Why Does That Pump Have an Oil Bottle?

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Why Does That Pump Have an Oil Bottle?

Wastewater operators and maintenance personnel often ask why certain rotary lobe pumps have an oil bottle.

The short answer is: An oil bottle allows you to proactively detect seal failure. But there’s more to the story. 

Don’t let seal failures get you down

One of the primary causes of pump downtime is seal failures. As you are aware, unexpected downtime incurs a higher cost of repair due to overnight shipments of parts, overtime pay for maintenance personnel, fines for noncompliance with regulations, etc.  

Being able to perform preventive maintenance or having a planned outage to repair or maintain parts removes these added costs. One of the best defenses against unexpected downtime in pumps is the use of an oil bottle. Oil bottles give you a visual indication of the health of your mechanical seal.

Built-in warning sign and added protection

It’s easy to see if the oil bottle loses pressure, the level of the oil decreases, or if the color of the oil changes. These are all warning signs of potential seal issues. A pressurized oil bottle also balances the pressure gradient across seal faces, so the seal does not need to work as hard, thus prolonging its life.

The oil in the buffer chamber acts as a lubricating and sealing fluid between seal faces rather than the product that is being pumped. If there is a seal failure, an oil bottle lessens the chance of the product becoming contaminated by the oil in the buffer chamber because of the higher discharge pressure pushing the fluid back into the buffer chamber.

No extra maintenance

An oil bottle adds no extra maintenance to a pump. Oil in the pump should be checked every 200 to 500 hours. Noting the oil bottle is a routine part of this inspection. An oil bottle can in fact decrease the need for tearing down a pump to figure out a problem since it is an external visual monitor of the buffer chamber and seal performance.

Additionally, if your pump doesn’t have an oil bottle and buffer chamber design, it’s likely that you will be cleaning up a leaky mess when the seal fails. Other pumps that feature a plug don’t provide any real warning signs and it simply pops out, allowing liquid to pour out on the floor — whereas the oil bottle captures that liquid.

Have more questions on rotary lobe pumps? Check out this page and watch the video that explains Vogelsang’s other key rotary lobe pump design features.

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