What is a Vane Pump – Working, Types, and Applications

The pumps are most commonly used to transfer different fluids from one place to another. A vane pump is a most famous type of pump. It contains multiple vanes that are used to pump the fluid. This article mainly explains the rotary vane pump working, components, types, and applications.

What is a Vane Pump?

A vane pump is a positive displacement pump that uses a set of vanes installed on a rotor to transfer the fluid. It has the ability to deliver a constant flow rate under different pressure conditions. It is known as a “vane pump” because it pressurizes the fluid due to the impact of the vanes.

This pump has a different number of vanes installed on a rotor. This rotor rotates in a chamber or cavity to pump the fluid.

An electric motor or engine is most commonly used to drive the rotor. As the rotor rotates, the vanes mounted on the rotor slide in and out of the rotor slots.

In some cases, the rotor vanes may have variable lengths and tension to uphold contact with the wall according to the rotor movement. The pump also has a pressure relief valve that stops the extra pressure build-up inside the pump. The excessive build-up inside the pump may badly damage your pump.

 vane pump

The latest vane pumps have a surface contact between the stator and rotor instead of line contact.

These pumps are most widely used in air conditioning systems, power steering, and automobiles.

These pumps are also used to convert high-pressure gas into a low-pressure gas. Vane pumps are not suitable for highly viscous fluids. The vane pump can handle fluids with medium viscosity and is best suitable for handling liquids with low viscosity, such as alcohols, solvents, ammonia, and LPG.

Working of Vane Pump

A vane pump works in the following way:

vane pump working

  • First of all, the power is delivered to the shaft through an electric motor or engine.
  • The shaft is connected to the rotor, which rotates according to the rotation of the shaft.
  • This rotor has multiple vanes which rotate as the rotor rotates.
  • As the rotor rotates, a vacuum generates inside the pump; due to that, it sucks external water into the pump.
  • As the water enters the rotor area, the rotor blades move the water outward due to the centrifugal force.
  • When the water hits the vanes, these vanes convert the K.E of the water into speed and send it toward the diffuser or volute casing area.
  • The volute casing has a reducing area; due to that, it converts the speed of the water into pressure and increases the pressure according to the requirements.
  • After pressurizing the water, the water discharges and delivers to the desired area.

For a better understanding, watch the following video:

 Components of Vane Pump

The vane pump has the following components:

  • Casing
  • Inlet Port
  • Cam Ring
  • Outlet Port
  • Vanes
  • Rotor
  • Shaft

Vane Pump Components

1) Casing

The casing is one of the most important parts of the rotary vane pump. It provides safety to all the internal components of your pump. It prevents the internal parts, such rotor, shaft, sliding vanes, etc., from any damage due to the external source.  

2) Inlet Port

This port uses to suck the fluid into the pump. It works as a one-way valve.

Read More: Different types of Positive displacement Pumps

3) Outlet Port

After pressurizing the fluid, the pump discharges the fluid through the outlet port. It also works as a one-way valve.

4) Shaft

A shaft is connected to an electric motor or engine. This motor delivers power to the shaft and rotates the shaft. This shaft is further connected to the rotor. When the shaft rotates, it further turns the rotor.

5) Rotor

It is the most important part of the pump, which play a big role in fluid suction and pressurization. It connects with the shaft. The rotor rotates according to the rotation of the shaft. It has multiple vanes.

When the rotor rotates, it creates a vacuum inside the pump due to that pump sucks fluid.

6) Vanes

The vanes of the vane pump are mounted on the rotor. The main objective of the vanes is to convert the kinetic energy of the fluid into its speed. These vanes have a rectangular shape. Sliding Vanes are present in the slots of the rotor. The sliding vanes move inside the slots of the

7) Cam Ring

This Ring is installed on the inner wall of the pump housing. 

