Maximize Efficiency: How to Select Vacuum Oil Like a Pro

select vacuum oil for vacuum pumps

Introduction

This comprehensive guide is designed to walk you through the crucial process of selecting vacuum oil for oil-sealed vacuum pumps.

As pumps run over extended periods, their oil accumulates contaminants, leading to a decline in vacuum levels. Monitoring the oil’s transparency and color is paramount. A darkened hue indicates an excess of contaminants, while a milky white appearance signifies emulsification due to vapor absorption. 

In such cases, it is imperative to select vacuum oil carefully and promptly replace it to maintain the pump’s performance and achieve the required ultimate vacuum.

Understanding Vacuum Oil Types

Typically, vacuum oil is a mineral oil devoid of additives. However, in certain cases, synthetic base oils with additives may be employed, subject to rigorous testing and performance validation by the pump manufacturer.

Selecting the Right Replacement Oil

Follow these steps to choose an appropriate replacement oil:

  1. Ensure Compatibility: To commence, ensure you select vacuum oil that is compatible with your specific vacuum pump.

  2. Confirm Kinematic Viscosity: Kinematic viscosity measures a fluid’s resistance to flow under gravity. High viscosity offers better ultimate pressure, but may lead to start-up difficulties and operation challenges at low temperatures. Conversely, low viscosity enables smooth operation, though it may not always achieve ultimate pressure. Generally, smaller pumps benefit from lower viscosity, while larger pumps require higher viscosity.

  3. Seek Genuine or Equivalent Oils: While genuine oil is preferred, it may not always be accessible or cost-effective. In such cases, consider sourcing a reputable alternative brand with similar viscosity.

For instance, if your vacuum pump requires NEOVAC MR-100 (Moresco Japan) with a viscosity grade of 46, compatible alternatives include Edwards Ultragrade 15 (viscosity of 38) or 17 (viscosity of 55), and vice versa.

By following these steps, you can ensure your vacuum pump maintains optimal performance and longevity.

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