Vacuum Pump Oil Temperature Control

Ideas for shop-rigged solutions to warm the oil in an outdoor vacuum pump at startup on cold days. September 3, 2010

Hi all. I am located west central Florida. We have a Northwood CNC with a Dekker Vacuum pump. Now the pump is located outside behind our building. It is under a rather large roof enclosure that covers it by 15 feet in any direction. It doesn't happen that often but sometimes it gets cold enough here that the pump will not run. It overheats soon after starting because (I believe) the oil's viscosity is thickened by the cold and does not circulate properly through the pump. We've been starting and stopping it before it gets to that auto shutdown temp. If you do this enough time eventually enough oil is warmed to begin proper circulation. But sometime it takes hours, which really cuts into our production time. In an attempt to aid this procedure, and from advice from Dekker, we've added a 100W light bulb above the valve and another under the reservoir oil tank, but it doesn't seem to help much. Does anyone have any suggestion that you might like to share?

Forum Responses
(CNC Forum)
From contributor R:
Did the pump manufacturer have any recommendations on using a lighter weight oil in the winter? This usually will take care of the problem.

From the original questioner:
I had the same thought, but they said that wasn't an option because once it heated to normal temperatures it would be too thin and cause other problems.

From contributor R:
Well how about option B. Up here in Minnesota some people use what is called an oil pan heater in the winter. Its magnetic so you just attach to your oil pan and plug in. Just unplug when itís time to go. Local auto parts store would be your source.

From contributor L:
Try wrapping an electric heat tape around the piping and the reservoir. We have a Dekker pump and we have the same problem when it gets cold. If you do not want to try this, we have also put a portable kerosene heater (salamander or turbo heater-whatever you want to call it) blowing on the piping and reservoir for about 30 minutes.

From contributor J:
We have a Dekker as well and have the same problems on cold mornings. We do like Contributor L does and have a torpedo kerosene heater blow on it. It takes about five minutes for the CNC to fully boot up. Usually by then it's okay to start unless it is really cold.