Vacuum Technology Tackles Voids

Innovative use of existing technology and new developments improve performance.

By Seán Ottewell, Editor at Large

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The company's patented COAX cartridge technology (Figure 3), which creates a vacuum with compressed air, underpins piFLOWi. Based on Piab's multistage technology, the cartridges are smaller, more efficient and more reliable than conventional ejectors, the company says. It adds that a vacuum system based on COAX technology can provide three times more vacuum flow than conventional systems, allowing users to increase speed with high reliability while reducing energy consumption.

"Traditional, centralized vacuum systems are inherently inefficient, because of the dead volume from tanks, manifolds and longer vacuum lines connecting the pump to the devices utilizing the vacuum. The pumps also have to be sized to accommodate for the 'worst case scenario' and they must compensate for additional volumes. Because of these factors, mechanical vacuum pumps are often oversized, resulting in increased capital costs and energy consumption," says Piab's Peter Tell, Sjöflygvägen, Sweden-based inventor of COAX.

The latest COAX multistage vacuum ejector cartridges are made of lightweight composite materials and are only the size of a pencil; so they are small enough to be directly integrated with end-use devices. By eliminating all tubing between the vacuum generator and the point-of-use, the ejector cartridges are said to significantly improve performance and save energy.

The company also has introduced various integrated vacuum-sensing control options, such as "cruise control," and automated vacuum management, which enable even greater energy saving. "Such energy savings, coupled with improvements in productivity and reduced maintenance costs, are the tangible benefits of the miniaturization and decentralization of industrial vacuum systems," Tell notes.

Meanwhile, Gardner Denver, Wayne, Pa., is talking up the efficiency and economic advantages of its Claw series of vacuum pumps and compressors, which utilize a highly evolved claw design for dry frictionless compression. The company says its rotary vane vacuum pump line also boosts efficiency by requiring less power to operate than other oil-lubricated pumps.

For its part, Tuthill Vacuum & Blower Systems, Springfield, Mo., now is offering the KDS425 vertical-flow dry screw vacuum pump. It features a vertical cantilever design to keep condensables from collecting in the pump process chamber, relatively high internal pump temperatures to thwart vapor condensation in the pump, and dry running operation to stop pump oil contamination. "Customers told us loud and clear there were definite advantages they liked about dry vacuum pumps versus wet vacuum, especially the benefits as to operations and environmental impacts," notes Dave Reader, lean product development manager.

Seán Ottewell is
Chemical Processing's Editor at Large. You can e-mail him at

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