A Vacuum Dehydration Oil Purification System, or VDOPS, is a piece of machinery used to clean and purify lubricant. It works by evacuating the air from the system and heating the oil to a high temperature, which vaporizes any water or contaminants. The vaporized water and contaminants are then collected and removed from the system. This process cleans and purifies the oil, making it safe for use in machinery. If you’re like most business owners, you’re always looking for ways to save money and increase efficiency. One way to do both is by investing in a vacuum dehydration oil purification system. By removing impurities from hydraulic and gear oils, you can increase equipment life and decrease maintenance costs.
What is a Vacuum Dehydration Oil Purification System?
VDOPS is also known simply as a vacuum dehydrator. The machine removes all free and emulsified water, as well as 90% or more of dissolved water. In fact, using a VDOPS is one of the very few methods to remove dissolved water from oil using a vacuum dehydrator.
What Lubricants Can You Use a Vacuum Dehydrator on?
There are many applications that a vacuum dehydration oil purification system is excellent for. These include:
- Gear Oil
- Hydraulic Oil
- Lubrication Oil
- Turbine Oil
- Transformer Oil
- PAO Fluid
- Diesel Fuel
- Phosphate Ester (Fyrquel EHC Fluid)
Why You Should Have a Vacuum Dehydration Oil Purification System
With a VDOPS, you may circulate hydraulic and lubrication oil while maintaining ideal fluid cleanliness in your system. This increases the life of your rotating machinery and vital parts, reduces downtime, and saves money. Water is a contaminant and you need to identify and control it if the hydraulic, lubricating, compressor, or gear oil you use does not have a water base from formulation.
Free water, emulsified water, and dissolved water are the three forms of water that typically exist in a lubricating system. Depending on the oil’s age and condition, the water saturation point, or the point above which water exists in a free form, is 200 to 400 ppm (parts per million). If you use mineral base oil, the ideal upper water limit for most applications is 100ppm. That means you must have a system in place for the removal of all free and emulsified water, as well as a sizable amount of dissolved water.
What Types of Water Does a VDOPS Remove?
To better understand how a VDOPS works, let’s dive into the three types of water that we mentioned above.
Free water can be visually distinguished in a sample container and is separate from the system’s oil. Since most oils have a specific gravity of less than 1, water typically gathers at the base of the sample bottle, reservoir, or system. Since a reservoir drain port is readily available, you can simply drain free water through it. Even when employing a vacuum dehydrator to accelerate the water removal process, decanting water through the drain port is a wise choice.
Water that has merged or blended with oil is emulsified water. Emulsified water will largely stay in this blended state and not “fall out” or separate and settle on the bottom like free water. It is vital to the health of your equipment to address emulsified water.
Water that has dissolved into the oil is dissolved water. For this reason, this type of water is the most difficult to remove. A vacuum dehydration oil purification system only concentrates on dissolved water once it handles all free and emulsified water. At that point, the bulk of the water in the system is gone. But, there is still a benefit to removing dissolved water, even though it is a slow process. Your VDOPS should have a water percentage saturation meter for you to monitor the amount of dissolved water in your lubricant in real time.
How Does a Vacuum Dehydrator Work?
In a vacuum dehydrator, the system heats the oil and draws a vacuum. The VDOPS maintains a fine balance to make water ash to steam but not cause the thermal breakdown of the oil. While water’s normal boiling point at sea level is 212°F, the addition of a vacuum allows this process to happen at a lower temperature. The ideal temperature is 130-160°F, but the oil determines the exact temperature. For example, very stable synthetic oils may need a higher temperature than standard mineral oils. Additionally, you can set a higher vacuum level to turn water into steam at a cooler temperature. However, a higher vacuum removes water at a slower rate. So, you must consider your preferred speed of water removal when setting the temperature and vacuum levels.
Vacuum Dehydrator vs. Other Water Removal Methods
There are further techniques for removing free water from a system, including water-absorbing filter components and coalesce technology for some oils without strong additive packages. However, a vacuum dehydration oil purification system is the only alternative for total water removal that can be used on-site on any oil, regardless of the additive package, oil type, or viscosity.
The Bottom Line: Remove Water from Your Lubricants
Hydraulic and lubricating oil contamination with particles and moisture has been shown to have negative consequences. You may significantly extend the life of crucial wear components on rotating machinery by ensuring the utmost fluid purity. The benefits of a VDOPS include also reducing downtime and increasing profitability, making it a worthwhile consideration for your lubrication management program.