Vacuum pumps are absolutely essential in keeping many industries afloat. Canning, woodworking, printing, meat packaging, and electronics manufacturing… all of these applications, and more, simply wouldn’t be possible without vacuum power. This means that choosing the right type of vacuum pump to fit an application is an extremely important decision. Unfortunately, it’s common to assume that generating vacuum merely consists of plugging in the vacuum pump and letting it drop to the required level – so the type of vacuum technology isn’t important. Wrong!
Key Factors in Choosing the Right Vacuum Pump Technology
There are three key factors to consider when researching and choosing the proper vacuum pump for your process: how the vacuum pump will impact the application and vice-versa; what the application’s vacuum requirements are; and the complete cost of ownership.
1. Impact of Process on Pump & Pump on Process.
It stands to reason that the type of pump you choose will impact your application, just as your application will impact the pump! For example, if you are selecting a pump for an oil-free application, such as pharmaceuticals or food packaging, then choosing an oil-sealed pump wouldn’t be the right decision.
Pump Impact on Application Application Impact on Pump
Pump vibration Dust/debris from process
Oil emission (if an oil-sealed pump) Mechanical movements & vibrations
Noise, heat, and particle emissions Gases/other mixtures in process
2. Vacuum Level Requirements.
Different applications require different levels of vacuum, and different vacuum pumps pull different pressure levels. With this in mind, knowing which vacuum level is required is vital to selecting the right pump technology. For instance, selecting a liquid ring pump that operates only to 28-29" of vacuum would not be suitable for a process that requires good gas flow at less than 1 torr. You should also consider whether or not your vacuum pump requires a consistent pressure level to be held, or whether it’s focused more on the pump-down process.
3. Cost of Ownership.
This includes both the initial capital costs of purchasing the vacuum pump, as well as the costs of servicing and maintaining the vacuum pump over its lifetime of use. For example, certain pumps, such as a vane pump, might require more maintenance because of consistent vane replacements – while the maintenance costs on oil-sealed rotary screw pumps could be much lower. Saving energy, reducing the frequency of oil changes, and having maximum pump availability due to non-wearing points are all elements to consider when looking at pump costs.
Want to learn more about the various vacuum technologies? Read on to discover more!