Read also: Working of Centrifugal Pump

Types Of Vane Pumps

The vane pump has the following types:

  • Balanced vane pump
  • Unbalanced vane pump
  • Variable displacement pump
  • Sliding vane pump
  • Roller vane pump
  • Flexible vane pump

1) Unbalanced Vane Pump

Unbalanced rotary vane pump

  • It is one of the most common types of vane pumps.
  • The pressure difference between suction and discharge valves causes a lateral thrust on the pump shaft. This lateral thrust on the shaft shortens the bearing life. This type of vane pump is known as an unbalanced vane pump because of the pressure difference between the inlet and outlet valves.
  • While the balanced vane pump doesn’t have lateral thrust on the rotor shaft.
  • An unbalanced vane pump has a cylindrical rotor that is installed on the offset of a circular housing. This means that the center of the cylindrical rotor does not coincide with the center of the housing. There is a certain distance between the center of the rotor and the center of the housing.
  • The rotor has a radial groove that is grooved in the drive shaft. The rotor moves in the cam ring. Each radial groove has a vane that can move freely in and out of the groove by centrifugal force. The vanes are designed in such a way that they make contact with the cam ring surface as the rotor rotates.
  • There is no leakage between the housing and the vane tip.

2) Balanced Vane Pump

Balanced vane pump

  • The balanced rotary vane pump has an elliptical casing. The elliptical casing and rotor have the same center. There is no offset.
  • These vane pumps are versatile in design and most widely used in mobile and industrial applications.
  • The pressure difference doesn’t create between the inlets and outlets because this pump has two inlets and an outlet.
  • The two inlet ports are on opposite sides of each other. Similarly, the outlet ports are also on opposite sides.
  • This assembly of the inlet and outlet ports balances equal and opposite thrust forces so that the rotor shaft doesn’t face any lateral thrust forces.
  • This balance pump offers better performance and long service life.
  • This type of pump has a perfect service life in many applications. In industrial applications, the balance vane pumps have more than 24,000 hours of service life.
  • The cavity size between two vanes decreases from the inlet side to the outlet.
  • The pump sucks fluid from the inlet port while discharging from the outlet port.
  • The pressure acting on the rotor in the exit area is high; the forces in the two outlet areas are equal but opposite. Therefore, there is no net load on the bearings of the shaft.

3) Variable Displacement Vane Pump

Variable displacement Pump

  • The variable displacement vane pump allows changing of the size of the pocket.
  • Because of the different sizes of the pump pocket, the delivery rate also varies.
  • In the case of this pump, the vanes don’t come into direct contact with the pump housing.
  • This rotary vane pump has a ring between the vane and casing. This ring is called the reaction ring.
  • One end of this ring connects to the spring, and the other end connects to the adjusting screw.
  • The size of the pump pocket changes through the adjusting screws.
  • As the adjusting screw starts rotating, the reaction ring also moves up and down.
  • As the reaction ring moves up and down, the offset between the rotor center and the reaction ring center is changed.
  • Due to the variation in the offset, the size of the pocket also changes, which in turn changes the delivery flow rate from the pump.

4) Sliding Vane Pump

The sliding vane pump uses a rotor that contains multiple vanes. These are non-metallic vanes. The vanes of this pump have the capability to slide inward and outward of the rotor slots.

A self-lubricating material is most commonly used for the construction of vanes. Therefore, you can replace the vanes of the sliding pump as they are worn out. Sliding vane pumps are best suitable for applications where a steady flow rate is needed.

5) Roller Vane Pump

The rolling vane pump contains various rollers instead of vanes. These rollers help to generate a tight seal between the chamber walls and the rotor. The roller rotates around an eccentric camshaft inside the rotor and produces a positive displacement action that helps to pump the fluid.

Roller vane pump

6) Flexible Vane Pump

It contains multiple flexible vanes instead of sliding vanes. These vanes have the ability to flex and bend when they move into and out of the rotor slots. This feature of these vanes permits them to maintain contact with the chamber wall and generate a strong seal.

flexible vane pump

These are the best suitable pumps for transferring fluids with abrasive or solids particles.

