Pump reliability has been crucial to a historic West Country paper mill’s approach to using both traditional and modern technology.
St Cuthberts Mill, a master papermaker with a heritage that can be traced back to the 18th century, wanted to bring its production processes into the modern age.
Based near Wells in Somerset, St Cuthberts specialises in the manufacture of high-quality artists’ papers. The company makes approximately 80 tons of paper every month using a continental shift pattern across 24/7 operations.
Essential to the company’s success is the performance of its papers, which can be used for watercolour, printmaking or inkjet use.
We wanted to move into the 21st century, and knew that the Qdos pumps could offer us a number of key advantages
Paul Tremlett, shift manager, St Cuthberts Mill
Boosting performance required more accurate metering of substances such as pigment and starch, improved pump reliability and a more stable flow of product.
“Reliability is the key to our output,” states the company’s shift manager Paul Tremlett. “As a result, we need pumps that perform reliably, day-in, day-out.”
Until recently, St Cuthberts used a series of older peristaltic pumps, some of which were installed 20 years ago. Recently, though, it has switched to Qdos pump technology from Watson- Marlow Fluid Technology Group.
“We wanted to move into the 21st century, and knew that the Qdos pumps could offer us a number of key advantages,” says Tremlett. “For instance, the pumps can be linked to the machine’s control system, so we can change speed accordingly.”
The company currently has two Qdos 120 pumps and two Qdos 30 models for metering of pigments and starch, with two more Qdos 30 pumps on order.
What’s more, all papers produced by St Cuthberts are internally sized to increase strength. This process involves the addition of a special chemical – also pumped using Qdos technology – to make the sheet stronger and eliminate any possibility of blotting effects.
Qdos pumps are selfpriming and reversible, so fluids can be returned to source at the end of a shift. Their design, says the company, inherently reduces maintenance as operators can quickly and safely replace one component, the ReNu pumphead, without the need for tools or special skills.
The pumps offer high-accuracy metering, which helps maximise trust in the product
Cleaning times are also minimised – thus delivering further efficiencies to the St Cuthberts team. Crucially, from a health and safety perspective, integral leak detection reduces wastage and eliminates mill operator exposure to chemicals.
“The machine crew here love the Qdos pumps as they are so reliable; we’ve not had a single glitch even when handling the abrasive starch. The pumps offer high-accuracy metering, which helps maximise trust in the product,” says Tremlett.
Flow rates from 0.1 to 2,000 ml/min at up to 7 bar can be achieved using Qdos pumps. Importantly, simple drop-in installation eliminates the need for ancillary equipment that often brings with it further maintenance challenges and costs.
Since installation, the Qdos pumps have run with complete reliability, boosted precision considerably, and saved thousands of pounds, says the company. This is due to precise shade and chemical addition control and a reduction in downtime associated with a previously deployed pump.