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The Dredge Pump

What is a Dredge Pump

A dredge pump is a horizontal centrifugal pump and is the heartbeat of a dredge.  It is designed to handle abrasive granular materials and solids of limited size in suspension.  Without the dredge pump, a cutter suction dredge would not be able to transport slurry.

The dredge pump is designed to take in sediment, debris, and other harmful materials from the surface floor into a suction pipe, carrying the material to a discharge site through a pipeline.  The pump must be able to handle common solid fragments of various sizes that are capable of passing through the pump, minimizing downtime required for cleaning. 


How do dredge pumps work?

The dredge pump contains a pump casing and an impeller.  The impeller is mounted inside the pump casing and is attached to the drive motor via gearbox and shaft. The frontal portion of the pump casing is sealed using a suction cover, connecting directly to the dredge’s suction pipe.  The dredge pump’s discharge is positioned near the top of the dredge pump and is connected to a separate discharge line. 

The impeller is considered the core of a dredge pump and is similar to a fan that forces out air creating a centrifugal suction force.  At the suction pipe, this vacuum absorbs the slurry and transports the material through the discharge pipeline.

Dredge Pump Characteristics

  1. Cutter suction dredges are typically equipped with a hull mounted dredge pump that has the center of its impeller located at or below the waterline for further production and improved suction efficiency.
  2. A dredge pump is designed to move a large volume of fluid and solids.
  3. In ideal conditions, a dredge pump can generate fluid acceleration greater than the speed of its fastest moving component.
  4. Certain models can generate discharge pressures up to 260 ft. (80 m) of head.
  5. A dredge pump’s overall performance is predictable, despite a complex internal flow pattern.

Selecting a Dredge Pump

Most standard dredges are designed and outfitted with an  optimally size dredge pump to achieve an overall productivity range In cases where the pump size and type are a undefined, it is worth considering the following factors when selecting a dredge and dredge pump:  type and thickness of material to be pumped,  whether diesel or electric power is required, engine HP (kw) needed,  pump performance data, durability, ease of maintenance, and  average life expectancy under normal operating conditions, all vital attributes in the selection process.  Of equal importance is matching the appropriate pipeline size and composition to maintain proper flow of material without clogging the pipeline and to maintain required pumping production to complete the job.

Ellicott Dredges, LLC offers its own line of dredge pumps designed for optimal performance in each cutter suction dredge and they have been proven in a variety of applications around the world to be very reliable in transporting abrasive materials and solids.