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Oil Skimmer Types

Supplier: Ultraspin

There are essentially 5 different types of oily water skimmers on the market. This page provides a brief description of each of them and described in general terms the advantages and disadvantages of each.

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Oil Skimmer Types

There are essentially 5 different types of oily water skimmers on the market. This page provides a brief description of each of them and described in general terms the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Self Adjusting Weir / Floating Skimmers

The Ultraspin skimmers fits into this class of skimmer. Similar to fixed weir types except that the skim height adjusts automatically.

There are a variety of mechanisms for the self-adjusting component ranging from very simple to very complex. We believe this class of skimmer is better for almost all applications. See how the Ultraspin skimmer works.

Advantages:

  • Low capital cost
  • Very easy to service and maintenance
  • Very low ownership cost
  • Self-adjusting - mo labour required for adjustments to optimise performance
  • Very easy to deployed
  • Very high oil removal rates

Disadvantages:

  • Oil collected can contain water %

Fixed Weir / Floating Skimmers

These units have a floating housing and a fixed weir.

The weir is typically a round dish and the height is adjusted up and down manually, often on a thread.

Often, floating weir skimmers, whether they are fixed ring or self-adjusting, will have come with the pump attached to the skimmer body rather than remotely located.

A disadvantages of this type is that the entire skimmer must be withdrawn from the pit in order to perform pump maintenance, and in the case of inaccessible or hazardous pits this can create OH&S issues.

Advantages:

  • Medium (with pump) to Low cost
  • Easily to deploy (without pump)
  • High oil removal rates
  • Able to "pull" oil from further distances on water surface

Disadvantages:

  • Skim height needs continual manual readjustment - operator time and money
  • Operator attention requirements may cause Occupational Health and Safety concerns
  • Affected by debris
  • Oil collected can contain high water %
  • Very difficult to service pump - if supplied

Rope or Mop Skimmers

These units have along rope (or mops) that float on the surface of the pit. The rope is pulled back to a housing unit where the oil is wrung out and collected in a tank. The rope is then sent back to the pit surface to collect more oil.

Advantages:

  • Collects relatively 'dry' oil (~50% water)
  • Generally not affected by debris in the pit.

Disadvantages:

  • Very slow oil removal rates
  • Only collects oil that sticks to rope. Note that many oil types do not stick to the rope
  • High operating and maintenance costs
  • Expensive to install (flameproof motor may be required)
  • Some units can drag oil into the water and cause re-emulsification

Belt Skimmers

This skimmer is similar to a rope skimmer, but a belt is used, typically 300mm (11.8 in) wide. The belt will wear out and require periodic replacement

Advantages:

  • Can collect relatively 'dry' oil (~50% water)

Disadvantages:

  • Very slow oil skim rate
  • Only collects oil that sticks to the belt. Note that many oil types will not stick to the belt
  • High operating and maintenance cost
  • Expensive
  • Efficiency affected by debris
  • Not very effective at collecting oil if it does not float directly to the belt. That is it cannot pull' the oil be collected
  • Heavy and difficult to install
  • Some units can drag oil into the water and cause re-emulsification

Disc or Drum Skimmer

Rotating discs are used to attract oil. The collected oil is scraped off and the oil pumped to a collection tank. These units generally float on the surface of the water but larger installations may use fixed units.

A very similar design is the drum skimmer, which utilises a rotating drum rather than an array of discs.

Advantages:

  • Can collect relatively 'dry' oil (~50% water)

Disadvantages:

  • Very slow oil skim rate
  • Only collects oil that sticks to disc (i.e. many oil types don't stick to the disc)
  • High operating and maintenance costs
  • Capital cost is high - expensive
  • Efficiency and operation affected by debris
  • Not very effective at 'pulling' oil into collector
  • Some units can drag oil into the water and cause re-emulsification

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