DXP Pacific Industrial Pumps

Advantages & Disadvantages of a Vacuum Pump

Are you trying to decide between a diaphragm pump and a vacuum pump? If so, there are several issues you will need to consider. Vacuum pumps are great for certain applications, but not ideal for others. A diaphragm pump or some other sort of positive displacement pump might be a better solution. 

How Does a Vacuum Pump Work?

Vacuum pumps work by creating a partial or low-pressure vacuum within the pump. Gas or air molecules are pushed out of a sealed chamber, which results in a lower pressure within the chamber. This generates suction power that then can transfer fluids through the pump system. There are different types of vacuum pumps that can be utilized for various applications. It helps to understand how they work, as well as the advantages and disadvantages they provide.

Advantages of a Vacuum Pump

Some fluids require a higher suction power to process efficiently. This can cause problems within other pump types. Vacuum pumps are often utilized in transferring materials such as waste trap grease, mud, sediment-bearing fluids, wastewater, and more viscous liquids. They are used in manufacturing, wastewater treatment, pharmaceutical production, chemical processing, and a variety of other industries. Sometimes, grease or sediments can separate in a tank and sink to the bottom. Using a vacuum pump with a higher rate of suction power can help you get to those more difficult materials in the bottom and suck them up through the pump.

Similar pumping problems can occur when fluids become thicker. Examples might include temperature drops, evaporation, and other instances when stored liquids gain viscosity over time. Operators take advantage of vacuum pump suction capabilities to handle these pumping challenges. Other benefits of vacuum pumps include spill prevention and odor suppression. They move materials rapidly and efficiently, making them ideal for the appropriate applications.

Disadvantages of a Vacuum Pump

Vacuum pumps can be severely hindered by fluid slugs, which are an uneven distribution of liquid and gas within a pipeline. They can group together and form slugs that reduce vacuum pressure and crease suction loss. In addition, a vacuum pump’s suction pressure can be affected significantly by the amount of vapor within the process fluid. Too much vaporization can also hurt the suction pressure. Lastly, operating temperatures can also have a negative effect. In general, vacuum pumps are very sensitive to condition changes. They can be quite temperamental to operate at times.

Types of Vacuum Pumps

There are four general categories of vacuum pumps:

  1. Positive Displacement Pump

Positive displacement pumps generate low vacuum pressure as the cavity expands and opens to create the suction effect.

  1. Momentum Transfer Pump

Momentum transfer pumps are called “molecular pumps.” They use high-speed fluids to move gas particles outside of the chamber before it is opened. These pumps achieve higher vacuum pressures.

  1. Entrapment Pump

Entrapment pumps use cold temperatures to compress gases to a hardened state. These are also known as “cryopumps.”

  1. Regenerative Pumps

In regenerative pumps, rotor blades are accelerated as the gas passes through them. This provides powerful energy transfer. These are also sometimes known as “side channel pumps.”

To learn more about vacuum pumps and to see if one is right for your specific application, contact DXP Pacific. We work with leading vacuum pump manufacturers like Tuthill, Travaini Pumps USA, and Gardner Denver, and we can help you find the best pump for the job.