Understanding Process Equipment | Types of Process Equipment


Process equipment is used in several applications like water treatment, steam power generation, pipelines, saltwater disposal, etc., where chemical or mechanical methods are applied. Some examples of process equipment popularly used in these industries are pumps, valves, vessels, filters, coolers, heat exchangers, pulsation dampeners, and piping. Each of these equipment is very important because of its indispensable usage in the working of a process. Process equipment that is a part of Power Zone’s inventory is detailed below.


Pumps are widely used in various industries to essentially serve the purpose of moving different types of fluids such as water, chemicals, petroleum, wastewater, oil, sludge, slurry, or gas. Two main types of pumps are Centrifugal Pumps and Positive Displacement Pumps. They can be further classified on the basis of other features and use or applications such as multi-stage and single-stage, multi-stage – horizontal, multi-stage – vertical, direct-acting – air & steam pumps, Triplex pumps, Duplex pumps, Quintuplex Pumps, metering pumps, double-acting pumps, single-acting pumps, piston pumps, gear pumps, lobe pumps, rotary pumps, screw pumps, vane pumps, progressive cavity pumps, peristaltic pumps, etc. These are used in industries such as oil & gas, agriculture, mining, municipal, manufacturing, etc. They are also used in various applications such as boiler feedwater, pipeline, descaling, water supply, saltwater injection, water transfer, frac water supply, slurry, sump pump, sludge transfer, acid pumping, chemical fluid transfer, etc. Pumps are very important pieces of equipment used in industries and understanding the right pump for your application requires a thorough knowledge of each pump’s characteristics to suit the requirements of your process. For example, the best types of pumps for high viscous fluids are positive displacement pumps. Similarly, in-depth knowledge of pump parts would be very helpful in choosing a pump that would be more reliable, efficient, and durable. Various manufacturers such as National, Gardner Denver, FMC, SPM, Oilwell, Sulzer, Flowserve, Bingham, ITT Goulds, and SPX, Rentzel, American Marsh deal in pumps of different types, sizes, and features.


Industries use filters for removing unwanted substances from the main product during a process or application. Different kinds of filters are available in the market as per the requirement of the process such as air filter, hydraulic filter, panel filter, bag filters, screen filters, sand filter, or gas filter. They perform the primary function of filtering or removing dust, purifying oil and fuel, removing debris, and removing contaminants from a gas stream, etc. Filters are commonly used in the oil and gas industry. They are available as part of the whole pump package and make the disposal process easier, efficient, and safe. One such example is saltwater disposal, which is critical as gas and oil are harvested from porous rocks from which these fuels are extracted. Saltwater is a by-product and needs to be separated and further processed for proper disposal. The use of conventional methods for filtering is unable to facilitate cost-effective and efficient saltwater management, disposal, and reuse. Therefore, filters are used to remove toxic oils and hydrocarbons from the product, enabling safer discharge into the environment.


A valve is a device that regulates, directs, or controls the flow of fluids or gases, liquids, liquefied solids, or slurries. Valves are used in various applications of sectors such as industrial, engineering, manufacturing, scientific, etc. Valves are available for high temperature and extreme pressure applications in a wide variety of designs including globe valve, gate valves, ball valves, knife valves, V-ball valves, butterfly valves, and more. Valves can come with simple hand levers or sophisticated air, hydraulic, or electric power actuators that can be connected to a PLC.

Vessels and Tanks

A vessel is a container that can generally handle pressure. A tank generally refers to a container that simply holds fluid at low or no pressure. Since the pressure inside of a vessel can present safety hazards, vessels are often ASME stamped, meaning they were built to very stringent standards set forth by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. The following points should be considered when specifying a tank or a vessel.

  • Function to be performed/Application to be used in
  • The location where it has to be stored
  • Nature of fluid used
  • Temperature level and pressure level
  • Volume or capacity required
  • Codes and regulations required
  • Secondary containment requirements.

Open vessels are often used as surge tanks between operations, whereas closed vessels can facilitate operations that use toxic fluids/gas or dangerous chemicals.

Heat Exchangers

A heat exchanger is most widely used in process equipment for transferring heat between fluids or from a solid to a fluid or vice versa. They are mostly used in chemical plants, petrochemical plants, petroleum refineries, natural-gas processing, and sewage treatment. Double pipe heat exchangers are the most commonly used in industrial applications since they are simple, low cost, and require low maintenance. However, more efficient heat exchangers like shell and tube or plate are being used today. One must carefully choose the type and size of a heat exchanger to suit the process, depending on the type of fluid, its phase, temperature, density, viscosity, pressures, chemical composition, and various other thermodynamic properties. Air coolers are another type of heat exchanger that transfers heat between a fluid and the ambient air. The most commonly seen form of this type of cooler is the radiator on a car or a truck, where a fan pulls air across pipes with hot glycol in them to cool the engine. Air coolers can be used for small lubrication oil cooling or can become very large.

Pulsation Dampeners

The main purpose of a pulsation dampener is to absorb system shocks by minimizing pulsation, pipe vibration, water hammering, and fluctuations in pressure within a pipeline. Mostly used on reciprocating pumps, these help in minimizing general wear and tear of the equipment and ensure longer life. By creating an area of low pressure made of a membrane or a cushion of compressible gas/air, a pulsation dampener absorbs the pulse, providing constant pressure and smooth flow of fluid. Dampeners used to even out pressures in a hydraulic system are often referred to as Accumulators.


Piping is a comprehensive system of pipes used for flowing fluid/gas from one place to another. It is also an essential process equipment used in all kinds of machines to tie together all other types of process equipment. It is usually made of metal or plastic and is in the shape of a tube. However, for special applications where pipes are exposed to frequent corrosion, high pressurized operations, or high temperature, non-metallic materials such as fiberglass, plastic, glass, copper, iron, stainless steel or aluminum are more suitable for use. Pipes which can withstand very high temperature are typically defined as heat pipes and they normally operate between 400 and 1,100°C. Elbows, tees, flanges, couplings, unions etc. are few of the pipe fittings mostly used. Because the pressure in piping presents a serious safety hazard, much care and consideration must be taken to design a safe and workable system. In the case of metal piping that is welded together, the fabricator generally must be certified for the specific type of pipe he is manufacturing, such as B-31.3, B-31.9, etc. A wide variety of NDE (non-destructive examination) tests is available to ensure the piping is safe and fit for use. These NDE tests include XRAY, Hydrotesting, Mag-particle, Ultrasonic, and more.


Choosing the right kind of process equipment for your operation is critical to maintaining the efficiency and safety of your plant. It helps in good quality product/output and also aids the operators with smooth and hassle-free functioning. CoorsTek, Emerson, Fisher, Xylem, and Culligan are few brands which manufacture process equipment of various designs, sizes, and features which are available according to your requirement. View Full Inventory Power Zone Equipment deals in used, new and rebuilt process equipment and has thousands of items in stock ready to be used. Please feel free to contact us for any help or information. Our full staff of engineers and salespeople will be happy to assist you. Contact us!

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