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Oil-Free Vacuum Pumps for GC-MS

A critical feature of every mass spectrometry system is its vacuum apparatus, which creates the vacuum in which ions get separated for counting

by Agilent Technologies
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Problem: Most vacuum systems use oil-sealed vacuum pumps, however, having oil in the system can lead to problems. Pumps can be messy, they can leak and leave oil residues on the ground, and measurement quality can be affected if oil molecules migrate onto the instrument’s internal surfaces. Additionally, the oil must be changed and disposed of whenever it becomes discolored—typically every six to 12 months. Furthermore, the cost of disposing the used oil can be more expensive per liter than the original purchase price. Rotary vane pumps also have a tendency to fail due to oil starvation, or from blocked internal lubrication passages, which can result in costly service calls—and hours of unexpected downtime.

Solution: Now there’s a game-changing solution—a clean, compact, and cost-effective alternative to conventional oil-sealed pumps—the Agilent IDP-3 dry scroll pump. The IDP-3 dry scroll pump is an affordable way to make GC-MS productivity happen and avoid the hassles of oil-sealed pumps once and for all. Dry scroll pumps like this one are also quieter, cleaner, and cheaper to maintain.

This elegantly simple design offers many benefits including lower noise and vibration levels, simple, infrequent maintenance, and the elimination of catastrophic failure modes. In addition, dry pump technology is environmentally friendly, as it eliminates the need for oil disposal—and the risk of handling contaminated oil.

The compact IDP-3 uses scroll pump technology, whereby vacuum is created using a simple dual scroll mechanism—one nested scroll (a spiral-shaped compressor) orbits within the other, creating moving zones of captured gas. Gas enters the scroll pump at the perimeter and is displaced and compressed toward the center hub, where it is exhausted creating low ultimate pressure at high speed.

This unique solution eliminates the many issues surrounding oil pump maintenance such as leaks, disposal costs, mess, and safety concerns. The IDP-3 dry pump only requires replacement of two tip seals and a single O-ring. This simple maintenance procedure is clean and can be accomplished in less than 30 minutes by anyone with modest mechanical skills. The IDP-3 also has a small footprint and lightweight construction, ideal for any instrument configuration, even inside cabinets.

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