Nichols Portland, Inc. Brands Win Awards at MPIF’s Powdermet 2023

Nichols Portland, Inc. Brands Win Awards at MPIF's Powdermet 2023 Nichols Portland, Inc. Brands Win Awards at MPIF's Powdermet 2023 Nichols Portland, Inc. Brands Win Awards at MPIF's Powdermet 2023 Nichols Portland, Inc. Brands Win Awards at MPIF's Powdermet 2023

Las Vegas, Nevada June 19, 2023 – Today, the Powder Metallurgy community recognized its best of the best as part of the Metal Powder Industry Federation’s (MPIF) annual Design Excellence Competition. The NPI organization was recognized for being a leader in the P/M technology with a total of 3 awards for the brands of Nichols Portland LLC and Alpha Precision Group.

The Nichols Portland LLC product was recognized with an Award of Distinction for a specialized gerotor set used in a series of heavy duty applications, requiring tight tolerances and material selection that support elevated level of fatigue resistant capabilities. The Alpha Precision Group received an award of distinction for Sprocket / Pulley utilized in a non-automotive application. This is a notable example of collaborating with our customer to find a cost effective technical solution with a complicated product / application. The highlight of the wins is the grand prize in the automotive category for an Oxygen Boss Sensor. Along with the specialized material and density requirements, the APG team was able to design complicated features in the tooling for the benefit of the customer’s design with limited secondary requirements.

The series of wins extends the Nichols Portland LLC’s win streak to 4 years in a row, and this will be the third year in a row for the Alpha Precision Group.

About Nichols Portland, Inc.

Headquartered in Portland Maine, Nichols consists of Nichols Portland LLC., Alpha Precision Group and Neota Product Solutions.

Nichols Portland LLC. provides system engineering to its customers and a complete fluid power or fluid transfer package. Nichols is the world’s first manufacturer of gerotors and gerotor pumps. Nichols has more than 85 years of continuous experience in the manufacturing, design, application, testing and validation of these products. In addition, we are a leader in compressive custom or off the shelf solutions for powdered metal, billet, or pump designs for fluid transfer devices.

APG is a diversified metal-forming technology company providing conventional powdered metal, high temperature stainless steel powdered metal, metal injection molding, and additive metal manufacturing (3D metal printing) components and assemblies as well as high precision valve assemblies to a global customer base. The company continues to leverage unparalleled technical expertise and innovative technologies to provide custom solutions to customers.

About Altus Capital Partners

Altus Capital Partners is a private equity firm that makes control investments in middle market manufacturing businesses that employ technology and automation. We believe that our exclusive focus on manufacturing provides us with a unique understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by companies in the sector. We utilize a patient, thoughtful investment approach and partner with the management teams of our operating companies to achieve growth. For more information, please visit www.altuscapitalpartners.com.

For more information:

Stephen Madill

EVP, Sales & Marketing

Nichols Portland, Inc.

smadill@NicholsPortlandInc.com

Gerotor Pump Advantages and Disadvantages

Consistency, efficiency, and versatility. 

When asked what sets gerotor pumps apart from other pumps, these are the answers. 

Gerotor pumps have been around for more than a century as a preferred method of pumping fluids. In this blog, we’ll discuss the gerotor pumps advantages and disadvantages, as well as when gerotor pumps are best.

What Are Gerotor Pumps?

Before diving into the advantages and disadvantages of gerotor pumps, understanding what gerotor pumps are and how they work is essential. 

We’ll start with the basics. What are gerotor pumps?Gerotor Pump Advantages and Disadvantages

They’re positive displacement pumps used to pump fluids of nearly any viscosity. Broken down, gerotor pumps consist of rotating inner and outer gears.

As the inner and outer gears rotate, the space between the inner and outer gear profile increases creating suction and drawing fluid into the pumping chambers. As rotation continues, the space between the inner and outer gear profile decreases and the fluid is pushed out.

 

Advantages of Gerotor Pumps

There are several positive displacement pumps to choose from. What are the advantages of gerotor pumps?

  1. Consistent, constant fluid distribution
  2. Simple operation & functionality
  3. High efficiency
  4. Extreme versatility from gerotors

1. Consistent, Constant Fluid Distribution

Regardless of viscosity, a gerotor pump maintains a constant and consistent fluid distribution. Gerotor pumps pump oil, water, or even fuels with minimal leakage, maintaining a near-

constant volume of fluid displacement per revolution across a broad range of outlet pressure.

 

2. Simple Operation & Functionality

While gerotors are complex structures, the functionality is pretty straightforward. Gerotor pumps function in either direction and are relatively quiet. With only two moving parts, the chance of parts breaking or malfunctioning is much less than other pumps – resulting in low maintenance and repair costs.

As a low-cost, quiet way to pump fluid, gerotor pumps are highly sought after in applications for vehicles and aircraft.