Read Also: Working and Types of Reciprocating Pump

Advantages and disadvantages of Vane Pumps

The advantages and disadvantages of the vane pump are given below:

Advantages of Vane Pump

  • The pumps have self-priming capability.
  • These have a robust design.
  • They deliver a constant supply of fluid at a given speed.
  • A rotary vane pump delivers a continuous delivery with negligible pulsation.
  • They don’t need to check valves
  • These pumps have lightweight.
  • These have a robust and compact design.
  • They have high volumetric efficiency and overall efficiency.
  • This positive displacement pump can control fluids having gases and vapors.
  • They have low vibration and noise levels.
  • These have easy maintenance.
  • They provide a pulsating free flow.
  • These are best for a wide range of applications.

Disadvantages of Vane Pump

  • It requires a relief valve to prevent the pump from a sudden stoppage of the fluid delivery.
  • These types of pumps aren’t appropriate for abrasive fluids.
  • A rotary vane pump requires a good seal.
  • These pumps need a top-quality filtration system because foreign particles can cause pump failure.
  • These have a complex design of housing and many other components.
  • These pumps are not best for high-viscosity or high-pressure applications.

Applications of Vane Pumps

  • Vane pumps are used in beverage processing machines.
  • These pumps are used in oil and gas applications.
  • A vane pump is employed in a lubrication system for the equipment and machine. It provides a steady flow of lubricant to lower wear and friction.
  • Vane pumps are also used for mid-range pressure applications such as dispenser machines (espresso, coffee, and soft drinks).
  • The rotary vane pumps are used in Aerosol and Propellants.
  • These pumps are most widely utilized for high-pressure applications such as power steering, air conditioners, and superchargers.
  • These pumps are used for the filling of the LPG cylinders.
  • Vane pumps are most commonly used in heating, ventilation, and HVAC systems for moving a coolant such as a refrigerant or water.
  • They are used for bulk transferring of NH3 and LPG.

Difference between Centrifugal Pump and Vane Pump

The difference between the centrifugal pump and the vane pump is given below:

Vane PumpCentrifugal Pump
It is a Positive displacement pump.It is a dynamic pump.
The vane pump works on the principle of positive displacement.It works on the principle of centrifugal force.
It has no priming issues.It has priming issues.
This pump is less efficient.Centrifugal pump has high efficiency.
It has an average initial cost.It has a high initial cost.
These are less commonly used compared to centrifugal pumps.These are the most commonly used pumps.
Vane pumps control the flow excellently.These pumps have a very poor capability to control the flow. 

Read More: Working of Centrifugal Pump

FAQ Section

Who invented the Vane Pump?

Charles C. Barnes of Sackville, New Brunswick, invented the first vane pump and patented it On June 16, 1874.

What is the difference between gear pump and vane pump?

The vane pump is a combination of the gear pump and the piston pump. The vane pumps have high efficiency than gear pumps but are not as good as piston pumps. The operation of the gear pumps is so quiet due to that they are very popular in industrial applications.

What are the types of rotary vane pumps?

  • Balanced vane pumps
  • Unbalanced vane pumps
  • Variable displacement pumps
  • Sliding vane pumps
  • Roller vane pumps
  • Flexible vane pumps

What are the vane pumps are used for?

The vane pumps are used for various applications including hydraulic systems, printing and packaging, fuel systems, chemical processing, HVAC systems, and lubrication systems. They are most commonly used in heating, ventilation, and HVAC systems for moving a coolant such as a refrigerant or water.

Read More

6 thoughts on “What is a Vane Pump – Working, Types, and Applications”

  1. I am happy with information about pumps types and they work. I am fitter and turner. please could you keep on give more information.

  2. The pump information provided is really helpful i’m a fitter and turner student and im pleased to work with the provided information


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