Preventing Vacuum Pump Leaks from Occurring

Welcome back, vacuum pump lovers, and thank you for joining me in our fourth riveting blog in our four-part series on vacuum pump leaks. Our last installment explored the proper procedures, tools, and kits used to repair vacuum pump leaks, but if you’re just joining us for the first time, feel free to start at the beginning of our series. Now that we have completed all the difficult work and our vacuum pumps are back in tiptop shape, it is time to take the steps to prevent these issues from reoccurring.

Our blog today will go over how you can keep your pump operating at its full potential with:

  • Monthly inspections including
    • Basic Monitoring
    • Oil Maintenance
    • Temperature Control
    • Intake Maintenance/ Changing Filters
    • Belt Conditions
  • Parts and Cleaning:
    • Oil Lines
    • Seal Rings
    • Silencer Nozzle

Basic Monitoring

Making sure your vacuum pump is in top condition falls directly under routine maintenance. It’s about knowing and caring for your system. You should be familiar with how your system operates, its assembly, and its various components. If you find that you are not familiar with these we suggest that you know of someone who is familiar that you can easily reach for assistance. Vacuum pumps should have a routine inspection at least once a month. The smallest of problems can turn into nightmares for you and your system ranging from seizures to explosions.

Basic monitoring is simply looking over your system periodically and keeping note of performance by making sure maintenance is executed properly and on schedule. Look out for things like loud or uncommon noises, oil level and color should look new with no visible contaminants, good ventilation, pump temperature. Always remember to check for leaks before and after maintenance.

Oil Maintenance

The health of the vacuum pump oil in your machine is very important because this is the pumps lifeblood. Contamination in the oil can cause the vacuum in your system to perform at low efficiency. Neglect to change contaminated or old oil can result in the failure of the whole system and cause irreversible damage. The amount of time your vacuum pump operates will determine how often you should change your oil. The industry standard calls for the oil to be changed every 3000 hours, so start those timers! Also keep in mind that any oil-filled pump will leak, so you may need to implement something like fabric to catch small leaks. Excessive oil leaks should be a concern and looked into further.

Temperature Control

Temperature control refers to the vacuum pumps ventilation. If your system is not installed in an open area, be sure to ventilate using a fan. An overheating machine can create system failure as well as problems with the oil viscosity and cause any rubber parts to become brittle.

Intake Maintenance/ Changing Filters

The intake on the system unfortunately does not differentiate between good and bad, therefore it will suck up anything in its immediate area. You want to make sure that your pump is only taking in filtered gasses. Any potential liquids or solids entering the pump can cause system failure. Water in the system can potentially be fixed if it is caught early enough. Vacuum pump filters should be changed every 9-12 months. Neglecting to change your filter can result in a variety of problems. Including exhausting oil vapor into the work area, pump will run hotter trying to exhaust through a plugged filter thus causing lubricating oil to break down more rapidly which will wear out the pump. Production cycle times will increase and the electric current draw will continue to increase.

Belt Conditions

When inspecting the belt on your system the pump should be turned off and unplugged. Make sure the belt is dry, and free of any cracks, oil or moisture. The belt tension should also be inspected. One basic ways of doing this is by rotation. Grasp the belt with two fingers halfway between the two pulleys and attempt to rotate it. Resistance to rotation should be encountered between 90 and 180 degrees rotation, but technically before 180 degrees. If one feels tighter than the other we recommend changing both. If you are unable to perform this method it is an indicator that there might be too much tension on the belt. By looking down on the motor from above you should be able to see if the axis of the motor shaft is not straight up and down to the plane that the belts are in. This means the belts are pulling the motor too hard against its resilient mounts.

Parts and Cleaning

Keeping your vacuum pump clean is a top priority. Different parts of the machine will need to be cleaned in a certain way or with specific tools. We want to touch base on a few common parts but it is always best to refer to your systems manual and manufacturer’s instructions for specific pumps.

Oil lines should be checked periodically and cleaned if necessary. For cleaning O-rings and seal rings, only use clean oil with lint-free cloths. Silencer nozzles can be cleaned with a thin wire and compressed air. Most components can be cleaned with proper solvent or petroleum and dried thoroughly with compressed air. We want to stress that you always double check your system’s manual for any specific instructions.

Staying on top of your vacuum pump’s maintenance can and will save you a lot of time and money on parts and tools. We all love to save money, so take care of your system and your system will take care of you. Be sure to stay up to date with our blogs and visit our website’s online store for the best deals on vacuum pump replacement parts and more. Thank you for choosing Precision Plus!

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