There are typically several different types of pumps used in an industrial vacuum system, each covering a wide pressure range and operating in series, at times. Therefore, identifying the right type of oil for the respective vacuum device is important to ensure it works well in its corresponding conditions.

Vacuum pump oils are used with vacuum pumps, which remove air of other gases from a closed chamber to create a pressure differential. While the pressure in the chamber is reduced, removing the additional molecules becomes exponentially harder. As a result, an industrial vacuum system must be able to operate over a portion of an extraordinarily wide pressure range.

In addition, the relationship between the oil’s volatility and vapor pressure in vacuum pump applications are closely connected because a more volatile oil is more likely to turn from a liquid to a vapor as temperatures increase. Excessive evaporation losses lead to a higher risk of lubricant starvation and are detrimental to quality, due to abrasion and condensation. Hence, choosing a lubricating oil with a low vapor pressure will ensure the system operates efficiently. Vacuum-resistant PFPE lubricants made by Klüber Lubrication support sensitive manufacturing processes.

Parameters for oil selection

The below parameters for oil selection are required when selecting vacuum pump oils. However, the key parameters for oil selection are the ultimate pump pressure and the composition of the gas flow.

1. Ultimate pump pressure

As the lubricating oil is subject to vacuum, it may evaporate faster than when it’s under normal atmosphere. For vacuum applications, a lubricant should always be chosen whose vapour pressure at service temperature is at least two to three decimal powers of ten lower than the attainable pump pressure.

2. It is the gas flow that counts

The gas flow to be pumped may vary considerably depending on the process. Hence, it is essential to precisely know the composition of the gas.

3. Types of vacuum pumps

The following pump designs are common in vacuum technology:

Roots pumps              300 ... 1.0 mbar
Rotary vane pumps      1.0 ... 10-3 mbar
Turbopumps               10-3 ... 10-11 mbar
Diffusion pumps          10-7 ... 10-11 mbar

4. Oil temperature and oil used

  • Temperature
    Oil temperature in the pump is important because the vapour pressure of the oil decreases as the temperature rises
  • Oil in use
    Oil in use gives a rough indication of the oil's suitability in vacuum pumps in conjunction with the gas flow

Vacuum pump oils from Klüber Lubrication

Type of vacuum pump Gas to be pumped Ultimate pump pressure Products
Roots pump Air and inert gases like nitrogen and carbon dioxide as well as noble gases like argon, neon, helium, xenon 10-3 mbar Klüber Summit HySyn FG 100
Rotary vane pump Dry air, dry inert gases like nitrogen and carbon dioxide as well as noble gases like argon, neon, helium, xenon 10-2 mbar Klüber Summit DSL 100
Diffusion pump Air and inert gases like nitrogen and carbon dioxide as well as noble gases like argon, neon, helium, xenon - Klüber Tyreno Fluid M-60VD


Successful Case Study – Food industry

A food manufacturer uses vacuum pumps made by Busch, Leybold and Rietschle for the generation of vacuum in different production and packaging processes in the manufacture of meat and sausages. Due to the high temperature in the vacuum pump room, the vacuum lines were regularly experiencing problems which had to be solved at great expense. In summer, the average temperature in the vacuum pump room can escalate to as high as 50 ˚C.

The solution provided by Klüber Lubrication was Klüber Summit HySyn FG 100 in Busch vacuum pumps. The plant’s aim is to switch to NSF H1 lubricants step by step, hence proposing our food grade lubricant was timely. The customer was convinced to use our product just with the letter of recommendation for the use of this oil in Busch vacuum pumps.

The outcome after switching to Klüber Summit HySyn FG 100 was the heat generation from the vacuum pumps was considerably reduced compared to the oil they used previously. The temperature in the vacuum pump room dropped by approximately 10 ˚C which meant that the problems in the vacuum lines were no longer an issue. Furthermore, the oil refill quantities have dropped by approximately 20 % - 25 % with Klüber Summit HySyn FG 100, thus reducing lubricant costs. Overall, the customer saw an extension of oil change intervals and reduction in lubricant consumption.

Successful Case Study – Plastic industry

A plastic manufacturer with dry screw pumps were experiencing unplanned downtime which affected their productivity. The bearings and gears were lubricated with a POE lubricating product developed for chain oil application. Due to high temperature operational conditions, premature failures happen. Current product in use is POE based oil with serious degradation problems.

The solution provided by Klüber Lubrication was Klüber Tyreno Fluid 12/25V, a perfluorinated polyether oils (PFPE) which are available in different viscosities and show particularly high chemical stability. This high-performance vacuum pump oil is suitable as vapour-resistant, and it is chemically inert transmission fluid in dry-running screw-type pumps.

The outcome after switching to Klüber Tyreno Fluid 12/25V was achieving a reliable operation of vacuum pumps which eliminated unplanned downtime and an extended oil change interval. This oil offers six times more savings of oil and the ROI in less than six months of usage is four times higher, despite a higher price.

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