Tanker pump revolution

Water carts are an important part of the transport industry. Although the generic name of water carts seems pretty simple, the reality is much different.

The range of water carts can vary from a small single axle truck with a converted fuel tank on the back to a sophisticated 30,000 or 50,000 litre tanker in stainless steel, delivering drinking water where required.

On the outskirts of Sydney and Brisbane, there are still plenty of homeowners who depend on water delivery in a drought, when the rainfall lets them down.

Originally water carts had dribble bars and were designed specifically for roadwork applications. In a drought those same tankers are very useful for helping farmers and homeowners, sometimes whole villages or country towns. Look at Stanthorpe during the drought as an example.

Fifty years ago, those dribble bar tankers had small engine drive low pressure pumps built into the tanker structure used for loading the tanker from rivers, creeks or dams.

Today, Australian Pump Industries is the number one supplier of self-priming centrifugal pumps for tankers in the country. Aussie Pumps’ range includes a line-up of 2”, 3” and 4” pumps that are petrol, diesel engine driven or hydraulic drive configuration.

Hydraulics are regarded as being the future because of the flexibility of installation on the truck, their dust free configuration, and the amount of power they can deliver to the pump.

“We’ve seen plenty of pumps fail because the engine has been dusted,” said Aussie Pumps chief engineer, John Hales. “Sometimes the operator has got so frustrated with the poor performance, they’ve taken the air cleaner element out and thrown it away. The performance goes up dramatically, but for a very brief period, before the engine is dusted up,” said Hales.

He added that when it comes to service, sometimes the vehicle may get all the attention but the poor pump on the back of the unit is  largely ignored. 

“Those pump engines, up to 25hp, need to be serviced regularly, the oil checked daily and only run with clean diesel fuel,” said Hales. 

The range includes pumps that are petrol, diesel engine driven or hydraulic drive configuration.

Hales also pointed out that with the hydraulic system, the pump can be mounted in a number of different locations to suit the operation. The flexibility of those hydraulic lines enables engineering freedom.

“Hydraulic drive is directly off the main truck engine, providing virtually unlimited power to the pump, delivering maximum performance as required,” said Hales.

Aussie Pumps works with Australia’s leading tanker manufacturers. They are pleased with the way the market is reacting to the push to hydraulics but there are still a lot of tankers out there using both petrol and diesel drive pumps.

“We use Honda single cylinder and sometimes twin cylinder engines where required. The photo shows a 4” heavy-duty 316 stainless steel GMP pump, capable of 2600 lpm (B4XR/A), driven by a Honda GX690 27hp engine. It’s a beautiful installation in a stainless steel tanker, destined for a life delivering fresh sparkling water to customers around capital cities,” said Hales.

Unsung heroes

Tanker pumps don’t get a lot of credit. Everybody loves big trucks, big horsepower, flash rigs and they get all the adoration. Aussie’s range of humble tanker pumps do great jobs and often are covered by a warranty of up to five years.

“In our experience, third world tanker pumps can be difficult to prime. With no name third world hydraulic motors, they rarely gave the performance promised, fading off the scene. It seems that Australians are discovering that getting a great product at a fair price is better than getting a fair product at a great price. After all, who wants to be out of action due to a failed pump?” said Hales.

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