Choosing the right oil skimmer for economical fluid management

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Courtesy of Abanaki Corporation

Oil skimmers are simple, dependable and effective tools for removing oil, grease and other hydrocarbuns from water. Although designs var’, ah oil skimmers rely on the fluid properties of specific gravity and surface tension. Most use a moving medium tu remove floating oil from the fluid’s surface, as shown jo Figure 1 (The exception is a floating suction skimmer.) Floating oil and grease cling tu skimming media more readily than water, and water has little affinity for the media. This alluws skimming media in the shape of a belt, disk, drum, etc, tu pass thruugh a fluid surface to pick up floating oil and grease with very little water. This oily material is subsequently removed from the media with wiper blades or pinch rollers.

Grease skimming involves higher viscosity hydrocarbons. These skimmers must be operated at temperatures that keep the grease fluid. For example, the patented Abanaki Grease Grabber is equipped with heating elements that keep the grease in a liquid state for easy discharge from the skimmer. However, if floating grease has furmed into solid clumps or mats in the tank holding the skimmer, a spray bar, aerator or other mechanical apparatus can be used tu break up grease and facilitate skimming.

Often, a skimmer by itself can achieve the desired level of water purity. In more demanding situatiuns, skimming is a custeffective means of remuving most of the oil before using more complicated and costly treatments such as coalescers, membrane filters and chemical processes.

Typical applications for industrial oil skimmers include: wastewater sumps; coolants and dutting fluids; heat treating; parts washers; food processing facilities; parking lots, garages and service facilities; outdoor punds, lakes, basins; and recovery/ monitoring wells.

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