Commercial Vacuum Pumps: A Summary of Styles & Applications

Originally made for use in specific industries, commercial vacuum pumps can now be taken from one industry and modified to work in another. Vacuum pump systems are used in a variety fields including paper and and sugar mills, power plants, brewery bottling plants; chemical, biomedical and pharmaceutical industries, and more.  Rapid growth of technology has created an evolution of new and advanced industries all around the world; and with every new modification and design, vacuum pump applications are becoming increasingly more diverse. Today we’ll scratch the surface of the vacuum pump world by discussing some of the more common types of pumps.


Rotary Vane Pumps are oil-sealed vacuum pumps. They contain a specially positioned rotor and vanes that split the working chamber into two different compartments that have variable volumes. Gas flows into the suction chamber as the rotor turns until it is sealed by the second vane. After the enclosed gas is compressed, the outlet valve opens against pressure. The oil seals the outlet valve and releases a small amount into the suction chamber as the valve opens to lubricate the chamber and seal the vanes against the pumps housing.


Rotary Vane Animation

Liquid Ring Vacuum Pumps Liquid-ring pumps function very similarly to rotary vane pumps, but require a liquid sealant (water, oil, or solvent depending on the application) to create a vacuum. In a liquid-ring pump the vanes are an essential part of the rotor that spin the solvent to create a ring of liquid that forms a compression-chamber seal.


Liquid Ring Pump Animation

Rotary Piston Pumps have a piston that moves in a circular motion in the pumping chamber that creates a continual increase of internal space on the pumps inlet side while creating a continual decrease of internal space on the pumps outlet side. A sustained seal is kept between both sides as oil is caught between the piston and the cylinder. High compression is achieved when the clearance volume is filled with oil at the end of the cycle.


Rotary Piston Pump Animation


Dry Screw Vacuum Pumps contain two screw rotors that move together in opposite directions that capture the sealed gas in the threads along each rotor and push it towards the outlet. Pressure is determined both by the space between the housing and the rotors, and the space between the rotors themselves.


Screw Pump Animation


Turbomolecular Pumps are kinetic vacuum pumps that propel gas molecules using a turbine rotor. These rotors are usually mounted on the same shaft or geared together. As the turbine spins, gas molecules are sucked into the pumps inlet and forced through a series of bladed disks that transfer momentum to the gas molecules. This process is repeated until the molecules reach the exhaust which creates a vacuum.


Turbomolecular Pump Animation


Scroll Pumps create a vacuum using two interleaved spiral scrolls to pump gases. One scroll is fixed in a stationary position while the other orbits. Gases enter through the perimeter as one scroll orbits the other and compresses the gas into moving pockets that push it towards the exhaust at the center of the scrolls.


Scroll Pump Animation


Cryogenic Pumps trap gases and vapor by condensing them on a cold surface that is cooled by a closed cycle helium cryo-compressor attached to the pump by insulated tubes. Compressed helium is expanded and cooled as it flows through a displacer made up of multistage piston assembly. The piston pushes the helium out of the pump and back into the compressor where it is re-compressed.


Cryogenic Pump Animation


Diaphragm Pumps use a flexible diaphragm that is moved up and down by a connection to the motor shaft. As the diaphragm is pulled down, air is sucked into the chamber and then expelled as the diaphragm is pushed upward.


Diaphragm Pump Animation


Claw Pumps earn their name from the shape of their rotors. The two rotors turn in opposite directions within the pump housing. They rotate extremely close together but never touch. Pressure rises as the rotating claws decrease the volume of the confined air or gas. Their claw shape enables the pump to draw gas into the compression chamber before it is exhausted.


Claw Pump Animation


Sputter Ion Pumps use magnets to generate a magnetic field to hold and direct electrons in the systems anode rings. Plasma is then created as the electrons in the anode tube assembly spin and form a cloud. Gases flowing into the assembly collide with the electrons and turn the gas molecules into positive ions which are then pushed out of the tube assembly at a high velocity towards the cathode plate. As the ions hit the plate they chemically and physically react with the cathode material that is expelled from the impact. The presence of the metal atoms in the plasma is essential for the pumping action to take place.


Ion Pump Animation


The range of vacuum pump types reaches just as far as their many functions. There are a lot of jobs in the industrial field that constantly seek the employment of the vacuum pump. Precision Plus is a trusted leader in the manufacturing of vacuum pump replacement parts for over 650 pump models. Visit our website for all the parts you need or any questions you have about your vacuum pump. We’re happy to assist you via instant live messaging. As always, we thank you for visiting Precision Plus.


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Image Sources:

Rotary Vane Pump

Liquid Ring Pump

Rotary Piston Pump

Screw Pump

Turbomolecular Pump

Scroll Pump

Cryogenic Pumps

Diaphragm Pumps

Claw Pump

Sputter Ion Pump

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Tobias Armstrong

    I had zero clue that there were so many different types of vacuum pump out there. I always thought most of them worked about the same, and was completely oblivious to the fact that the interior of them looked so different. I’m looking to get a vacuum pump for a project that I’ve got coming up, but now I know I probably need to do some more research. Thanks for sharing!

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