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11 Hydraulic System Maintenance Tips for Rotary Vane Pumps

Workers inspecting and maintaining machinery in an industrial maintenance workshop

As an essential component of many industrial applications, rotary vane pumps play a critical role in ensuring the smooth operation of hydraulic systems. They are commonly used in hydraulic systems due to their reliable performance, high efficiency, compact design, and ability to handle various viscosities of fluids. As such, proper maintenance is crucial to maximise these pumps’ lifespan and efficiency.

What Is a Rotary Vane Pump?

A rotary vane pump is a type of positive displacement pump that uses rotating vanes or blades to move fluid. It consists of a cylindrical rotor with multiple vanes rotating within an elliptical cam ring held rigidly within the pump housing.

When a rotary vane pump works, the rotor spins, and the centrifugal force pushes the vanes against the cam ring wall, creating a series of expanding and contracting chambers within the pump. This movement allows fluid to be drawn into the expanding chamber through an inlet port and pushed out through an outlet port as the chamber contracts.

Ranges of Rotary Vane Pumps

Rotary vane pumps are available in a wide range of sizes and specifications to suit various application requirements. The ranges of rotary vane pumps can vary based on factors such as flow rate, pressure capability, materials used, and intended use as follows:

  • Flow Rate: Rotary vane pumps can handle different flow rates ranging from a few litres per minute (LPM) to several hundred or thousand LPM.
  • Pressure Capability: The pressure capability of rotary vane pumps typically varies from low-pressure applications around 5-10 bar to high-pressure applications exceeding 200-300 bar.
  • Materials: Rotary vane pumps are available in various materials like cast iron, stainless steel, bronze, aluminium alloy, etc., depending on the compatibility with the fluid being pumped and resistance to corrosion or abrasion.
  • Intended Use: Different types of rotary vane pumps are designed for specific applications such as industrial hydraulic systems, automotive fuel supply systems, vacuum packaging machines, medical devices, HVAC systems, and more.

Overall, the range of rotary vane pump options allows users to select the most suitable pump based on their desired performance characteristics and operational needs.

Types of Rotary Vane Pumps

There are primarily two types of pumps: oil-lubricated rotary vane pumps and dry-running (oil-free) rotary vane pumps.

Oil-Lubricated Rotary Vane Pumps:

These pumps, in hydraulic applications us the hydraulic oil to provide the lubrification to reduce friction, seal the vanes against the housing, and cool internal components. The oil creates a thin film between the vanes and the wall, ensuring smooth operation and minimising wear. Oil-lubricated rotary vane pumps are commonly used in applications where a higher level of vacuum or pressure is required and are the normal variant used in hydraulic / fluid power applications.

Dry-Running (Oil-Free) Rotary Vane Pumps:

This type are not use in oil hydraulic / fluid power applications but unlike their oil-lubricated counterparts, these pumps operate without any lubricating oil contact with the pumped gas or fluid. Instead, they employ materials with low friction coefficients, such as carbon vanes or special polymers that offer self-lubrication properties.

Dry-running rotary vane pumps eliminate concerns about contamination from oil carryover. They are suitable for sensitive applications like food processing, medical devices, or laboratories that require clean air/liquid environments.

Parts Found in Rotary Vane Pumps

Rotary vane pumps are composed of several essential parts working together to facilitate the pumping process, including:

Rotor: The rotor is a cylindrical assembly with vanes or blades attached to it. As the rotor rotates, it creates chambers that expand and contract to allow fluid movement.

Vanes: Multiple vanes that slide in and out due to centrifugal force and which engage with the inner wall of the pump housing during rotation are attached radially on the rotor.

Pump Housing/Casing: The pump housing/casing encloses the internal components of the rotary vane pump and provides structural support.

Inlet/Outlet Ports: These ports serve as entrance and exit points for fluids pumped through the system.

Valves: Some rotary vane pumps may incorporate valves, such as check valves or pressure relief valves, at specific locations to control flow direction or limit maximum pressure.

Rotary Vane Pump Maintenance Tips

Connected hydraulic pressure pipes system of construction
  1. Regular Inspections: Perform routine inspections of your rotary vane pump to identify any signs of wear, damage, or leakage. Check for loose connections, worn-out vanes, and excessive noise or vibration during operation.
  2. Fluid Quality Analysis: Monitor the quality and cleanliness of the hydraulic fluid regularly. Contaminated or degraded fluid can increase friction and wear on the pump components. Ensure you use clean and recommended fluids per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  3. Filter Maintenance: Clean or replace filters regularly to prevent debris from entering the system and obstructing flow within the pump. Clogged filters can cause pressure drops and strain on the rotary vane pump, reducing efficiency.
  4. Temperature Control: Maintain proper temperature control within your hydraulic system through cooling mechanisms such as a suitable reservoir capacity, heat exchangers or coolers. High temperatures can accelerate wear on the vanes and other internal components of the rotary vane pump. Excessive temperatures also cause fluid degradation, premature pump failure, and other problems.
  5. Training and Awareness: Ensure maintenance personnel receive adequate training on operating principles, procedures, and safety protocols specific to rotary vane pumps in hydraulic systems.
  6. Tighten Loose Fasteners: Periodically check for loose fasteners like bolts around your pumping equipment; tightness, but not over tightness, ensures better performance overall.
  7. Monitor System Pressure: Closely monitor system pressure levels regularly. Excessive hydraulic pressure may create undue stress on vital internal parts, hastening their deterioration.
  8. Change the Hydraulic Fluid Often: Make sure to monitor the number of operational hours to know exactly when the oil needs to be changed. Pump manufacturers will supply a fluid change schedule. Just remember to select the right type of fluid for your pumps.
  9. Stock Replacement Vanes and Cam Rings: Certain types of hydraulic vane pumps can be repaired by replacing the rotors, vanes, and cam rings. In many cases stocking what is referred to as a complete cartridge kit makes the repair more straightforward, as it has all the moving parts within it and can be switched over as a complete unit.
  10. Always Use a Filter: To avoid dirt, debris, and excessive contamination from getting into the vane pump, it is essential to use the right size and type of filter.

By following these maintenance tips diligently, you can enhance reliability while minimising downtime associated with potential failures in your hydraulic system’s rotary vane pumps.

Rotary Vane Pumps and Hydraulic System Parts

For all your hydraulic system, vane pump, gear pump, piston pump, and component needs, please feel free to browse our extensive online catalogue or contact White House Products, Ltd. on +44 (0) 1475 742500 or via email: sales@whp.co.uk today.

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