumps Vs Gear Pumps

Vane Pumps Vs Liquid Ring Pumps

Vane Pumps Vs Centrifugal Pumps

VP are more efficient

VP can handle higher viscosities

VP are more efficient with fluids above 200cst

VP do not have metal to metal contact allowing pump to prime from dry but   also strip containers, and handle non lubricating liquids

VP do not have metal to metal contact allowing pump to prime from dry but   also strip containers, and handle non lubricating liquids

VP flow is maintained if viscosity is increased, whereas centrifugal pumps experience a drop in flow once outside designed duty point.

Gear pumps can have bearing or bushings in contact with fluid which can cause   bearing lubrication issues with low lubricating fluids

Liquid ring pumps do not have as many sealing options.

VP are self-priming by design.

Gear pumps are more precise for dosing or metering

VP typically have a lower NPSH requirement

VP do not have metal to metal contact allowing pump to prime from dry but   also strip containers, and handle non lubricating liquids

Gear pumps can have timing gears significantly increasing cost and meaning maintenance   is more difficult

VP self compensate for wear.

VP have lower vibrations

Centrifugal pumps can have impeller design changed to handle solids, or abrasives.

VP have limited high viscosity handling (10,000cst vs gear of 55,000 cst)

There are a range of Symbols that can be used to represent Vane Pumps in Process and Instrumentation Drawings - learn more

View our range of Vane Pumps



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