Vacuum pumps are a vital piece of equipment in a wide variety of industrial and laboratory processes. Just like any other technology, vacuum pump and systems manufacturers have made significant developments over the past few decades—enhancing the vacuum technology, durability, control, and environmental impact of the machinery.
Features, performance, and enhancements are constantly changing. If you’re still using an outdated or traditional vacuum pumping system, you could be hurting your production and profitability in more ways than you think.
Don’t put up with high maintenance costs or poor performance. Here are a few reasons why you should take a second look at your old vacuum pump system.
Keep in mind that the following tips are intended only as a guide and are not a substitute for the operational manual. Always read the operational manual.
1. Catch the Disaster Before It Happens
No matter how well you maintain your vacuum pump, you can never prepare for unexpected maintenance — or even a full system failure.
Whether it’s routine maintenance or a catastrophic pump failure, you could lose vital production time. If the repairs are significant, you could be spending even more just to get your pump back online.
Preventative maintenance can be a smart investment. Even if you're spending money on new parts, equipment, or repairs, you could be saving yourself the trouble of an unplanned disaster. Operating with updated, top of the line equipment, will reduce the risk of maintenance and extend the life of your system.
When done correctly, preventative maintenance looks at every potential risk to your process that could be placed on your vacuum pump or system. All connection points are leak tested, complete visual inspections are performed, the oil is checked, pump down rates are measured and documented, the surrounding environment is checked, and operational procedures are evaluated. A common misconception of preventative maintenance is that it is an unnecessary expense that can be skipped if operators are “following the rules”. However, even in the best-case scenario something can go wrong, and by baselining and continually monitoring your system you can be sure that you will not fall victim to extensive and costly unplanned downtime.
Related: Prevent cost-intensive downtime with a free Leybold Pump Health Check, onsite at your facility. Click the banner below to learn more, and to book your preferred date and time.
2. Upgrade to a Dry Pump
One of the most notable improvements in vacuum pump technology is the “dry” pump which houses less moving parts than a traditional wet pump. In almost all total cost of ownership scenarios, dry vacuum technology, as represented in the Leybold product catalog, has a short payoff period and delivers incredible returns in terms of increasing process efficiency and delivering increased profitability.
Upgrading from wet to dry pumps means you can reduce your ongoing vacuum pump maintenance costs and redirect those resources to improving overall performance of your systems and operations. Dry vacuum pump maintenance teams often find that in addition to the reduction in downtime due to oil changes, and more frequent pump failures of oil sealed pumps, the time that their teams can spend troubleshooting other equipment on-site can sometimes increase production outputs or uptimes by more than 30%. For many customers this can be millions of dollars in annual returns.
Related: Ready to see the real difference a wet to dry conversion can make to your bottom line? Click the button below and see how much switching to dry vacuum technology can save you, with our Total Cost of Ownership Comparison Calculator.
3. Pick Up the Pace
The speed of your pump’s functionality could have a bigger role in performance than you might think. If your pump isn’t performing at optimal speeds, it could take you twice as long to produce the same result.
This means that out of date equipment or parts could be costing you more than the price of the replacements in the long run. Over time, it could even cost you millions.
When a vacuum pump begins to be compromised one of the first signs you should look for is the time it takes to reach ultimate pressure. Whether you are in a laboratory environment and extending your pump down time by hours, or in a manufacturing environment where your pump is adding additional seconds to every batch, this added process time costs money and impacts the reliability of your process.
How can you check if your vacuum pumps are slowing you down? Measure! Chart the performance over time and compare the performance to what was measured when your pumps were first commissioned. If you are unsure, contact the OEM and ask for an application model for your process to determine the speed your process could and should achieve when your pumps are at optimal efficiency.
Related: Leybold Dry Pump technology recently helped a major meat manufacturer increase packaging speeds and reduce downtime for an additional output of 500,000 packs per year. Find out more in our blog post, How Dry Pump Technology Boosts Production for a Major Meat Producer.
4. Save Energy (and the Planet)
Whether you’re already headed towards a fully sustainable lab or you just want to make more of an impact, outdated equipment could be a major roadblock to that goal.
Using old equipment could mean wasting huge amounts of water and energy. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the efficiency of a typical compressed air system can be low, which puts it as one of the most wasteful sources of energy in a plant.
Try updating to more energy efficient equipment, like a variable speed motor or a proper disposal system for waste.
5. Utilize the "Smart Pump"
In a typical plant, pumps are controlled by microprocessors, power electronics, and variable frequency drives (VFDs) to give the user greater control.
But using “smart” VFD controls can give you even more control. By varying the pump and impeller speed, you can improve the performance of your motor output.
Modern, smart VFDs can change the voltage and frequency of the speed and output to match the pump’s motor. This means your pump will be more reliable, last longer, and reduce the energy output and overall cost.
Is It Time to Get a New Vacuum Pump?
Even though you might not want to head out and spend more money on parts and equipment, you could actually be losing money by sticking with your old pump. Getting newer and more innovative products could actually be a great investment in the long run.
Want to keep your vacuum pumping systems up to date and ready to go? Our local service technicians can handle anything—whether it’s integration, repairs, or maintenance.
Click the button below and contact the team to learn more about how we can help you maximize your pumping efficiency.