Did you know that vacuum pumps have a variety of uses outside of the most well-known use of using them for a vacuum cleaner? Vacuum pumps are used in many industries, for a variety of uses such as medical suction, sewage systems, and glass coating.
If you’re currently looking for a quality vacuum pump, it’s amazing to find out about all the different uses this technology has. However, it’s also overwhelming.
There’s a lot of information out there about vacuum pumps, and there are so many types to choose from.
How can you make a final decision about the right vacuum pump to buy?
Fortunately, we’ve got all that information you need here. From helping you understand what a vacuum pump is (and how it works) to helping you decide which type is best for you, you’ll learn what you need to make an informed decision.
Read on to learn more.
What Is a Vacuum Pump and How Does It Work?
The easiest way to think about how a vacuum pump works is by using the example we are most familiar with: a vacuum cleaner. With a vacuum cleaner, you’re able to clean your home because of the powerful suction that sucks all the dirt and grime into the vacuum cleaner itself.
But what causes that to happen?
Within your vacuum cleaner, there’s a fan inside of it that causes the air inside the vacuum cleaner to go out of the vacuum (that’s what all that noise is about).
Above the fan, there are now fewer air particles, and more beneath it (right above the ground where you’re pushing the vacuum cleaner on top of).
This causes the density of air particles to decrease in the top part of the vacuum cleaner, and to increase in the bottom. This means that there’s more air pressure in the area near where you’re cleaning, and less at the top.
And there’s definitely less air pressure inside the vacuum than in the air outside of it where you’re standing. And there’s a partial vacuum within the vacuum cleaner itself (a total vacuum is what they have in outer space).
When there’s this big disbalance in air pressure, the resulting partial vacuum within the vacuum cleaner causes suction to happen. It’s physically necessary for air to come in and fill that space up again–why is why that suction results.
In all vacuum pumps, this is what’s going on. However, for some more high-tech, high-energy vacuum pumps, there might be much more power behind it, and a stronger vacuum with lower air pressure.
Depending on what your needs are, you might want a vacuum pump with more power, or one that requires less maintenance. Let’s go over these so you can make the right decision for you, whether you want to buy a gast vacuum pump or another type.
Think About How You’ll Be Using It
Before buying a vacuum pump, you’ll want to think about how you’ll be using it. This will impact many of your choices, such as vacuum type and lubrication needs.
Ask yourself these questions:
“How often will I be using this vacuum pump?”
“How much money do I plan on spending?”
“What will I be using this vacuum pump for?”
“Are there any factors I should consider about the environment I’m using it in?”
If you sell timber and plan on using a vacuum pump for decorative finishes on wood pieces, for example, it may make sense for you to get a high-end vacuum pump for your vacuum coater.
If you work at a laboratory, you won’t want a lubricated vacuum pump. Even though lubricated vacuum pumps can make the job easier, laboratory settings are better for dry vacuum pumps.
Consider the Vacuum Level
Once you know what you’ll be using your vacuum pump for, you’ll want to consider the vacuum level. This is probably the most important consideration, and it has to do with the actual intensity of the suction created by the vacuum level.
Depending on the level, there will be fewer particles left over after the air has been removed–and the fewer particles there are, the more intense of a vacuum there will be.
As you can imagine, a more intense vacuum will also require more energy.
There are three vacuum levels when it comes to vacuum pumps: ultrahigh vacuum, high vacuum, and low or rough vacuum.
Ultrahigh Vacuum: An ultrahigh vacuum has around 100 molecules per centimeters cubed, a minimum pressure of 10-12 in mbars, and 10-7 maximum pressure in mbars.
High Vacuum: A high vacuum has around between 100 and 1,000 molecules per centimeters cubed, a minimum pressure of 10-7 in mbars, and 10-3 maximum pressure in mbars.
Low Vacuum (or rough) vacuum: A low (or rough) vacuum has around 100 molecules per centimeters cubed, a minimum pressure of 10-3 in mbars, and 1 maximum pressure in mbars.
Once you’ve decided on the vacuum level, you’ll want to think about…
There are some additional considerations you’ll want to make when you’re deciding what vacuum pump to buy. You also need to know what makes a good vacuum pump.
Depending on the vacuum level and the mechanical complexity of the vacuum pump, it will come at different costs. In addition to budgeting how much you can pay, do your research by finding out what usual costs are in your industry.
You’ll also want to think about installation costs. Even if a vacuum pump is on the cheaper end, you won’t necessarily save money if its installation cost is exorbitant.
A vacuum that has lubrication is easier to use, because it (literally) makes the process a whole lot smoother. It means you’ll have better quality resistance, and the vacuum will work more properly.
However, lubrication can be messy, and might not be best in certain settings. Additionally, it means more maintenance, which can affect cost (we’ll review that below).
The Flow Rate of the Pump
Flow rate has an impact on how quickly the machine drains. This affects the speed itself of the vacuum, so depending on how much suction you need to be using, you’ll need a greater or lesser flow rate.
Once you’ve identified the use of what you’re using your vacuum pump for, you’ll have a better idea of what flow rate you’ll need.
Compatibility of Chemicals
You need to ensure that the gases you’re using are compatible with the vacuum pump. For example, moisture might be a problem that gets in the way of what you’re using the vacuum pump for.
Maintenance (and its Effect on Cost)
Much of these factors (especially lubrication) mean that you’ll need to regularly have your vacuum pump maintained. In addition to being a logistical issue you’ll have to think about, regular maintenance also has an effect on cost.
Anytime your vacuum pump is serviced, you will need to consider the additional fee. Add this to whatever you think you might spend.
Understand What Types Are Available
It’s also important to know what types of vacuum pumps are available. These include rotary vacuum pumps, turbomolecular vacuum pumps, scroll vacuum pumps, diaphragm vacuum pumps, and liquid ring vacuum pumps.
Rotary Vacuum Pumps
Rotary vacuum pumps, which are cheaper even though they are high-performing. These have a low (or rough) vacuum level, and require oil to be operated, which means you’ll need to change the oil.
Turbomolecular Vacuum Pumps
Turbomolecular vacuum pumps are impressively powerful, with pressure levels that can start at 10-20 mbar. Blades move at a high speed, so much so that they require magnetic bearings. They’re used so it’s a sturdy vacuum pump.
These pumps are quite pricey, but are useful for ultrahigh volume needs. They are also dry, which means you don’t have to change the lubrication.
Scroll Vacuum Pumps
Scroll vacuum pumps, which can be used for both dry and clean vacuuming, depending on your needs. They are quiet, but they are not always entirely sealed.
Diaphragm Vacuum Pumps
Diaphragm vacuum pumps are often used in food and makeup industries, because they do not often have corrosion problems with various chemicals. They are also dry, which means you won’t have to worry as much about maintenance.
Liquid Ring Vacuum Pumps
Finally, there’s liquid ring vacuum pumps, which actually have liquid in them. This guarantees an airtight vacuum. In terms of vacuum pump standards, it’s high-quality and high-powered.
Making the Final Decision
As you can see, there are many factors you have to consider to make a final decision when choosing the right vacuum pump. By understanding how a vacuum pump works, what you might be using it for, and what kinds of vacuum pumps there are, you’ll be closer to making this decision.
To get more help in making important financial and life decisions, check out additional articles in our blog.