Oil Skimmer Blog

11 Characteristics that define Oil Skimming Application | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Oct 31, 2019 1:15:00 PM

Coolant fluidThere are several types of industrial oil skimmers. Choosing a unit best suited for an application will maximize oil removal while lowering maintenance and operating cost. You may define the application in terms of the following characteristics:

Operating Conditions

The performance and life of the pick-up medium, wiper blades, pulleys, etc. are affected by operating conditions. These include temperatures in and out of the liquid, the pH of the solution and the presence of solvents or other reactive chemicals.

Hazardous Materials

Applications involving flammable materials or explosive vapors require the use of explosion-proof (or air-driven) motors and controls.


All oil skimmers require floating oil to be in a liquid, free flowing state. If the oil congeals or solidifies at ambient temperatures, the reservoir and/or skimmer will require heaters to maintain fluid flow.

Removal Rate

Skimmer removal rates, expressed in gph, vary with oil viscosity. Typically, manufacturers rate skimmers using SAE 30 weight motor oil at 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius). It's wise to ask for test data, especially if your application involves a much different viscosity. oil skimmer

Skimmed Water Content

All oil skimmers pick up some water with the oil. Suction skimmers pick up more water than other types. High water content increases oil recycling and disposal costs. Generally, the ratio of water to oil decreases with thicker films of floating oil and slower moving pick-up media.

Residual Oil

A skimmer removes oil as long as it is present. Depending on oil influx rate and the skimmer's removal rate, residual oil in the water may be as low as a few parts per million.


In some plants mobile equipment service shops and at remediation sites, a portable oil skimmer can sometimes service multiple machines, sumps or wells.

Tank or Sump Characteristics

The location, shape and capacity of a tank or water impoundment are major factors in choosing the right skimmer. Also consider fluctuations in water level, turbulence and possible emulsions.tank or sump


Oil and water can emulsify when subjected to turbulence and other mechanical agitation. Avoid this by having water return to the tank below the liquid surface at as low a velocity as practical.


Tanks without nooks and crannies for oil to accumulate in are best. If you have an irregular shape, put the skimmer where the largest amount of oil accumulates.


Questions to ask about the physical location and characteristics of the tank and collection container: Does skimmed material need to be pumped from the skimmer to the container? Will skimmer access for periodic maintenance be a problem?

To learn more about oil skimmers, please contact our experts at 440-543-7400 or visit our website: www.abanaki.com

Abanaki has a new reference that can help you choose the right skimmer and the right size to ensure years of worry-free operation.

Abanaki Newsletter Summer 2019 P1

Click button below to access our “How to Successfully Implement Oil Skimmers” webinar to learn how to get the most out of your skimmer.

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, oil skimming, belt oil skimmer

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