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Types of Oil Skimmers
Following is a basic breakdown of what each type oil skimmer can do and it’s peculiarities.
Floating drum skimmer: these sit right in the water — and are very well engineered, rugged heavy duty skimmers in sizes that start off weighing about 100 lbs. (with hose) and can skim from 20 to over 100 gallons per minute when they are in heavy oil. This is the tool of choice for heavy skimming. Dimensions from 2 x 3' to 3 x 8'. Can even have an on-board pump. These will move a LOT of oil fast. Air drive motors work pretty well but are a bit funky in the winter with potential for air lines freezing up, BUT the hydraulic drive systems are Bullet-Proof and very powerful — will actually pull a whole pond’s worth of oil right into the skimmer. Of course, the hydraulics cost more, but oh do they work GREAT! Entry level $5K. A variety of pumps could be used to pump the oil from the sump. Call us — we do this! We can furnish it as a whole system, with pump and hoses, etc.
Floating disc skimmer — same as the drum but not as rugged. Steel industry entry level $7K.
Belt skimmers: These are fixed and mounted in one location — and work pretty well when the oil is touching the belt, BUT no touch, no skim! They lift the oil from the surface to the wipe-off blades/scraper. Then the oil flows by gravity to some type of receptacle for transfer to? If you have to lift the oil very high, it has a tendency to want to run back down the belt before it gets to the top. And so it goes. But, eventually you do get the oil. Belt sizes from 1-8" wide and lengths to 100' ft. available with multiple heads (belts) with recovery rates to 50 GPH or more. Electric powered usually. Very reliable equipment — the belt is the consumable item here. Steel industry entry level $3-4K for low flow to 20 GPH.
Rope mop wringer: These are fixed and mounted in one location — except these can be set up with a vertical-to-horizontal pulley system to reach across an area like a scale pit and pull oil from the other side (also fixed). The mop looks like a squirrel tail with lots of little hairs, which mean a lot of surface area. It will pick up a lot of oil but is probably fragile when there are a lot of abrasive solids in the oil. Reliable equipment, steel industry entry level probably $5K — but the consumable mop and pulleys are fairly costly.
Tube skimmer: These are fixed and mounted in one spot but can be on a boom arm to reach out and grab oil. They have relatively little surface area, and if you’re lifting high, the oil wants to run down the hose/tube. But, eventually you do get it. Snakes a tube down onto the water surface where it attracts oil to it. Reliable equipment. Electric drive. Low flow — to maybe 60 GPH. Steel industry entry level $5K.
Floating weir skimmer: free floating where you want it — connected to a hose connected to a pump on shoreside. Works great with a vac truck or AOD pump or hose pump but does give you a LOT of water to deal with. Very portable. Flow rates from 10-300 GPM. Steel industry entry level $3K. You could take this skimmed product and run it into a separator or tank, and decant water back to pit/tank? We can set you up with a pump, hoses — the whole works — as a whole system. From briefcase size to 3' square — with up to a 4" outlet.
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