We all know what a vacuum is right? The thing that sits in the closet until someone makes a mess and it needs to be cleaned up. It is a machine that uses suction to pick something up. A pretty standard machine and an easy concept to grasp, but what about industrial vacuums?
Industrial vacuum pumps operate using the same concept as the traditional vacuum you are used to, just with a larger capability and increased precision. Industrial vacuum pumps are used to remove things from one location and move it to another if you wanted a very general definition. Using a mechanism just like an air compressor, these machines pull in large volumes of air.
When this air is being pulled in, the area in which the air existed is no longer there and creates a vacuum. It can be used to pull in debris, remove air from a package before sealing it, pick an item up and move it using suction before the vacuum stops to release it. These vacuums have many different applications where they are useful. Most of the time industrial vacuum systems exist to make workers’ lives easier. It ensures the easy movement of products, extends the shelf life of different products, and just picks up the mess from working.
Industrial vacuum pumps are very versatile machines due to the various applications they can be used in. From the central vacuum system in a hospital to food packing, these industries are heavily reliant on vacuums to keep them running smoothly, quite an important task for something so easily associated with cleaning up the carpets in our homes. The silent hero of industrial facilities deserves some attention as well, especially if it is in need of maintenance.
Just like air compressors, industrial vacuum pumps require routine checkups and maintenance to keep them running in top shape. And the great part about industrial vacuums is their longevity, with lifespans of up to 10 years before they need to be replaced. And most can even be replaced on-site. They deserve the same amount of attention as compressors do as they are just as valuable to productivity.
Keeping vacuums running in top shape has a larger effect on our daily lives than we might realize. The process is important to the production of a lot of items we use in everyday life, it helps keep the environment clean, improves the shelf life of food, and helps form plastic molds. With just these three alone a large portion of our life is affected by processes that involve industrial vacuum pumps.
How Are Industrial Vacuum Pumps Used?
When it comes to vacuum pumps, the applications aren’t as clear-cut as they are with compressors. Each individual vacuum excels in certain areas and others may have some overlap but overall each style is unique to itself. Larger-scale operations can be run from different types of vacuums and it wouldn’t be unheard of for a plant to have different types for different jobs.
Vacuums are assessed on a case-by-case basis for each model. They know what applications that model does well with and what ones to avoid. So it is important to know what the application is before you acquire a vacuum. For some standard applications for the different types of Atlas Copco Vacuum Pumps, please refer to the table below to help you become more familiar.
|Central Vacuum Systems||Central Vacuum Systems||Central Vacuum Systems|
|Degassing applications||Degassing applications||Polymer processing|
|Food Packaging||Food Packaging||Sewage|
|Polymer processing||Polymer processing||Routers|
|Sewage||Sewage||Pick & Place|
|Altitude simulation||Composites manufacturing||Food|
|Cooling/ Chilling||Pick & Place||Printing|
|Canning||Food||Carton erecting/boxing machines|
|Semi House Vacuum||R&D|
|Pick & Place||Impregnation|
|Glass & Bottle filling|
Most of these vacuums have overlapping applications, which allows you the choice to pick the vacuum style you prefer most if you have that luxury. For some of these applications that is not the case, for example, the DZS, which is Atlas Copco’s Dry Claw Industrial Vacuum Pump, is the only one capable of performing aeration and remediation due to the lack of moisture in the vacuum chamber. This allows for a dryer tighter seal in comparison to the other models.
As you looked at the chart, you may have wondered what exactly was meant by impregnation, and it is not what you think it is. Resin impregnation refers to the sealing of porosity which occurs in manufacturing processes such as casting and sintering. Through vacuum and/or pressure methods, the polymer resin is forced into the porosity and then cured to form a pressure-tight part. So in short, it is to create specific molds using resin and the vacuum is used to move the resin into the mold so that it can hold the shape.
Depending on the pressure and application of the industrial vacuum pump, they can be placed into different categories. These categories are used as a guideline for applications so that you can make sure you are getting a properly sized machine for your production. It is important to understand the way a vacuum operates and the principles behind it.
Vacuums have their own unit of measurement called a torr which is defined as 1/760 of one standard atmosphere (atm). This came from the standard of atmospheric pressure being deemed 760 millimeters of mercury at 0℃, so a torr is one unit of pressure at 0℃. These pumps are creating a space devoid of matter by removing the air and everything in it from a specific space.
- Rough/Low Vacuum: 1000 to 1 mbar / 760 to 0.75 Torr
- Fine/ Medium Vacuum: 1 to 10-3 mbar / 0.75 to 7.5-3 Torr
- High Vacuum: 10-3 to 10-7 mbar / 7.5-3 to 7.5-7 Torr
- Ultra-High Vacuum: 10-7 to 10-11 mbar / 7.5-7 to 7.5-11 Torr
- Extreme High Vacuum: < 10-11 mbar / < 7.5-11 Torr
What Kinds of Vacuums Are There?
Vacuums come in multiple different styles, and the style of vacuum is determined by the application it is being used for. A few questions need to be asked when dealing with vacuums:
- What do I need the industrial vacuum pump for?
