Picking Fuel Transfer Pumps

Everything you need to know about picking a fuel transfer pump

Fuel transfer pump on top of a barrel If you’re shopping around for a fuel transfer pump, you know the market is flooded with options and probably want some help making a decision.

Whether you command a fleet of trucks of forklifts to do work or use smaller diesel-powered machines, the parts and tools used in your operations can have a huge impact on your productivity and revenue. That means the fuel transfer pump used in your facility could be the difference between vehicles running smoothly and everything grinding to a halt.

But making that final call about what fuel pump to buy can be tough. There a lot of practical aspects of fuel pumps to consider, even excluding things like the cost and return on investment.

To help, here are a few pointers to make sure you get the fuel pump that meets all your needs.

-2 questions to ask first

Before you start diving into vendor and pump options, take a step back and ask yourself two questions about the fuel pump you need:

  1. How will the pump be used?
  2. Where will the pump be used?

Answering the first question tells you some important things to look for in pumps, like what kind of flow rate you need to refuel your equipment. The flow rate is measured in liters per minute (ppm). Having an rpm rate too small for machines means waiting long periods during refueling, while pumps with rpm rates too high for equipment will cause you to spill and waste fuel.

If you’re refueling bigger machines you’ll want a pump with a high rpm rate: about 70 pm for most vans and trucks and 90 pm for large buses and heavy machinery. For smaller cars and machinery, like forklifts, a rate of 50 rpm should be fine.

The second question is important because it helps you determine what kind of power source and set up to look for in your next fuel pump.

If refueling is going to happen in one set location, you can choose a permanent pump that uses an AC power source in your facility. But if refueling will mostly happen at remote or temporary locations, like worksites or a secondary location, you’re likely better off using a battery-powered pump.

Manual pumps are also useful for refueling small machines or if you’ll need to transfer fuel between drums and other containers.

-Don’t forget about compliance

Depending on how you’ll use fuel transfer pumps, you’ll also have to contend with regulators and their various rules about equipment.

In the U.S., the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has strict rules about handling and storing fuel, as well as rules about how workers need to be trained on handling fuel. For example, the fuel tank your pump is connected to needs to be secured so it can’t be knocked over.

You can find more specifics about OSHA’s rules for using fuel pumps here.

Similarly, if you plan on using pumps to transfer fuel for sales, then pumps have to be configured so they can measure and weigh what’s being stored. That’s a requirement under the Weights and Measure Act but only applies in certain circumstances. If you only use pumps to refuel your own machines, you aren’t subject to the Weights and Measure Act requirements.

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