3 Tips for Proper Vacuum Pump Sizing
The vacuum pump is an important component in any vacuum system. If the vacuum pump fails, the overall integrity of your system could be compromised.
A facility in need of a new vacuum pump must carefully evaluate all of the variables that determine which size vacuum pump will be sufficient. Unfortunately, many people overlook these variables.
Improperly sized vacuum pumps can cost your facility in the long run. Avoid mistakes when sizing your new vacuum pump; keep these three tips in mind.
1. Evaluate the Performance Curve
Most vacuum pump manufacturers will advertise the peak performance numbers on the pumps they produce. While you may want to know how capable a vacuum pump is of performing at peak conditions, this measurement alone does not give you an indication of where the peak performance measurement lies on the pump’s performance curve.
The operating pressure that you will use in your facility should fall below the manufacturer’s recommended capabilities for the pump at your desired pressure level. This will ensure that you do not overwork the vacuum pump during routine operations and that you have enough of a safety net to handle the occasional spike in flow that might occur.
Do not rely only on peak performance numbers to size your vacuum pump. This choice could result in premature equipment failure.
2. Utilize ACFM Measurements
Air consumption (required volume) is an important measurement that you will need to consider when sizing a new vacuum pump for your facility. The unit of measurement that many people use is SCFM (standard cubic feet per minute), but evaluating a vacuum pump in terms of SCFM will not give you an accurate estimate of the power of the pump.
Instead, make any comparisons using ACFM (actual cubic feet per minute). The ACFM measurement takes into account the unique environmental conditions that exist within your facility. These conditions can influence the performance of a vacuum pump, preventing the pump from running at the standard rate.
By using ACFM in all evaluations, you will end up with a vacuum pump that is capable of meeting your needs over time.
3. Pipe Sizing
The vacuum pump you install in your facility will work as part of a system. In order to obtain an accurate idea of the performance potential of a particular vacuum pump, evaluate the pump as a part of the whole system.
The smallest restriction within the system will dictate how quickly compressed the air can move through your facility. You may think that a larger vacuum pump will give you the additional volume you need to ramp up production within your facility.
If you have a series of smaller pipes dedicated to the movement of air, the vacuum pump’s capabilities will be limited by the small diameter of these pipes. In order to take advantage of the additional power and higher capacity offered by a larger vacuum pump, you may need to overhaul your entire vacuum system and install larger pipes.
Do not make the mistake of evaluating a vacuum pump as a standalone component. The system as a whole will help dictate the correct size vacuum pump for your facility.
New vacuum pumps can represent a significant investment for many facility management professionals. You need to accurately size your vacuum pump if you want a component that will complement your existing compressed air system.
Contact Compressor-Pump & Service, Inc., for help finding the right vacuum pump for your facility. We can help you determine which type and size of air compressor will work best for you and can offer repair and maintenance services.