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An oil-free vacuum pump, also referred to an oil-less vacuum pump or dry running vacuum pump, is essentially a pump that does not use lubricants in the chamber to create a vacuum or cool the pump. In oil-lubricated machines lubrication is used a seal the vacuum chamber and cool the pump. Oil-free machines use other means to cool the machine during operation such as water or air cooling.
Oil-free vacuum technologies offer considerable savings in terms of overall energy efficiency. Oil-free vacuum pumps when combined with a VSD (variable speed drive) can reduce energy consumption by up to 50% in some applications compared to their oil lubricated equivalents. The Specific Energy Requirement or SER is the ratio of the power consumption (in watts) of the vacuum pump to the respective pumping speed (m3/h) in relation to the suction pressure (mbar abs.). Simply stated, how much energy is needed to move a certain amount of air from A to B. The compression principles of oil-free vacuum pumps can allow for a much reduced SER depending on the application requirements. Most oil-free technologies are compatible with a VSD to allow for greater process accuracy from the pump and therefore reduce energy consumption further.
If you have a process that requires stringent or lower level of contamination risk then oil free vacuum pump offer an efficient and assured solution. These vacuum pumps have been specifically developed to meet the needs of manufacturers that require only the highest air purity environments.
If you’re looking to reduce maintenance costs an oil-free vacuum pumps would be the ideal solution. These pumps do not require the same level of maintenance as an oil-lubricated machine. There is no need to replace the oil and separator elements, which is regularly required and naturally results in higher operating costs over the pump’s lifetime.
Unlike there oil lubricated counterparts, oil-free vacuum pumps do not have to be removed to carry out essential maintenance servicing. This means there is little or no equipment downtime, as well as any indirect costs from lost production uptime.
Oil-free vacuum pumps remove the cost of lubricants, waste oil disposal and labour. They also have the additional benefit of reducing oil consumption in our manufacturing processes, lessening the user's impact on the environment from production of oil and disposal of waste oil.
All of the above benefits allow oil-free vacuum pumps to offer outstandingly low total cost of ownership (TCO) over the lifetime of the pump. Reduced service and maintenance costs, combined with energy savings will reduce operating costs per machine. Although the initial investment of an oil lubricated solution may look appealing, the lifetime costs far outweigh those of a dry running machine in the long-term.
Elmo Rietschle offers a range of oil-free vacuum pumps, each suited to the particular requirements of individual applications. For instance, the S-VSI dry-running screw vacuum pump for packaging under protective gas needs no coolant or sealing medium in the suction chamber. This particular pump is water-cooled and offers low heat emission into the environment.
Investing in oil-free technology will ensure the highest standards of air quality. This is a particularly key consideration within clean manufacturing environments such as food packaging, food processing, beverage, pharmaceuticals, laboratories and medical.
Speak to our vacuum experts about the right solution for your application.
The majority of vacuum pumps currently in use are oil-lubricated. With regular maintenance using genuine spare parts many applications will operate without any problems arising. Nevertheless, there is the potential risk of oil discharging from the exhaust of this type of pump, which presents a particularly significant problem in a food and beverage manufacturing plant.
In addition to oil discharge from the exhaust, there are a number of other issues that operators need to be aware of. Operating at high temperatures and an open-ended inlet port could result in oil carrying over from the pump. A separator element may also fail due to misuse or through the use of non-genuine spare parts. For this reason, it is important to work with a trusted and experienced maintenance partner, who can help and offer support should these matters arise.
Oil lubricated solutions are still essential for a variety of applications, but in energy and cost intensive applications a strong trend towards dry technology can be seen.