Triplex plunger pumps use three plungers, which reduces the pulsation of single reciprocating plunger pumps. Adding a pulsation dampener on the pump outlet can further smooth the pump ripple, or ripple graph of a pump transducer. The dynamic relationship of the high-pressure fluid and plunger generally requires high-quality plunger seals. Plunger pumps with a larger number of plungers have the benefit of increased flow, or smoother flow without a pulsation damper. The increase in moving parts and crankshaft load is one drawback.
Car washes often use these triplex-style plunger pumps (perhaps without pulsation dampers). In 1968, William Bruggeman reduced the size of the triplex pump and increased the lifespan so that car washes could use equipment with smaller footprints. Durable high-pressure seals, low-pressure seals and oil seals, hardened crankshafts, hardened connecting rods, thick ceramic plungers and heavier duty ball and roller bearings improve reliability in triplex pumps. Triplex pumps now are in a myriad of markets across the world.
Triplex pumps with shorter lifetimes are commonplace to the home user. A person who uses a home pressure washer for 10 hours a year may be satisfied with a pump that lasts 100 hours between rebuilds. Industrial-grade or continuous duty triplex pumps on the other end of the quality spectrum may run for as much as 2,080 hours a year.
The oil and gas drilling industry uses massive semi trailer-transported triplex pumps called mud pumps to pump drilling mud, which cools the drill bit and carries the cuttings back to the surface. Drillers use triplex or even quintuplex pumps to inject water and solvents deep into shale in the extraction process called fracking.