The Quick and Dirty Guide to Peristaltic Pumps

Author: Jeff Simpson | October 7, 2014 | Category: Pumps

masterflex_pump-resizedKnowing which pump to choose for your application can be challenging! That's why we've put together quick guides for several types of positive displacement pumps (internal gear, external gear, rotary lobe) along with the advantages, disadvantages, and best applications for each. In this post, we dive into the peristaltic pump, how it functions, so you can decide if it fits your application.


    Peristaltic pumps are a type of positive displacement pump used for pumping various fluids. The fluid is completely contained within a flexible tube or hose, and fitted inside a pump casing. Peristaltic pumps have long been known for pumping abrasive slurries, but they are also great for pumping dangerous and abrasive chemicals, such as caustics, acids or bleach.
  2. Peristaltic_pump_LAMBDA_PRECIFLOW_-_pumping_mechanismHOW IT WORKS

    The motor shaft of the pump is connected to a series of rollers or cams inside the pump housing. As the motor turns, the rollers or cams "squeeze" the liquid from the inlet to the outlet of the pump. The compression of the rollers/cams on the tubing or hose acts like a check valve in the pump keeping liquid flowing smoothly in one direction and offering a repeatable and consistent flow with each revolution. 


    These pumps are great for clean and sterile or aggressive fluids where cross contamination with exposed pump components cannot occur. Peristaltic pumps are a critical component when isolating a fluid from the environment, and the environment from the fluid. You'll find these pumps in a wide variety of industrial and food additive applications, including those for abrasive and viscous fluids.


    Peristaltic pumps do generate pulsations. This can be controlled, but not completely eliminated; therefore if a smooth flow is desired, this pump may not be your best choice. They can also be hazardous if the tube or hose breaks, unless the unit is equipped with a "leak protection" feature. Checking the hose for wear regularly can help to prevent leakage.


    Below is a short list of the best applications for this pump:
  • Food manufacturing
    • Beverage dispensing

  • Chemical handling
    • Printing, paint and pigments
    • Pharmaceutical production
    • Hazardous chemicals

  • Water & Wastewater
    • Chemical process metering
    • Chemical transfer

  • Engineering & manufacturing
    • Pulp & Paper applications
    • Concrete

Here's an example of a peristaltic pump put to good use. A coastal community in Maine was in desperate need of an upgrade to their existing chemical feed system and turned to Masterflex peristaltic pumps as the solution. Watch their story below.

"Coastal Community Cleans Up Its Act with Masterflex Pumps"

Think this pump might be right for your application? Make sure you get the right pump for the job by talking to an experienced engineer. If you need help selecting the right pump for your application, ask us about it! We gladly provide technical assistance to businesses in Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. 


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Jeff Simpson

Jeff Simpson

Jeff is an Account Manager at Crane Engineering. For the past 24 years he has specialized in supply wastewater and process pumping systems for industrial and municipal clients. He has helped customers with design, project management, and start-up support for those systems.

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