How to streamline your heat-treating business (Part 1: Vacuum Pumps)

By Gene Ligman
Hear Treatment of metal

If you work in the heat-treating business, you know that the most important area of your factory is the hot zone.

When it comes to creating proper maintenance protocols, it’s critical to make sure your team can dedicate most of their time and energy to the hot zone. To do this effectively, you’ll want to be proactive about limiting maintenance requirements in other areas of the factory. That means replacing outdated pieces of machinery and streamlining processes wherever you can.

For heat treatment facilities, the best place to start this streamlining process is with vacuum pumps.

Creating Better Piston Pump Solutions 

Vacuum pumps are a key point where most factories can cut down on maintenance time.

Let's do the math: Say you have 20 piston pumps working away in your shop. Your maintenance person must change the oil on each pump every three to six months. If it takes about an hour to perform a single pump’s oil change, that adds up to about 20 hours or half a week of work to complete.

You'll be able to save that time by instead installing dry vacuum pumps. Leybold offers many options, including the DV650/WH4400, the DV300/WH2500, or the Varodry 200. By replacing your piston pumps with dry vacuum pumps, you'll be able to free your maintenance team to work on more important elements of your factory, like ensuring that your furnaces are running smoothly.

Related: Learn more about the Leybold VARODRY VD200 air cooled pump on our product information page

Maintaining and Replacing Diffusion Pumps

Diffusion pumps can be changed out to cut down maintenance time as well.

In general, most shops change the oil in their diffusion pumps twice per year. This is done biannually since there's no way to know exactly when the oil needs to be changed. Because heaters in the typical diffusion pump burn out frequently, it's important to be proactive.

As you know, an oil change often takes a whole shift, while changing a heater often takes an entire day. With 20 diffusion pumps, you could be spending 40 days of maintenance on these pumps alone.

With newer diffusion pump technology, however, you can reduce your diffusion pump maintenance to a small percentage of your current maintenance demands. The Leybold DIJ line of diffusion pumps tells you when the oil needs to be changed, virtually eliminating heater burnout and extending the life of your oil. In fact, that oil can last almost three times as long as a result. Check them out on our DIJ product page

Related: When is a diffusion pump the right choice? Our blog post on the topic takes you through when it'll help you get the job done.


Learn More About How to Save Maintenance Time

By creating a plan to minimize downtime, you can maximize the impact of your best maintenance people. Consider upgrading your vacuum equipment so that your workers are free to spend more time working on your hot zones.

Of course, there are other benefits to these upgrades as well. Thanks to oil-free systems, you won't have to worry about meeting EPA oil smoke emissions standards. Plus, you won't have to deal with oil disposals, and you can produce greater efficiency from your furnace. This, in turn, reduces downtime and can save you tens of thousands of dollars in vacuum pump oil alone.

Don't believe us? Our on-demand webinar reviews the pros and cons of existing technology and shares the benefits you stand to gain from modern vacuum equipment. Click the button below and see how you can increase production, with Vacuum Solutions for Heat Treatment Efficiencies.

Watch the Webinar


Read part 2 of this blog series and get tips on streamlining operations to attract high-value customers to your heat-treating business.

Tags: Heat Treatment, Industrial & Process Vacuum

About Gene Ligman

Gene Ligman

Gene Ligman is an engineer with a passion for vacuum applications and equipment. He started his engineering career over 30 years ago in the nuclear power industry where he was first introduced to the utility of vacuum in steam systems and some basic vacuum generating equipment. In the mid 1990’s, he joined Edwards Vacuum where his knowledge of vacuum applications and equipment expanded exponentially.

Having a degree in mechanical engineering with a focus on vapor physics has propelled him to become one of the primary resources in applications where phase change creates complexities above and beyond the normal complexities of vacuum applications. Now with Leybold USA, Gene is a Sales Development Manager for Leybold’s largest and most industrial vacuum generating equipment. He trains the US organization in key insights about how the right vacuum equipment can radically improve the productivity and profitability of vacuum-using factories. These insights, along with his passion for vapor physics make him a leading authority in vacuum system design.

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