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Hydraulic Pump Cartridge Kits in Automatic Gauge Control Systems

Hydraulic pump cartridges are modular assemblies that house the rotating mechanism of the pump and offer the advantages of easy maintenance and serviceability, faster pump change outs, and reduced downtime during pump maintenance. Depending upon the application, hydraulic pump cartridges also provide a means of changing the pumping volume by replacing a cartridge with different volumetric characteristics. In automatic gauge control (AGC) systems, hydraulic pump cartridges are used in hydraulic pump units (HPUs), primarily with hydraulic vane pumps specifically designed for high pressure applications. Hydraulic power units consist of an electric motor, a hydraulic pump (with cartridge), accumulator, reservoir tank, suction strainer, return filter, relief valves, pressure gauge, hydraulic fluid, fittings and piping. The hydraulic power unit provides the fluid power used by the entire automatic gauge control system, including the hydraulic actuators and servo valves.

Hydraulic pump cartridge kits are most commonly used in rotary vane pumps. In general, vane pumps are positive-displacement pumps constructed with a series of equidistant vanes mounted onto to a rotor, which rotates within the pump’s housing. As the vane assembly rotates, the inlet vane chamber increases in volume and fills with hydraulic fluid on the inlet side, while the outlet chamber decreases in volume and pushes hydraulic fluid out of the chamber on the outlet side of the pump. Since the rotary vane pump pushes an equal amount of fluid through the housing per rotation, it is classified as a positive displacement pump; however, it can be a fixed or variable displacement pump. Since the vane assembly is mounted to an eccentric ring that can vary its position relative to the rotor’s center hub, the vane pump’s displacement can be varied depending upon flow and pressure requirements of the application.

In general, a hydraulic pump cartridge kit is a self-contained module that is constructed with a pressure plate, side plate, rotor, vanes, cam ring, seals, and head cap screws. The pump cartridge is inserted between the pump’s inlet (suction) and outlet (discharge) port plates and bolted securely into place. Another advantage to a hydraulic pump cartridge kit is that is simplifies seal installation. For complex or difficult pump applications, the installation of a seal can be difficult and time-consuming. By encapsulating the seal within the cartridge kit, seal installation became more efficient. In addition, the pump cartridge kit provides different kinds of sealing options, including a spring-loaded, primary/secondary seal facing inward/outward. Multistage pumping applications make use of hydraulic pump cartridges to simplify installation and pump construction. Typically, a multistage pump will have cartridges or a cartridge pump unit housed in a sleeve that contains a series of pumping stages.  Cartridge kits also offer wear-based, self-compensation modifications that ensure the vane sub-assembly is always mating with the cam ring, which provides enhanced pump efficiency over its service life.  It should be noted that the term “cassette” is sometimes used to replace the term “cartridge.” The terms are used interchangeably. In addition, both hydraulic valves and pumps have cartridge kits. While they serve similar functions for their respective components, they are not interchangeable. Refer to the manufacturer’s technical manuals for more information.