Important Things to Know About Rotary Vane Vacuum Pumps, Repair, and Maintenance

Welcome to our guide that contains everything you need to know about rotary vane vacuum pumps! Before we go into detail about rotary vane vacuum pump repair and maintenance, we better talk about how this variety of pump works and what applications it can be useful for.

As an oil-sealed type of vacuum pump, rotary vane vacuum pumps rely on a specially formulated pump oil to act as a sealant and lubricant for the blades (also known as vanes) located within the pump’s housing. 

These vanes are mounted to a rotor, which is mounted within a circular casing. Since the rotor is offset within the casing, the vanes slide in and out as it spins, creating sealed air chambers that do all the pumping work. But where does all the pump oil that’s lubricating the vanes go?

As the oil gas mixture being pumped is blown into the separator housing, the uniquely engineered design separates up to 98% of the oil from the gas and displaces it into the oil sump. Rotary vane vacuum pumps rely on an intricate network of filters to remove the rest of the oil.

Rotary vane pumps can be used in a variety of applications. There are many different types of pumps out there, all with their own advantages and disadvantages. In this guide we will talk about the following topics.

  • The applications for which rotary vane vacuum pumps can be useful
  • The pros and cons of using rotary vane pumps
  • How to handle pump maintenance and repair

Applications of Rotary Vane Pumps

Rotary vane vacuum pumps have a 99.999% vacuum rating, which means they can be used in most applications, except for the ultra-high-rated ones. Most rotary vane vacuum pumps can produce adequate airflow for small and medium vacuum systems. 

The most common industrial applications for rotary vane vacuum pumps include the following.

  • Chemical and pharmaceutical processes
  • Environmental engineering
  • Food processing
  • Packaging
  • Pneumatic conveying
  • Woodworking 

Types of Rotary Vane Vacuum Pumps

When you start researching, you’ll be surprised at the number of rotary vane vacuum pumps that are available to you. Selecting the right pump for your business will depend on your application, budget, and vacuum system size. 

In general, rotary vane vacuum pumps are less expensive than other types of vacuum pumps; however, be sure to look at the duty range when comparing pricing and specifications for these types of pumps.

Disadvantages of Rotary Vane Vacuum Pumps

Rotary vane pumps have a few disadvantages. These pumps need oil to operate. You need to monitor the oil closely and replace it as needed. If an oil leak occurs, it can contaminate your product. Rotary vane vacuum pumps also emit exhaust because of the oil being used within the pump’s casing. Filters can reduce emissions, but, in the worst-case scenario, the exhaust can smoke up a room.

Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump Repair and Maintenance

Generally, issues with these pumps are pretty easy to notice and diagnose. While pump maintenance can be done yourself by purchasing the proper repair kits and parts, if you are not feeling confident that you won’t break something while trying to fix it, then you can always contact a professional to perform repairs for you. Here are some common issues that can occur with your pump.

My Pump Won’t Start

If your pump won’t start, the first place to look is the power source. Usually, the power isn’t properly connected, or the operating voltage doesn’t match the motor. Other potential issues include a malfunctioning motor, low oil temperature, pump oil that is too viscous or a clogged exhaust.

My Pump Won’t Reach the Proper Pressure

If you’re experiencing a problem with your rotary vane vacuum pump’s pressure, then there’s probably a leak in the system. Leaks occur when the pump’s gauge is unsuitable or when there’s an external leak in the pipe fittings. Other causes include a float valve that won’t close or dirty vacuum lines. Pressure problems can also result from a lack of lubrication.

My Pump’s Speed Is Too Slow

Typically, low pump speed can be attributed to either excess dirt in the pump system or a clogged filter. Also, check to make sure your connecting lines aren’t too narrow or too long. If your pump speed is still too low, then check the pump’s anti-suck back valve.

Need Help Fixing Your Rotary Vane Vacuum Pump?

If your rotary vane pump system is in need of repair, and you would rather not take care of the maintenance yourself, then contact C&B Equipment. Our expert team of engineers can provide any repairs that your system may need, and we can also provide your pump with maintenance on a regular basis.

In addition, if you are looking to purchase a new rotary vane pump, check out the extensive list of products that we have to offer!

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