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Industrial Vacuum Pumps

Hazards to Avoid When Sizing Vacuum Pumps


This is a recap of Walt See's webinar, “Understanding Flow for Proper Vacuum Pump Sizing.” You can listen to the full webinar here.

You know your facility is in need of a new vacuum pump, and you think you’ve considered all of the variables. But have you? There are a host of mistakes that can be made when sizing a vacuum pump. Here we highlight a few of the most common pitfalls to avoid when selecting the right pump for your application!

    1. Overlooking Target Operating Pressure and Pump’s Performance Curves. It’s common for pump manufacturer’s to highlight their pump’s peak performance, wherever this may fall on the performance curve. However, you should carefully investigate the performance curve to ensure that the required operating pressure falls beneath the pump’s performance-level capabilities at the target operating pressure. You should also build in a slight safety margin to cover peak needs.
  1. Relying Solely on Motor Size. If you’re sizing based on motor size alone, you might want to rethink your approach. While air compressors demonstrate a correlation between motor size and performance, vacuum pumps do not display the same correlation. Often facility needs, unit efficiency, and specific technology can impact pump performance.
  2. Using SCFM Rather than ACFM. ACFM (actual cubic feet per minute) is a much more accurate measurement of vacuum system real-life air consumption conditions than SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute), and should be used when sizing your pump. The reason? Most vacuum systems don’t operate within the standard air conditions indicated by SCFM measurements, and rely on the actual facility conditions.
  3. Pipework Restrictions. Bigger isn’t always better with pump sizing. Keep in mind that the smallest restriction in the system impacts the flow of the entire vacuum system. If you’re needing to increase the flow of air, sizing up may not be the solution – you might need an entire system redesign.
  4. Continuous and Cyclical Flow Errors. Application is key! Do you need a vacuum pump that can whose pressure can regularly fluctuate, or do you need a pump where pressure is required to stay consistent? For the former, a cyclical pump would be ideal; for the latter, a continuous flow pump might be the better option.

Our vacuum pump engineers are ready and eager to help you in both assessing your facility’s needs, as well as determining the correct type and size of vacuum system required. Reach out to us at www.atlascopco.com/vac-usa!

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