If you’re in the woodworking industry, you’re probably already familiar with industrial vacuum pumps. From holding and lifting to laminating and wood drying, these machines are essential in powering the variety of applications involved in woodworking processes. But are you aware of the types of vacuum pump technologies that are best-suited for this industry?
Beware the Rebuilds
If you’ve worked with a CNC system provider, chances are you were either sold or recommended a dry vane vacuum pump. While it’s true that the initial upfront cost of these pumps is lower than other vacuum technologies, dry vane pumps are extremely loud and (due to the rapid wear of dry vanes) require multiple rebuilds – meaning that the cost of ownership over the pump’s lifetime is very high. In fact, we met one customer who was paying between $800 and $1,000 annually (plus labor) for a vane change twice a year. This equates to $20,000* over a 5-year period!
*$1,000/rebuild x 2 pumps (typical per CNC) x 2 rebuilds/ year = up to $4,000 per year maintenance + labor costs
If you’ve rebuilt more than three times, or more than once a year, you should consider the total costs of your rebuilds versus the initial costs of a new vacuum pump.
What Wood Be Better?
Generally speaking, rotary screw vacuum pumps and dry claw vacuum pumps are excellent choices for woodworking applications, as these are non-contact vacuum technologies that do not experience performance element wear.
Rotary screw pumps, like the GHS VSD+, have high performance levels and reduced maintenance, noise, and heat emissions compared to vane pumps – all due to the screw technology. They are typically equipped with VSD technology (making them very economical), and also have a pressure set point control function ensures the pumps deliver the lowest possible vacuum flow with which the required vacuum can be maintained. The result? Reduced life cycle operating costs and no excess energy is wasted.
Dry claw vacuum pumps are also an ideal technology for woodworking. There is no threat of contamination, as there’s no lubrication in the main pump chamber. Secondly, there isn’t any wear – there are two claw-shaped rotors running in opposite directions of one another; they don’t touch one another, nor do they come into contact with the pump chamber! This means there is no wear, are very durable, and are both serviceable & cleanable. Dry claw pumps can also be combined into multi-system units.
Stop Just Going with the Grain!
Don’t let the smallest slip-ups turn into the costliest mistakes. When choosing your next vacuum pump for your woodworking application, keep these four factors at the top of your mind: reliability; performance & energy efficiency; quiet operation; and serviceability and cleanliness.
Want a real-life example? Modern Woodcrafts is a high-end woodworking company whose clients include Tiffany & Co, and they recently upgraded to Atlas Copco GHS vacuum pumps! Read their story here.