Vacuum pumps find steady employment in woodworking, creating the suction that holds workpieces in place; drawing air through the spoilboard on a nested CNC bed; used in pressing and veneering to remove the air molecules from a closed vacuum bag.
Peerless Engineering, which makes Reitschle compressors seen on many wood machining centers, notes that in industrial uses, and at scales that affect entire machining plants or other large-scale operations — the machines differ in small ways that enhance the efficiency of one operation over the other.
And only very specifically-made machines should be used as both a vacuum generator and a compressor at the same time; the doubled load will run any machine not carefully built to withstand it.
There are three things you need to know about a vacuum pump: the strength of the vacuum it can produce, the rate at which it moves air, and the amount and quality of electricity it takes to use.
Vacuum strength is measured in absolute pressure (mmHg), where the smaller the number, the power powerful the vacuum. Standard atmospheric pressure is 760 mmHg at sea level, so anything less than that is a form of vacuum. Most large pumps are rated once, for continuous-duty use. Small pumps, which can have problems with overheating at high loads, usually have a continuous-duty rating and an intermittent-duty rating showing how much it can produce for short times before it needs a break.
Vacuum pumps are flow rated according to how quickly they can move air when both sides of the pump are at equal pressure (i.e. open to the air.) Of course, as the vacuum on one side of the pump increases, air flow decreases. Manufacturers can provide the curves that show what the flow rates should be as the vacuum increases.
Vacuum pumps use relatively little power compared to air compressors. The aforementioned pressure-flow curves should also include the amount of drive power required as the vacuum levels change (and thus allow you to derive efficiency rates by dividing power needed by air moved at each point along the curve.)
Vacuum pumps will have a strong showing at IWF 2016, with energy consumption and low noise output at the forefront of new features.
Among manufacturers showing vacuum pumps:
Becker has designed a full line of central vacuum systems, called the Advantage-W, which are specifically designed to meet the needs of CNC routers. These systems are designed for spoil board applications, faster cutting speeds, and shorter changeover due to its flexibility. The Advantage-W systems can be operated incrementally to match production demand, so operators run only the necessary pumps, saving energy and reducing operating costs.
At the heart of the Vmax systems is the Titan Series high-efficiency single-stage liquid ring vacuum pump manufactured to ISO9001 quality control standards. By using DEKKER’s specially formulated low vapor pressure sealing fluid Vmaxol, the system can operate for 10,000 hours or more without an oil change. Another benefit is that the life of the pump increases dramatically. Many systems that have been in operation for more than 15 years still have the original pump installed and are working without a major overhaul.