100,000 Hours and Counting!

On February 4, 2005, KNF USA engineers entered the temperature-controlled space of the “Life Test Room” in Trenton, NJ to initiate prototype testing for a specially-modified version of the KNF N 838 series diaphragm pump. At the time, the custom-designed OEM vacuum pump was being developed for a Fortune 100 medical device manufacturer, as an integral component of their immunoassay and clinical chemistry analyzer. The KNF pump would need to perform its duty – vacuum aspiration of biological samples – quickly and quietly, while ensuring precision and durability over the life of the pump. Like all spec-driven KNF project pumps, the custom-engineered N 838 vacuum pump was to undergo substantial testing to ensure accuracy, reliability, and overall quality.

KNF Life Test Room

A peek inside the carefully controlled conditions of KNF’s Life Test Room

Among all tests performed by the KNF R&D team, the Life Test may be the most valuable as it simulates the rigorous operating conditions often found in real-world environments – providing valuable data which is used to further improve pump performance. KNF pumps that undergo this particular test are operated under a continuous duty cycle, at high load, in unfavorable temperatures. Collectively, these test settings amount to what KNF Engineers use to determine a “worst case scenario”. In short, the Life Test is employed as a means to identify specific opportunities for improvement, while simultaneously gauging the life span of the pump in its current configuration.

The specially-modified version of KNF’s N 838 diaphragm vacuum pump has been running in a controlled test environment since Feb. 4, 2005.

Remarkably, from the date this post is written, over 12 years (105,189 hours) have passed since Life Testing began for this special N 838 project pump. You read that correctly; the incredibly durable N 838 pump is still running strong after more than a decade! This impressive test run time represents the longest continuous duty timeframe ever recorded at KNF Neuberger. It should also be noted that this record-setting operating life was achieved with only a few minor updates including diaphragm replacements at 30K and 60K hours. Despite advancements in both pump technology and testing procedures, engineers at KNF will continue to operate this extraordinarily resilient pump, in the Life Test Room, until it has completed a full lifetime…whenever that may be.

To put this unbelievable achievement into perspective, we have compiled a list of historical events* that have occurred since the start of the N 838 project pump Life Test:

  • 2005 (Aug) – Hurricane Katrina makes landfall, devastating the US Gulf Coast
  • 2006 (Jul) – Twitter is launched
  • 2007 (Jun) – Apple releases the iPhone
  • 2008 (Nov) – The United States elects Barack Obama president
  • 2009 (Jul) – Roger Federer wins record 15th grand slam at Wimbledon
  • 2010 (Oct) – All 33 Chilean miners are rescued after being trapped for a record 69 days underground
  • 2011 (Apr) – Fidel Castro resigns from the Communist Party of Cuba’s central committee
  • 2012 (Nov) – Scientists detect evidence of light from the universe’s first stars
  • 2013 (Jul) – Detroit, Michigan becomes the largest U.S. municipality to file for bankruptcy
  • 2014 (Mar) – Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappears kicking off the most expensive search effort ever
  • 2015 (Oct) – China announces the end to their one-child policy after 35 years
  • 2016 (Nov) – Donald Trump is elected President of the United States
  • 2017 (Jan) – World’s largest dinosaur footprint (1.7 meters) found in Western Australia

* events chosen, at random, from www.onthisday.com

New Flow-Tight, Diaphragm Liquid Transfer Pump Prevents Uncontrolled Flow

New, FL 10 Diaphragm Liquid Transfer Pump Prevents Uncontrolled Flow

KNF’s newest liquid transfer pump, the FL 10, is leak-tight in both directions, preventing uncontrolled flow and back-flow of liquid media when not in use. The latest addition to KNF’s extensive line of diaphragm liquid transfer pumps, the FL 10 offers many advanced features, and provides a considerable advantages over similar competitive products.

Leak-tight Diaphragm Liquid Transfer Pump

Featuring a solenoid-drive, and leak-tight valve technology, the compact FL 10 liquid transfer pump displaces fluid at a flow rate of 0 – 100 mL/min. Additionally, a signal frequency modulation feature enables quick and easy flow rate adjustments, saving time and money. Finally, like all KNF diaphragm liquid handling pumps, the FL 10 is self-priming, dry-run safe, and maintenance-free – offering outstanding performance longevity and an extraordinarily long service life (10,000 hours or 1.8 billion strokes).

