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2011 Vacuum Pumps Survey Results

Vacuum pumps are an essential piece of equipment and used in a wide variety of processes in most laboratories. Read the results of our vacuum pumps survey right here.

Vacuum pumps are an essential piece of equipment and used in a wide variety of processes in most laboratories. Innovation in vacuum technology is currently being driven by the many diverse manufacturing and research processes that rely on vacuum systems, particularly the manufacture of semiconductors. With increasing demand for reliable and efficient vacuum techniques, the rate of innovation looks likely to increase in the immediate future.

Vendors predict that vacuum pumps of the future will offer greater reliability and be able to operate for longer periods of time before maintenance is required. Laboratory pumps are also expected to be smaller, more efficient, and generate less heat, noise and vibration. It is likely that they will also better resist corrosion and be easier to clean and repair.

Technological developments are likely to include higher shaft speeds and innovation in pumping mechanisms for improved performance. Vacuum pumps are also expected to incorporate novel materials and improved design to further improve performance and reduce operating costs.

The two most common laboratory vacuum technologies are diaphragm pumps and rotary vane pumps. Diaphragm pumps are oil-free and suitable for applications above about 1 Torr, which covers the vast majority of filtrations and aspirations. Rotary vane pumps use oil for sealing and lubrication and require substantially more maintenance than oil-free pumps. Higher pumping speeds and ultimate vacuums make them suitable for evacuating glove boxes and for drying/freeze drying. A third technology, the scroll pump, is also an oil-less design. With ultimate vacuums of around 0.1 Torr, scroll pumps are suitable for applications requiring vacuums intermediate between diaphragm and rotary vane capabilities.

Different type(s) of vacuum pumps respondents are using in their labs:

Rotary vane pump 30%
Dry diaphragm vacuum pump 22%
Deep vacuum pump 16%
Water or Air Aspirator 13%
Filtration pump 10%
Other: (Please specify) 8%

The average annual vacuum pump budget for related equipment, parts, maintenance, service, and repairs is less than $1,000.

$0 - $1,000 47%
$1,000 - $2,500 17%
$2,500 - $5,000 10%
$5,000+ 14%
Don't know 12%

Vacuum pumps are used in dozens of laboratory applications, including filtration, evaporation, degassing, drying/ freeze drying, metals/materials processing, coating, and distillation.

Different type(s) of applications respondents are using vacuum pumps for in their labs:

Vacuum or pressure filtration 25%
Rotary evaporator 16%
Vacuum oven 15%
Degassing 14%
Freeze drying 9%
Gel dryer 4%
Other: (Please specify) 17%

Based on the replies, the majority of respondents who are looking to purchase a vacuum pump are looking to replace aging pumps. What buyers should consider in purchasing a vacuum pump: a) Match the pump to its intended use, considering materials of construction, desired flow rate, and ultimate vacuum; b) Make note of the solvents that the pump will encounter; c) Consider the environment. Oilfree pumps eliminate the need to dispose contaminated pump oil and excessive water usage from an aspirator; d) look for a pump with low cost of ownership; and e) take the time to find out about the alternatives.

Respondents' reasons for purchasing a new vacuum pump:

Replacement of aging pump 45%
Addition to existing systems, increase capacity 29%
Setting up a new lab 18%
First time purchase of a pump 2%
Other: (Please specify) 6%

Top 12 factors/features that are important in purchasing a vacuum pump:

Durability of product 100%
Value for price paid 97%
Leak tightness 97%
High suction 93%
Oil-free/contamination-free pumping 88%
Ease of use 92%
Service and support 89%
Maintenance costs 90%
Safety and health features 90%
Availabilty of supplies and accessories 91%
Noise level - quiet 86%
High pumping speed 82%

Respondents' fields of work:

Chemical 19%
Environmental 19%
Biochemistry and biology 15%
Quality control 11%
Pharmaceutical industry 8%
Food and beverage 5%
Other: (Please specify) 25%

Completed Surveys: 394

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