Sunday, 30 January 2011

4 Types of Oil Skimmers

Oil Skimmers are collecting thousands of gallons of crude oil an hour in the Gulf of Mexico. Even though oil skimmers are getting a lot of press in this massive cleanup effort, most of them are quietly and efficiently doing their jobs around the world.
The hard truth is that oil skimmers are not designed as a response to a spill like the one in the Gulf. They are designed to prevent oil from entering the rivers, streams, ponds and lakes.
If you need to clean up a sheen of oil on top of the water in your retention pond, or in any body of water, like around a marina, then oil skimmers will do the job for you just fine.
There are multiple types of skimmers and each one is designed for particular situations.
The tube oil skimmer can clean a large area of water and can actually be "sent out" to the oil sheen by extending the tube further into the water. The area which it can clean is only limited by the length of the tube.
The only problem with the tube oil skimmer is that it takes up a lot of space and makes the water the tube is floating on inaccessible to swimmers, boats and other pieces of equipment.
Another option is the belt skimmer. It uses a poly or stainless steel belt and works best in smaller contained areas such as tanks and small retention ponds where the water can be brought to the skimmer.
Belt skimmers cannot be expanded to have more pickup area like tube skimmers because the belt is vertical and only collects oil directly under it.
The next type of skimmer is a disk skimmer. Its compact and can really pick up a lot of oil fast because of the large surface that it uses to pick up oil.
Just like the belt skimmer, the disk skimmer only picks up oil that is on the water near the skimmer. The skimmer has to be brought to the oil or the water has to be circulated so the oil on the water can be picked up by the skimmer. The disk skimmer is best suited for clean up efforts such as the one going on in the Gulf.
The final type of skimmer is the roller or drum oil skimmer. This skimmer looks just like a drum in laying horizontally in the water. The oil sticks to the drum, is scraped off and pumped to a storage tank.
Just like the disk skimmer, the drum skimmer has to be taken to the oil or have the water moved to the drum. Drum skimmers work extremely well in cleaning up large oil spills on bodies of water.
For more information and details on choosing a skimmer that is right for your situation, visit my website.
Bret Mundt is a mechanical engineer and industrial contractor with more than 20 years of experience working in more than 120 different manufacturing plants around the United States. He understands what actually works and what doesn't work and has the unique ability to explain complicated technical things in simple, easy to understand English. He explains how oil skimmers work and how to choose the one that is best for your situation.