To learn more about the leak-tight FL 10 liquid transfer pump visit knfusa.com/FL10

College Students Use KNF Pumps to Fuel Racing Success

Wisconsin undergraduates have a need for speed.

Students from the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) have been getting in the competitive spirit in an effort to create and race the most energy-efficient cars.

Consisting of undergraduates ranging from freshmen through juniors, these students are part of their university’s Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) branch. As the organization operates solely on outside funding, KNF has sponsored these adventurous and ambitious students in their racing endeavors through the donation of needed liquid diaphragm pumps.

Joe Pechstein and team pose for a photo at the Shell Eco-marathon flanked by their vehicles.

Overseen by project manager Joe Pechstein, a junior, the group participates in two annual events: the Shell Eco-marathon, which took place in April 2017, and the SAE Supermileage competition, which took place in June 2017. Continuing an almost ten-year tradition of entering these selective competitions, Pechstein supervises the building of two vehicles for the former competition and one vehicle for the latter.

The mechanical engineering major recognizes the challenges involved, stating that the race is “a test of the driver’s skill, the design’s endurance, and the design itself.” With all design and testing done by students, the competitions represent the future of motor engineering.

To get the highest fuel economy possible while still meeting lap times, these twenty-five students use KNF’s NF 1.25 RPDC for their fuel system. These compact and powerful KNF pumps are used for engine dynamometer testing which typically determines the torque or power characteristics of a machine under test. Though dynamometers can also be used for standard emissions testing cycles such as those defined by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The vehicle itself is a three-wheeled device with optimal aerodynamic features. Convenient in its small and lightweight design, the KNF pumps allow for an appropriate pressure range and high enough fuel output to guarantee full speed ahead.

A photo of the course which is usually a motor racing track or a closed off city street.

How did these students fare in the competitions? At the Shell Eco-marathon, the gasoline vehicle came in 14th place out of 30 at 588 mpg, while the electric vehicle came in 9th place out of 17 at 120 mi/kwh. Having made their mark in the gasoline vehicle category, Pechstein admits that “we have been steadily improving our fuel economy over the past three years.” In the SuperMileage competition, they came in 8th place out of 16 at 442 mpg, and an impressive 3rd place in their design report. Of KNF’s contribution, Pechstein adds that “the pumps were ideal” in helping to reach the finish line.

The team at KNF offers our congratulations to MSOE’s Society of Automotive Engineers! We know they have a bright future ahead.

Former MythBuster Delivers Keynote at Pacific Design & Manufacturing Event

Former MythBuster Jamie Hyneman at Pacific Design & Manufacturing

Jamie Hyneman, former MythBuster, speaking at Pacific Design & Manufacturing event (source: Pinterest)

This year, guests of the recently re-branded Pacific Design and Manufacturing event received a special treat as Jamie Hyneman – the famed, former co-host of The Discovery Channel’s popular television series, “MythBusters” – delivered the keynote speech. During his speech, Mr. Hyneman communicated the value of hard work, and also referenced the importance of constant improvement through his own love of tinkering. The honorary Doctor of Engineering stated, “Science isn’t done by people in lab coats. It is done by people that want to do a good job at figuring something out”. With talk of science and tinkering, it is no surprise that the 2017 keynote speaker was able to connect with his audience. After all, there were thousands of engineers in attendance of the annual conference, most of whom share a love of tinkering.

Though Jamie Hyneman has since moved on from Myth Busters, and The Discovery Channel has stopped production of new episodes, it has not stopped millions of fans from holding the show in high regard for its creative and courageous (often crazy) engineering. For example, many at KNF recall an episode that first aired on July 12, 2006 titled, “Crimes and Myth-Demeanors (part 1)“. During the episode, the crew attempt to debunk robbery and break-in scenarios so often depicted in Hollywood movies. Things get interesting when Jamie Hyneman and co-host Adam Savage begin development of their own gadgets: super-magnets, and suction cups, respectively. The peculiar devices were custom-engineered to assist the show hosts with an air duct climb).

