7 Deadly Sins of Oil Skimmer Selection

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  1. Undersizing Your Skimmer
    • Purchasing a small or mini unit instead of an industrial size unit based on gallons-per-hour skimming capacity is not an effective way of selecting an oil skimmer.
    • Oil skimmers should be selected by the size of the area being skimmed, not just by the amount of oil needing to be skimmed.
    • You should purchase an oil skimmer that has the capacity to remove at least 2X's the capacity needed by the application. Oil skimmer capacities are based on optimum conditions and homogeneity of oil. Viscosity, temperature of the water and other factors can affect the amount of oil picked up by an oil skimmer. It is impossible to accurately predict how fast your oil will be picked up. Therefore, as a rule of thumb, purchase an oil skimmer that is rated at least twice the capacity needed.
  2. Improper Placement of Oil Skimmers
    • Be sure to plan your oil skimmer placement.
    • Don't spend money for a concrete pad and mounting arrangements before checking where the oil actually collects.
    • Oil skimmers should be located opposite from the inflow and the tail pulley should be submerged two inches below the surface of the liquid to be most effective.
    • Using a tank that does not allow enough time for the oil to rise and float will also prevent effective oil skimming. Make sure your tank gives enough residence time for the oil to float.
  3. Paying for a Complicated Solution
    • Simpler is better. Oil skimming often beats ultra-filtration systems in many applications.
    • Many times installing large, complicated systems to handle your oil problems will not provide the best results. Usually you can save costs by using a relatively inexpensive oil skimming system to handle the free-floating oil and then a smaller treatment system to handle the oil that has remained suspended in the wastewater.
    • Oil skimming costs less, is more effective, and is ecologically responsible.
  4. Not Telling Your Consultant or Vendor Everything
    • Oil skimmer selection can be a very complex process; there are many factors that go into selecting the correct oil skimmer. If the vendor doesn't know what chemicals and heat you have, the wrong oil skimmer and materials might be used.
    • Don't hold back; if there is chlorine in the tank, tell us.
    • Gather as much information as possible before contacting your oil skimmer source:

      Temperature of Water
      pH Level
      Area Size Being Skimmed
      Type of Oil Being Skimmed
      Water Level
      Any Turbulence
      Electric Requirements

  5. Choosing the Wrong Oil Skimming Material
    • There are several things to consider when choosing a belt or tube type for your oil skimmer. Some plastics won't stand up to heat or strong chemicals. Some metal belts won't skim well from coolants. Smooth belts don't pick up floating emulsified oils. Certain plastic belts don't last in heated applications while others do. This is yet another reason why it is important to pick a good oil skimmer vendor and tell them all of the information about your application.
  6. Lack of Maintenance and Basic Care
    • An oil skimmer will only remove oil if it is properly maintained. There are basic maintenance tasks that should be done regularly to keep your oil skimmer up to snuff. Are the wipers contacting the belt smoothly? Is the belt riding away from the sides of the pulley? Are the troughs and wipers clear of debris?
  7. Buying from an Unknown Vendor Based on Price
    • Like with most things in life, you get what you pay for with oil skimmers. You may save money up front, but you will pay more in the long run.
    • Buying from small, unheard of oil skimmer manufacturers will probably mean no support when performance or maintenance issues arise. Furthermore, parts will need to be replaced and units may need upgrading with different belt materials over time. Disreputable vendors don't tend to have a selection of materials. In addition, they usually don't stay in business more than a few years so you will most likely have to replace their oil skimmer with a different brand when you need replacement parts.

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