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How to Keep Your Lab Operational With Less Maintenance

By Joshua Miller
empty lab graphic

Maintenance is an unpleasant inevitability of lab work. No matter how meticulous the checklists or how clear the instructions, somehow, maintenance schedules never seem to run as smoothly as you want them to.

When it comes to your lab’s vacuum pumps, not only is this maintenance work time-consuming, it can cause significant operational downtime. With dry pump vacuum technology, on the other hand, labs can avoid pump-related downtime and decrease overall maintenance investments.

The Costs of Standard Vacuum Pump Maintenance

A standard rotary vane oil sealed vacuum pump should have its oil replaced at least every four to six months to keep it at peak performance. Rotary vane pumps are also supposed to receive regular checks in between replacements, to monitor for potential issues.

Yet, most shared lab spaces struggle to effectively implement this maintenance consistently. As time wears on, the neglect adds up and many oil pumps end up operating with drastically reduced capacity as a result. Others fail altogether, causing lab operations to come to a complete standstill.

But even in the event of pump failure, your lab still has obligations to fulfill. Deliverables are still required and time-sensitive materials continue to deteriorate on the shelf. Ultimately, the downtime translates to funding and resources lost.

Because of this downtime, an initially lower-cost oil pump can wind up being an expensive hassle in the long run. To sidestep the problems of ongoing maintenance and risk of failure due to oil contamination, upgrading to dry pumps may be a good choice for your lab’s overall productivity.

Related: We often share the latest news, and tips on maintenance and service. From 5 Tips to Keep Your Diffusion Pumps Running Smoothly, to Preventing Oil Contamination in Food Packaging and Processing -- check out our full range of articles on this topic on the Leybold Blog

 

Upgrading to Dry Pump Vacuum Technology

Compared to standard pumps, the overall maintenance investment of oil-free, dry pumps is vastly reduced. These pumps also tend to operate more quietly, while still delivering excellent ultimate pressure and water vapor capacity.

At Leybold, two of our best low-maintenance dry pumps are the SCROLLVAC plus, our latest dry scroll pump, and the ECODRY plus, our newly developed dry-compression, multi-stage Roots vacuum pump. Keep  scrolling for a quick introduction to these models, or explore our full range on our dry compressing vacuum pumps product page.

1. SCROLLVAC Plus

The SCROLLVAC plus is composed of two engaged spiral forms. One of the spirals, or scrolls, is fixed, while the other moves in an orbital path relative to it. This creates crescent-shaped volumes between the two scrolls that are forced from the outside in.

The entire pumping mechanism is hermetically separated from the lubricated bearings, meaning zero contamination risk to the system it supports. With this model, you will never have to find a way to dispose of contaminated oil.

In fact, the only real maintenance it requires is a periodic tip seal replacement. This procedure is do-it-yourself and takes approximately ten minutes. Best of all, you’ll only need to do it once every two and a half years.

The SCROLLVAC also offers significant lab noise reduction over your typical oil pump. That makes this model an excellent choice if you're hoping to make your lab more conducive to focus and collaborative work.

 

2. ECODRY Plus

The ECODRY plus is a multi-stage Roots vacuum pump that takes noise reduction to an entirely new level. At just 52 dB(A), it was made with lab noise reduction in mind, and the understanding that research and analysis are best performed with as few distractions as possible.

Related: Wondering why noise reduction is such an important metric? Check out our blog post for 5 Quick Facts About Noise Pollution in Your Lab.

The pump operates with two rotors turning in opposite directions without making contact. The multi-stage pumping causes the changes in pressure. Like the SCROLLVAC, this model guarantees zero contamination. Not only is it a dry pump, but it also produces no contact wear, further reducing any risk of degradation.

Maintenance requirements are even further reduced in the ECODRY, compared with those in the SCROLLVAC. Oil and seals never need to be changed, and the performance on these models is known to be stable for four years or more without any intervention. Click the image below and find out how ECODRY plus can help you turn your workplace into a quieter space, as the quietest vacuum pump in its class. 

ECODRY Plus Ad

 

Should You Switch to Dry Pumps?

If your lab is struggling with operational downtime due to lengthy maintenance and system failure related to your vacuum pumps, then it’s time to seriously consider switching to a dry pump.

Here, we’ve compiled the data you need to compare standard rotary vane pumps to one of the above dry pump models.

 

 

Maintenance Interval

Noise Level

Pumping Speed

Ultimate Pressure

Standard Rotary Vane (RV) oil vacuum pump

100-127V

220–230 V

50/60 Hz

4–6 months

~60 dB(A)

14–17 m3/hr

1e-3 - 0.5 mbar

SCROLLVAC 18 plus

100-127VAC

200–240 V (±10%), 50/60 Hz

2.5 years

<55 dB(A)

20 m3/hr

0.03 mbar

ECODRY 65 plus

100- 127 V

200–240 V

50/60 Hz

>4 years

52 dB(A)

55 m3/hr

0.03 mbar

 

Still unsure? Calculate Your Savings! See how much switching to dry vacuum technology can save you, with our Total Cost of Ownership Comparison Calculator. Click the button below and see the real difference a wet to dry conversion can make to your bottom line. 

Calculate Your Savings

Of course, making any change to your business takes careful thought and you may have questions. If you've got a unique challenge, or want to learn more about dry pump vacuum technology from our team, reach out through your local service contact by clicking here

 

Tags: R&D, Maintenance & Service

About Joshua Miller

Joshua Miller
As a vacuum technologist/engineer and entrepreneur, Joshua enjoys applying innovative solutions to diverse customer applications and markets. From the vision at a corporate level, to the technical application and installation of his products, he ensures that customer satisfaction is always the highest priority through customer partnerships. Whether it be through direct communication or through support of the industry challenging online communications, you can be sure to find a like mind friend whose always searching for was to help you drive your business forward. In his free time Joshua is an strong believer in that “Golf is a good walk, spoiled” and spend his summer months hot air ballooning with his family.

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