KNF N 828 vacuum pump

KNF N 828 vacuum pump

What makes this episode particularly memorable to KNF USA associates is the vacuum source used for Adam’s suction cups – a KNF N 828 Diaphragm Vacuum Pump! The lightweight, oil-free KNF N 828 vacuum pump performed admirably to spec, pumping to 100 mbar of absolute vacuum via the suction cups on Adam’s hands and feet. However, in the end, both co-hosts were unable to climb the flimsy air duct without considerable noise, thus being anything but stealthy. Another Myth Busted. Later in the episode, Adam used his KNF N 828 vacuum pump powered suction cup rig to climb eight stories up the outside of a glass building before becoming too exhausted to continue. But not before further demonstrating the power of the KNF N 828 diaphragm vacuum pump!

Pumping Above Our Weight Class

NMP 03 Micro Gas Pump
The newly introduced ultra-small, portable device pump — weighing only 11g and measuring just 12.9 mm x 24.2 mm — delivers very consistent, linear transfer up to 500 mL/min.

In addition to ultra-small size and wide flow rate range, the NMP 03 offers a long service life, outstanding efficiency, leak tightness, and quiet, low-vibration operation. Typical portable device applications, for which the NMP 03 micro gas pump is very well suited, include: emissions measurement and gas analyzers; patient monitoring; capnography; negative pressure wound therapy; ion-mobility spectrometry (trace detection); drugs and explosives detection; handheld pipette/dosing; and print-head meniscus control.

The NMP 03 offers a wide operating temperature range of -20 °C – +60 °C (environment and gas) thereby making it well-suited for outdoor use and applications involving hot or cold gases. Plus, like other KNF micro gas pumps, the new NMP 03 features a modular system which can be configured to match your specific requirements.

Visit www.knfusa.com/NMP03 to learn more.

Liquid Waste Handling in Clinical Diagnostics and Lab Equipment

A new Application Note from KNF Neuberger, Inc. details effective methods for collecting, and evacuating liquid waste.

oem_application_noteWhen determining how to transfer liquid waste within an analyzer, design engineers must examine many factors. Though several methods will work, only one provides optimized system performance and lifetime.

Read more >>

 

KNF Exhibiting at the World’s Largest Printing Equipment Show

reprographic printingAs a trusted partner to many of the world’s leading industrial reprographic printer manufacturers, KNF is preparing to showcase its latest product developments at Drupa 2016. Considered the world’s largest printing equipment exhibition, Drupa is open every three years in Dusseldorf, Germany. This year, the show runs from May 31st through June 10th, and KNF is excited to be a part of it.

At the show, KNF will be exhibiting its latest product developments including liquid pumps with flow rates from microLiters/min to 12 L/min+ and gas pumps with flow rates from microLiters to 300 L/min. Additionally, KNF offers a wide selection of pumps that can be optimized for specific needs through engineer-to-engineer collaboration. Optional materials, motor types, fluid connections and other modifications are available to optimize performance, life, and cost at any quantity.

KNF liquid and gas pumps perform important ink handling tasks, including the ink transfer to print heads, ink degassing, print head cleaning, vacuum generation for print head meniscus control, and ink circulation. From continuous inkjet to drop-on-demand, from large format printing to product barcoding, KNF has the pumps needed for high-quality, consistent printing.

Please plan to stop by our booth in Hall 4, booth B01 if you will be attending Drupa 2016. To learn more about KNF pumps for reprographic printing visit www.knfusa.com/reprographics or read our related Application Notes:

KNF Associates Discuss MedTech Pump Design Trends with MDDI

Pumps for Medical TechnologyThe following excerpt is from the MDDI article, “Pump Designs Flow Toward Smaller Sizes“.


As medical devices require smaller pumps that fulfill rigorous design requirements, the relationship between OEMs and suppliers is shifting.

A medical device that manages the movement of a gas or a fluid relies on a pump to carry out the application. Advances in technology enable pump suppliers to provide pumps capable of addressing increasingly complex medical device requirements. But industry pressures are also changing the nature of the relationship between OEMs and their suppliers.

At one time, medical device companies looked at suppliers simply as a way to outsource work and reduce costs, said Dave Vanderbeck, business development manager for Trenton, NJ-based KNF Neuberger. While suppliers can help OEMs reduce their costs, Vanderbeck increasingly now sees OEMs turning to their pump suppliers for design expertise.