 

3. High Efficiency

Due to their design, gerotor pumps are highly efficient. With large teeth that allow fluid to flow smoothly, there is low vibration during the process – resulting in minimal wear and tear as well as lower energy consumption.

The overall compact size of the gerotor pump also ensures efficiency. These pumps only hold a specific amount of fluid, so the energy to operate is much less than in larger pumps.

 

4. Extreme Versatility from Gerotors

The versatility of gerotors is one of the main advantages of gerotor pumps. Gerotors have the ability to be mounted directly on an existing shaft or be driven via the outer rotor. 

They can be packaged easily into a large system, such as an engine or a transmission. Due to their ability to build suction pressure, they need not be submerged in a fluid sump – in fact, gerotors are an excellent choice for lifting liquids from a tank and pulling it through hoses or internal channels.

On the other hand, internally, a single gerotor set can accommodate multiple inlet flow streams operating at different pressures.

 

Disadvantages of Gerotor Pumps

Although gerotor pumps are ideal for several applications, there are three main disadvantages to the process: 

  1. Unable to process solid inputs
  2. Limited scalability
  3. Fixed clearances

 

1. Unable to Process Solid Inputs

While gerotor pumps handle fluids of nearly any viscosity, they can’t process solid inputs. The gears of gerotor pumps are meant to rotate smoothly and quickly. If a solid is inputted, the gears can get stuck or shift, resulting in potential damage, wear and tear, and inefficient processes.

 

2. Limited Scalability

All pumps have size limitations. No matter the size of the pump, the amount of fluid can’t exceed the pump cavity’s volume capacity.

How does this affect the flow rate? 

For any application, the maximum flow rate that the pump can supply is its RPM

multiplied by its displacement. A pump that is spinning too slow will be extremely

inefficient, or fail to support its internal journal bearings. 

Speeding the pump up, a limit will be reached when the tip speed of the gear set is so high that fluid does not fill the inlet. It is crucial to identify the optimal speed for a gerotor pump – or conversely, the optimal gerotor pump for a given application.

 

3. Fixed Clearances

In gerotor pumps, the distance between the inner and outer rotor and the fixed surfaces on

either side is known as axial clearance. Inner and outer rotors also have a radial clearance. These clearances are defined when a gerotor pumping element is designed into a pocket in a

pump housing.

When the clearance is too large, a significant quantity of fluid can leak from high pressure regions to low-pressure regions, resulting in decreased volumetric efficiency. When the clearance is too small, especially in relation to the pumped fluid’s viscosity, much of the torque input to the gear set is used for simply overcoming the fluid drag, resulting in decreased mechanical efficiency.

Pro Tip! In pumps, the chance of decreased efficiency and increased leaks is high. Regularly keeping up with pump maintenance is important to avoid leaks and decreases in efficiency.

 

When Gerotor Pumps Are Best

When choosing a pump for an application, it’s usually based on ease of packaging and optimizing efficiency.

Since gerotor pumps are compact to package, energy efficient, and quiet, they are the preferred pump choice in many industries, most notably aerospace and automotive

For applications in both, fuel and oil need to be pumped through engine systems with minimal environmental impact, and high efficiency.

 

Gerotor Pumps Moving Forward

As a consistent, efficient way to pump fluids for over a century, gerotor pumps will remain a viable option in many industries for years to come. 

With its efficiency and other advantages, gerotor pumps bring a new level of optimization to an application.

 

Ready to Choose a Pump? 

Weighing your options when selecting a pump is difficult. Consult with one of our specialists to ensure you’re making the correct decision. 

Nichols Portland, Inc. Completes Acquisition of Neota Product Solutions LLC

Nichols Portland, Inc. Completes Acquisition of Neota Product Solutions LLC

PORTLAND, ME, June 9, 2023 — Thomas K. Houck, President, and CEO of Nichols Portland Inc. (“Nichols” or
the “Company”) today announced that Nichols has acquired the assets of Neota Product Solutions LLC (“Neota”).
Nichols is a portfolio company of Altus Capital Partners, an investment firm focused on middle market industrial
companies headquartered in the United States. Financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.

Neota is a comprehensive Metal Injection Molding (MIM) solutions provider of early-stage prototyping through full-scale manufacturing. Neota is experienced in the launch of new products efficiently and effectively. Mr. Houck, stated, “The Neota acquisition is an excellent complement to our existing MIM solutions, and we welcome Jason Osborne, President of Neota, and his team to the Nichols group. Jason’s years of experience in MIM product design for manufacture will help to further accelerate the depth and breadth of our capabilities and service the ever-evolving needs of our customers.”

“The addition of Neota to Nichols portfolio of customer-focused services will further strengthen its manufacturing
capabilities as a comprehensive MIM solutions provider,” said Heidi Goldstein, Partner of Altus Capital Partners. “We are thrilled about the opportunities this partnership will provide.”

