What Are Vacuum Dehydrators and How Do They Work?

22 July 2020

AUTHORED BY: Reliability360

The oil in your machinery is designed to collect contaminants, such as metal wear particles, so they can be filtered out of the system. When it’s working properly, the internal components of your equipment will run like new.

However, there are some situations where the normal filtration process isn’t enough, such as when water has been introduced to a system. The best way to remove water is with a vacuum dehydrator; additives and filters won’t do the job. A vacuum dehydrator removes water and gasses from your oil that normal forms of filtration can’t. Keep reading to learn how vacuum dehydrators work, what causes some equipment to need them, and what you can do to reduce contaminants in your oil.


How Vacuum Dehydrators Work

A vacuum dehydrator makes water boil that is trapped in oil, causing it to turn into water vapor. The vapor is then removed by the system while your oil is returned to the equipment it came from.

Under most conditions, heating oil to an extreme temperature will cause it to experience thermal breakdown. But a vacuum dehydrator doesn’t need to heat the oil very much to turn the trapped water into vapor. This is due to the boiling point of water being much lower than normal when it’s placed in a vacuum. In fact, water will boil in a vacuum even without heat being applied to it.

A vacuum means there is either no atmospheric pressure, or at least a very low amount, that is present in a given space. In addition to creating a vacuum, these units also remove air and solid particulates from oil. Most have one input and three outputs, with one pipe bringing contaminated oil into the system, while different outputs release solid particulates, water and clean oil. The clean oil is then put back into use.

Another advantage you’ll find with vacuum dehydrators is they capture all forms of water, even when it is dissolved in oil or additives. There is no other way to remove water when it’s in this state.


Common Causes of Condensation in Machinery

A bad seal is frequently found to be the reason water enters a closed system. Age, damage or a buildup of debris can cause seals to allow water to pass. Open reservoirs are also a problem. Additionally, water can be present in your oil before it’s added to your equipment. This is largely due to improper storage. Different oils and additives require a variety of storage techniques, but many sites lack the space and/or proper facilities to ensure they’re kept at the right temperatures and away from environmental contaminants.


How To Reduce Contaminants in Your Oil

Other than regular maintenance that includes checking seals for leaks, regular oil analyses will let you know what’s present in your oil and give you a clear indication of where contaminants are coming from. And with solutions like the R360 Mobile Lab and R360 Equipment Cloud, the process doesn’t need to be time-consuming or cause an interruption to your operations. But if you determine that water is present in your oil, a vacuum dehydrator is an effective solution to remove it. Setup is fast and easy, and it comes with the benefit of good oil not going to waste.


Contact Us to Learn More About Vacuum Dehydrators

Let the Reliability 360 lubrication specialists show you how vacuum dehydrators are installed and preserve the life of your oil.