Read the full article at MDDIonline.com >>

KNF OEM Diaphragm Pumps Used in Multiple Environmental Studies

A customer recently brought five environmental studies, ranging from 2013 to 1996, to our attention. Each of the studies details research conducted with one common component: a KNF OEM pump, which proved integral for sample collection or transfer during the analyses. Of the five studies, we cherry-picked two air-toxics studies for your further reading. However, here’s the listing of all five:

  1. Walter 2013 High Res Measurements Atmospheric Hydrogen West African Coast Mauritania
  2. Querino 2011 Methane Flux Vertical Gradient Mixing Ratio Measurements in a Tropical Forest
  3. Bailey 2010 Southwest Indianapolis Air Toxics Study
  4. Romashkin 2001 In Situ Measurements Long Lived Trace Gases Lower Stratosphere Gas Chromatography
  5. Elkins 1996 Airborne Gas Chromatography In Situ Measurements Long Lived Species Upper Troposphere Lower Stratosphere

KNF Environmental Pumps for Gas Sampling and AnalysisWe’re very proud KNF pumps are relied upon within ambient, source and portable devices for environmental sample collection and analysis. For example, the 2010 study listed above details a project in which the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the U.S. EPA, the City of Indianapolis, and a diverse group of stakeholders teamed up to conduct an air toxics study in southwestern Indianapolis, Indiana (this region was identified by the U.S. EPA National Air Toxics Assessment [NATA] in 1996 and 1999 to be an area of potential concern for cancer risk from air toxics).

A KNF pump was used to enable the analysis of the total non-methane organic carbon (TNMOC) concentration of ambient air. For a history lesson, the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 required the EPA’s Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards to set National Ambient Air Quality Standard for the “criteria” pollutant, ozone. In areas of the country where the NAAQS for ozone is being exceeded, additional measurements of the ambient nonmethane organic compound (NMOC) concentration are needed to assist the affected States in developing revised ozone control strategies. Measurements of ambient NMOC are important to the control of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are precursors to atmospheric ozone.

Therefore, a reliable pump was essential for the collection of air samples with potentially harmful toxics. Simultaneously, it was critical for the pump to collect samples in a manner that didn’t change or contaminate the samples. KNF pumps, known for their reliability and chemical inertness, are ideally situated for this type of application. Additionally, their extremely high gas tightness allows for the accurate and complete collection of media, without the risk of sample loss, dilution, or contamination.

Also, in 2001, a study, titled In Situ Measurements of Long-Lived Trace Gases in the Lower Stratosphere by Gas Chromatography, utilized the KNF NMP 830 pump (referenced as UNMP 830 pump in article) . For this study, a four-channel gas chromatograph measured different air qualities in 70 and 140 second intervals. Air external to the aircraft was delivered to the instrument from an external, variable speed, two-stage, KNF diaphragm pump, driven by a brushless 24-V DC motor. The KNF pump was mounted on the aft wall, and was turned on by the ACATS-IV onboard computer when the ER-2 aircraft ascended through 87 kPa of atmospheric pressure.

Regarding this second study, there are a few points of interest we’d like our readers to note. First, the usage of the pump is a prime example of KNF application flexibility. The KNF NMP 830 micro pump is small; however, its footprint isn’t the only reason it was relied upon within this challenging design. For example, the pump in this application is pulling atmospheric samples at an extremely high altitude, measuring parts per billion (ppb) and parts per trillion (ppt). Expectedly, pump inertness is therefore paramount. Much like in the first study referenced above, environmental analysis customers have come to rely on KNF pump material options, including PTFE and stainless steel, and on the leak tightness of KNF pumps.

Additionally, the KNF pump used in this second study is driven by a brushless DC (BLDC) motor, which helps meet the small size mandate. BLDC allows flow rates to be adjusted as needed, helping to extend the lifecycle and reliability of a device. Motor adjustment is also particularly important for this application, because at high elevations, fewer air molecules are available to blow across the pump for cooling. Therefore, the pump faces the risk of overheating. However, the ability to adjust and operate the motor at a lower voltage and speed helps to mitigate this concern. The small and lightweight design of KNF micro gas pumps even allows for energy-efficient battery operation.

Also of note, there’s far less ambient pressure at the elevation at which the pump in this study is operating, resulting in less pressure on both the top and undersides of the diaphragm. This condition is certainly not ideal for pump operation, which further adds to the difficulty of this application. This, and the other challenges presented by high altitude operation and ppb/ppt detection require a specification-driven, individually-tailored pump. KNF excels in designing and configuring pumps to exacting requirements such as these. In fact, over 80 percent of KNF’s business involves custom-engineered pump solutions.