About Nichols Portland, Inc.
Headquartered in Portland Maine, Nichols consists of Nichols Portland LLC., Alpha Precision Group and Neota Product Solutions.

Nichols Portland LLC. provides system engineering to its customers and a complete fluid power or fluid transfer
package. Nichols is the world’s first manufacturer of gerotors and gerotor pumps. Nichols has more than 85 years of
continuous experience in the manufacturing, design, application, testing and validation of these products. In addition, we are a leader in compressive custom or off the shelf solutions for powdered metal, billet, or pump designs for fluid transfer devices.

APG is a diversified metal-forming technology company providing conventional powdered metal, high temperature
stainless steel powdered metal, metal injection molding, and additive metal manufacturing (3D metal printing)
components and assemblies as well as high precision valve assemblies to a global customer base. The company
continues to leverage unparalleled technical expertise and innovative technologies to provide custom solutions to
customers.

About Altus Capital Partners
Altus Capital Partners is a private equity firm that makes control investments in middle market manufacturing
businesses that employ technology and automation. We believe that our exclusive focus on manufacturing provides
us with a unique understanding of the opportunities and challenges faced by companies in the sector. We utilize a
patient, thoughtful investment approach and partner with the management teams of our operating companies to achieve growth. For more information, please visit www.altuscapitalpartners.com.

For more information:

Thomas K. Houck
President and CEO
Nichols Portland, Inc.
Thouck@NicholsPortlandInc.com

Positive Displacement Pump Maintenance: Why Do You Need It?

Positive displacement pumps are pivotal elements of several industries, performing essential tasks that involve moving fluids at constant volumes. However, their performance and longevity significantly depend on maintenance. Properly maintaining your positive displacement pump is crucial to ensuring it operates efficiently and lasts for a long time. This blog post will cover the primary considerations and steps for positive displacement pump maintenance.

 

Understanding Positive Displacement Pumps

Before diving into the maintenance aspect, it’s necessary to comprehend what a positive displacement pump is. Positive displacement pumps move fluids by trapping a specific amount and forcing (displacing) that trapped volume into the discharge pipe.

 

Routine Maintenance

Regular maintenance is key to the longevity of positive displacement pumps. Here are a few routine maintenance activities to ensure your pump’s optimal performance:

  1. Lubrication: The parts of the pump need regular lubrication to function smoothly. Check the conditions of bearings and seals for any signs that lubrication is inadequate. 
  2. Seal Inspection: Inspect pump seals for leaks regularly. If there are any leaks, this could signal wear and tear, requiring seal replacement. In the absence of any leaks, check the visible sealing surface for wear marks.
  3. Vibration analysis: Regularly checking for excessive vibration can help predict potential failures. Unusual vibrations may indicate imbalances, misalignments, or mechanical wear in the pump components.
  4. Temperature monitoring: Keep a regular check on the operating temperature of the pump, and in areas where evidence of excessive heat could lead to wear or catastrophic failure, such as gear teeth. Overheating can lead to severe damage, reducing the life of your pump.

Preventative Maintenance for Positive Displacement Pumps

Preventative maintenance involves tasks performed to avoid potential failures. Here are a few key preventative measures:

  1. Regular inspections: Regularly inspect all pump components, such as the motor, seals, bearings, and pumping elements.
  2. Proper installation: Proper installation plays a significant role in the pump’s overall life. Ensure the pump is correctly aligned and all parts are tightened as per manufacturer’s recommendations.
  3. Scheduled servicing: Stick to the servicing schedule as advised by the pump manufacturer. Regular servicing involves cleaning, inspecting, and if required, replacing worn-out components.

Corrective Maintenance

Despite the best preventative practices, pumps may eventually fail. Corrective maintenance comes into play when there are pump issues that need immediate attention. Here are a few measures for corrective maintenance:

  1. Replacement of parts: If any component of the pump shows signs of severe wear and tear, it should be replaced promptly.
  2. Correcting misalignments: Misalignment is a common issue that can cause excessive vibration, leading to premature wear and tear. A pump’s bearings and pumping elements should move smoothly, without any hitching or unusual noise. Correcting misalignments promptly can prevent further damage.
  3. Troubleshooting: Any operational issues should be dealt with promptly. This involves identifying the root cause of the problem and addressing it.

Maintaining Your Pump

Proper maintenance of your positive displacement pump can significantly enhance its lifespan and efficiency, thus reducing downtime and saving costs in the long run. Always remember that preventative maintenance is more cost-effective than corrective maintenance. Keep a maintenance schedule and stick to it for optimal performance of your positive displacement pump.

Stay on top of your pump maintenance and you’ll have a machine that keeps your operations running smoothly and efficiently for a long time. Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, especially when it comes to maintaining industrial equipment like positive displacement pumps.

Ready to learn more? Check out our other resources.