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Top 5 Vacuum Pump Maintenance Tips to Optimize Productivity

There is a wide variety of rough vacuum pumps currently on the market to suit every conceivable application. Whether your organization uses oil-sealed or dry vacuum pump technology, optimizing productivity to minimize downtime is a must.

You can get the most out of your pump investment and maximize its useful life by performing some regular maintenance on the unit. When it comes to preventative maintenance, many of these items you can do in-house and can save you from huge potential headaches down the road.

The more time and attention you put into the maintenance of your vacuum pump, the less you'll need to worry about costly repairs and replacement. But who has time to babysit their pumps! Here are the top five maintenance tips you can put on your list.

1. Inspect the Surrounding Environment

You vacuum pump may be mechanically sound, but it needs the right environmental conditions to perform at peak efficiency. Check the area surrounding your vacuum pump and ensure that it has ample space for unencumbered airflow. Are there any contaminants or solvents in the area that could impact the pump’s performance? Weather and ambient temperature can also potentially be an issue especially if your vacuum pump is running near an outside wall or heating unit which could cause condensation build up and create problems.

2. Conduct a Visual Pump Inspection

Most vacuum pumps come equipped with a site glass, making frequent visual inspections of the oil inside the pump a simple matter. Clean oil will appear about the same color as vegetable oil and as the oil collects contaminants, it will get darker. This will help guide you in ensuring preventative oil changes are done in a timely manner and avoiding costing service. Check around the pump for oil or water leaks as indicators of a broader issue. Make note of any unusual sounds coming from the unit or a change in performance – both also indicators of potential service issues.

3. Do Regular Oil & Filter Changes

The maintenance manual that accompanies your vacuum pump will provide the detailed service intervals required to achieve optimal performance. With dry pumps, an oil change in the gearbox is typically required annually while oil-sealed pumps could require monthly oil and filter changes depending on usage and application. In addition, pumps that are air-cooled with a radiator can potentially get plugged externally from dust, so regular cleaning of debris is highly recommended to prevent overheating. 

4. Perform Leak Testing

By leak testing your pump system periodically after it's been installed, you can ensure that there is a vacuum-tight seal though the various connections. Eliminating these leaks can prolong the life of your pump and improve the quality of the work it produces. Keeping foreign elements such as debris, moisture, and oxygen, from contaminating your vacuum pump can prevent the risk of compromising the integrity of your unit and reducing its effectiveness.

5. Create Some Redundancy in Your Process

Every pump requires maintenance and downtime to operate at peak performance. Ignoring this fact is asking for trouble. Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, you might want to build some redundancy into your process. Consider having a spare pump on hand that can pick up some of the slack while you perform routine maintenance, or while the pump is sent to the OEM for additional work. Pump efficiency is essential to the successful operation of your business and downtime can be costly without some kind of backup plan. 

These simple maintenance tasks can usually be done in-house while others can be more involved or accomplished faster by a professional. Intlvac and Leybold will work with you to determine the best solution for your service needs. Contact service@intlvac.ca to learn more.

Source: 5 Maintenance Tips to Optimize Productivity

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