To round out this review, the first and second studies listed above used KNF pumps to flush sample flasks prior to sampling, and to collect and fill flasks, respectively. The last study used a KNF pump to collect samples in a high altitude study with a set-up similar to the Romashkin 2001 study, which was discussed above.

Summing up this entry to The Pump Post, each of the five studies offers a constant theme of KNF OEM pumps being well-suited for environmental sample collection and analysis applications. Please check back to learn more about KNF products in real-world applications!

Technology TIP: Measurement of Pulsating Flow

INTRODUCTION

TechTIP

Like most companies producing gas pumps, KNF uses glass tube and float type flowmeters to measure flow during pump production testing. This type of flowmeter has been used for several decades as they are fast-acting, reliable, and accurate. The normal industry practice is to calibrate this class of instrument using laminar flow. Unfortunately, the pulsating flow from reciprocating pumps produces an artificially high flowrate reading compared to the laminar flow calibration. As a result, all diaphragm and piston pump manufacturers using traditional flowmeters will end up promoting higher flow rate values than what the pumps actually provide.

OUR GOAL

measurement-flow-blogAt KNF, we are passionate about meeting the engineering design challenges of our customers. Our goal is to provide our customers with pumps that meet the actual needs of the system in which they are installed. Along with this goal comes the responsibility to provide data that best represents the performance capabilities for each pump produced at KNF. Simply stated, we want our customers to know the flow rate values we provide will accurately correspond to the actual flow produced by the pump — the true amount of gas delivered; not just an artificially inflated reading.

The flow measurement discrepancy manifests during system-level performance comparisons between continuous flow (non-pulsating) and pulsating pump types, reported to provide the same flow rates. The non-pulsating pump winds up delivering greater flow performance than the pulsating pump that was erroneously thought to be equivalent, skewing results in favor of the non-pulsating pump type.

TechTIP_MoPF_fig1

Figure 1: KNF pulsation-compensated flowmeter

THE SOLUTION

To address this situation, several years of research and development by our flow experts at the KNF Gas Pump Design Center in Freiburg, Germany has culminated in an advanced system for the measurement of pulsating flow. KNF has made an investment to implement this new technology. The resulting pulsation-compensated flowmeters (see Figure 1) are tuned and calibrated to measure pulsating flow more precisely than the traditional glass tube and float type flowmeters.

 

The more accurate flow readings from our pulsation-compensated measurement standard show lower values for flow than the laminar flow based systems used in the past. This document describes why your pump is still providing the same flow performance even though the measured and recorded flow value is lower. Glass tube and float type flowmeters are also called variable area flowmeters as the cross sectional area of the tube varies from smaller at the bottom to larger at the top (see Figure 2 below).

Figure 2

Figure 2: Cross-section illustration of a float type flowmeter

Pulsating flow always creates a higher reading in a float type flowmeter. The reason is that the float cannot move downward quickly enough between pulses. The float will remain on the top of the flow wave (see Figure 3 below). KNF has been aware of this phenomenon for quite some time and has been continually investigating better ways to attenuate the effect of the pulsation. The pulsation-compensated KNF flowmeter assemblies include physical components to minimize the effect of the pulsations.

Figure 3

Figure 3: Impact of pulsation on flowmeter readings

Simply put, our pulsation-compensated flowmeters are dampened to reduce the effect of the pulsations — these values are represented by the green line in the figure below. A dampened flowmeter may read pulsating flow too high if it was calibrated using laminar flow — that is why we use pulsating flow to calibrate our pumps at KNF. Flowmeters with little or no dampening will read artificially high as shown by the red lines.

SUMMARY

This advanced flow measurement system combines variable area flowmeters with a mass-flow calibration system. Optimized for pulsating flow, the system provides the most accurate measurement of flow available today. The improved accuracy is shown in Figure 4 (below).

Figure 4

Figure 4: KNF flowmeter reading (optimized for pulsating flow).

The chart shows flowmeters with a range of 2 – 10 liters per minute calibrated using pulsating and laminar flow compared to a target flow established by a mass flow meter. While this improvement is typical, actual results may vary across the flowmeter size ranges.

To learn more about KNF’s advanced flow measurement system please contact a KNF applications engineer.