- Will moisture be a problem?
- How strong of a vacuum do I need?
- How worried am I about oil contamination?
With these questions in mind, it can help make sure you have the best vacuum available for your application. Some applications can be performed by any vacuum and if that is the case, you may benefit from being more specific on what you do as a whole to determine the best-fit vacuum. Atlas Copco has three main types of industrial vacuum pumps:
- Rotary Screw Vacuums
- Dry Claw Vacuums
- Liquid Ring Vacuums
Rotary Screw Industrial Vacuum Pumps
Similarly to a rotary screw compressor, these industrial vacuum pumps operate with a set of screws that rotate to transport the gas and vapors through the system. These screws consist of one male screw which powers or drives the female screw by pushing the lubricant, oil, that is in between them. This means that the internal components will not be susceptible to wear as there is no direct contact between them.
Due to this lubrication and lack of friction, the flow between these units is very smooth and this helps with efficiency. The design also allows for operation at higher speeds and a broad range of operating speeds. Higher volumetric efficiency is also achieved by this ability to change operating efficiency and higher speed operations.
The oil used for lubrication and cooling is circulated because of an internal difference in pressure. This mobility of the oil increases its lifespan and the health of the system by being able to cool and reuse the lubricant. The oil/gas separation is performed at the exhaust using filters as the air passes through and the oil is either cleaned and returned to the system or emptied out with other debris. An oil filter can be used to remove contaminants from the oil. By relying on oil filtration, it allows for exceptional vapor handling by the industrial vacuum pump.
Dry Claw Industrial Vacuum Pumps
If an operation needs no oil involved in the industrial vacuum pump process, the Dry Claw Vacuum is the answer. Non-contacting parts are still able to create a vacuum just like other methods but prevent additional wear from occurring. Rather than using oil as a lubricant, a PTFE-based coating is deeply impregnated into the cast iron housing. Alongside oil-free lubrication, the dry claw vacuum has a dependable labyrinth shaft seal that provides extended life.
Without having oil included as a lubricant, there is a higher need for additional cooling to prevent components from overheating and creating problems. With Atlas Copco patented cooling, it reduces heat build-up throughout and results in a longer life for the seals, bearings, and gearbox lubricant. Having a segregated gearbox prevents aggressive process gases from migrating into the gearbox and also prevents gearbox oil from migrating to the pumping chamber.
Similar to the rotary screw industrial vacuum pump, the particulates and moisture are drained into an exhaust box that resides below the vacuum chamber. The straightforward design allows for easy and fast access to the pumping chamber to clean it out when it is needed. Alongside the regularly needed maintenance, these pumps only need 1 liter of gear oil to be changed each year which will greatly cut the costs of maintenance.
Due to the nature of vacuum creation with the dry claw, it is limited in size by the available technology. Making the industrial vacuum pump any bigger would result in reduced energy efficiency and a much smaller vacuum. As it stands the dry claw already is less efficient in completely removing air in comparison to other models.
Liquid Ring Industrial Vacuum Pumps
When it comes to Liquid Ring Vacuums, these are the industrial vacuum pumps that take on jobs no other model can handle. In other words, they are used in really nasty applications. The pumps operate in a manner similar to a reciprocating compressor except it uses a rotating liquid ring instead of a piston. The equipment is enclosed in a cylindrical housing to ensure that all of the gunk stays inside until filtration and it is easier on the flow of air.
The inlet brings in gas and vapor thanks to a suction port. The vapor and particulates are pulled into the chamber and then go through the continuous service liquid flow as the particles are trapped in the impeller cavity. After it has passed through the impeller cavity, the gas, vapor, and liquid are discharged through the outlet. Once it has made it through this point, the excrements are then brought to a discharge separator. Once it has reached this point, there are a couple of variations of what will occur with the liquid and other excrements that have been discharged:
- Once Through
- Partial Recirculation
Depending on the process, it can use different quantities of liquid and be more efficient with the internal resources. A Once Through system dumps 100% of the contents out and is continuously being replaced, this is common in especially nasty environments. Partial Recirculation on the other hand works by taking anywhere from 30 to 70% of the liquid to the drain, and that remaining portion is then cleaned and recycled back into circulation to be more efficient with the resources.
A10 Offers Industrial Vacuum Pump Repair
Vacuums can be difficult to use at times and require specific instructions for placement and application. Installation is incredibly important, based on needing air and space around the industrial vacuum pump to ensure it can function properly. Due to these requirements and all the information necessary, it is human for an error to occur or the machine may just break down. If this is the case all it takes to fix it is a simple call or to complete a form on our website.
As an Atlas Copco distributor, we are comfortable with all makes and models and can ensure that no matter what you have we can take care of it. We want you to be as successful as you can in your business and we know just how crucial each part of the process is to success.
Our experienced technicians respond to your calls for help and provide customized support you need when you need it. Whether it’s preventative maintenance, comprehensive piping systems, last-minute repairs, temporary equipment rental, or full-service air audits, we don’t just get it done, we do it right.
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