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4 ways to control pump flow

Pump processes almost always require their flow rate to vary, whether they’re being used in food and beverage production, the chemical industry or in wastewater treatment facilities.

Here we’ll look at four common pump flow control methods:


Throttling is performed by running the pump at normal speed but opening and closing a discharge valve. This is very inefficient as the pump consumes the same energy as it would at full flow yet moves a reduced volume of water.


This is not a common flow control method and is normally used with circulation pumps. A section of the discharge flow is bypassed to the pump suction, reducing the flow output. However, as with throttling, this method consumes no less energy and is therefore inefficient.

On-off control

On-off control usually relates to a system where a desirable level must be maintained, such as in a tank, sump or drain. In this situation the pump must either be running or stopped, and a float valve is a common way of achieving this.

Variable-speed drive

The most efficient method, however, is to connect a variable-speed drive (VSD) to the electric motor driving the pump. A VSD enables the motor to consume only as much energy as is required at that moment and is perfect for applications such as food and beverage production where dosing requirements vary. Along with significant energy savings, VSDs enable improved process control and reduced wear and tear on components.

As well as a comprehensive range of pumps for most applications, Gibbons also supply, install and maintain ABB drives as part of our membership of the Authorized Value Provider programme.

To discuss improving the precision of your pumping system with ABB drives, call Alan Roberts on 07966 468430 or email

Variable-Speed Drives, Pumps & Controls

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