Oil is often thought of exclusively as a lubricant but in mechanical vacuum pumps oil serves a number of critical functions. Besides acting as a lubricant the pump oil provides a seal between close tolerance mechanical components that direct the movement of gasses for generating the vacuum. As in an automotive engine, oil flushes contaminants from the system and carries them to the reservoir where larger particles settle out isolated from vulnerable components. Additionally, oil inhibits corrosion, provides cooling and noise reduction. Some applications can be very demanding depending on the duty cycle of the pump and the atmosphere that is cycled through the pump. Due to the nature of vacuum pump mechanisms and applications, oil has to be carefully selected. It must meet a variety of specifications depending on the specific application; Viscosity, chemical stability, low vapor pressure, proper corrosion inhibiting qualities, lubricating qualities, compatibility with the atmosphere cycled through the pump and non-hazardous characteristics are all important engineering factors to consider. Regular preventive maintenance which includes changing the oil on your pump is one thing that you can do to extend the life of your unit and reduce downtime in your operation. Integrating oil filtration is another option that reduces contaminants continuously paying back in longer rebuilding intervals. Regular oil changes are as important in a mechanical vacuum pump as they are in an automobile. OEMs like Edwards-Stokes recommends an oil change every 300 operating hours extended to 500 hours for clean processes, less if the process is dirty. Abrasive contaminants suspended in the oil that gain access to the bearing surfaces or closely fitting parts reduce pump life caused by wear on these critical components. Ultimately, it is the discretion of the operator to monitor oil quality and manage the pump life in their operation. MHV can assist your efforts by providing expert advice and lubricant products engineered to maximize your investment in vacuum equipment. Call Dave or Darel and discuss what you can do to increase the life of your equipment and keep crud out of your oil.
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