Oil Skimmer Blog

6 Types of Oil Skimmers | Belt, Rope, Mop & More | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Jun 21, 2019 11:41:16 AM

For industrial oil skimming, there are six basic designs commonly used:

  1. Belt Skimmers
  2. Disk Skimmers
  3. Drum/Barrel Styles
  4. Mop Skimmers
  5. Tube Skimmers (Large and Mini)
  6. Floating Suction Skimmers

Belt Oil Skimmers

Belt-type oil skimmers use an endless belt of corrosion resistant steel or synthetic medium, which is lowered into the tank or vessel to be skimmed. The belt passes through resilient wiper blades where the oil is removed from both sides of the medium.

Belt machines provide a simple, dependable and cost-effective method for removing oil, grease and other hydrocarbons from water.

Disk Oil Skimmers

These oil skimmers rotate a disk-shaped medium through the liquid. Oil is wiped off and discharged into a collection container in a manner similar to belt oil skimmers. It is important to consider reach, the portion of the disk that actually gets immersed,

when looking at a disk oil skimmer. Less disk in the fluid means less oil removed. Obviously, fluctuating fluids can be a real problem for disk oil skimmers.

Drum/Barrel Styles

These are similar to the disk type, but use a rotating drum shaped medium. Compared to disk types, they are usually more rugged and have higher removal capacity. Depending on the design, these units can also be rendered ineffective by fluctuating fluid levels. Also, water pickup with this type of oil skimmer can be high.

Mop Oil Skimmers

These oil skimmers use an endless medium shaped like a rope and having mop-like tendrils that pick up the oil. As the medium leaves the liquid and enters the drive unit, it is pressed and wrung out with pinch rollers. For higher viscosity oils, the medium tends to mat down and lose effectiveness. A decant system is a must for these units, as water pickup can be very high. Also, replacement oil mops can be very expensive, so check prices on replacements before purchasing.

Tube Skimmers

Large Tube Skimmers

Tube oil skimmers use a floating plastic hose that snakes out over the surface of the liquid and is then drawn back through the drive unit where oil is removed. This design requires a relatively large amount of surface area for proper operation. This oil skimmer can skim from very shallow tanks. As a rule, the removal capacity is lower than belt, drum or mop type oil skimmers.

Mini Tube

Very similar to the large tube units, but use either a 3/16″ or a 5/16″ tube instead of 1″. The pickup rate varies from 1 quart/hour to 1.5 gph depending on the diameter of the tube. These tube skimmers are fairly compact, and can fit in tight spots. The better units will have the motor mounted underneath, to bring room required over the lip of the tank down to near zero. The 5/16″ diameter tube is preferable as it has a 1 gph removal capacity and enough stiffness to not drag on the housing and prematurely wipe off oil when being drawn into the unit.

Floating Suction Skimmers

These come in several forms, but all have a floating intake. They are most suitable for relatively thick layers of oil (1/4 inch or higher); otherwise, they tend to ingest large amounts of water. Some machines will actually emulsify oil due to churning as it passes through the suction pump. This type of oil skimmer requires a coalescing or at least a decanting unit to be at all effective. The standard drive on all units is an electric motor and gear reducer. Other drive types available.

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

Click below and download Abanaki's most detailed resource on our oil skimming equipment.

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, tote-it, tube skimmer, belt oil skimmer, disk skimmer, mop skimmer, floating suction skimmer, drum skimmer

How to Triple Machine Coolant Life With Oil Skimmers | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on May 31, 2019 8:30:00 AM

Why Coolant Goes Bad

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, oil concentrator, tote-it, belt oil skimmer

What is Oil Skimming? | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on May 29, 2019 9:02:51 AM

Although designs vary, all oil skimmers rely on specific gravity, surface tension and a moving medium to remove floating oil from a fluid’s surface.

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, belt materials, belt oil skimmer

Tramp Oil Collection: Coalescers vs Oil Skimmers | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Apr 26, 2019 10:00:00 AM

Multiple options exist for the collection of tramp oils. Two of the most common are oil skimmers and coalescers. Both offer unique advantages and disadvantages in certain applications.


Coalescers focus on collecting oil into larger droplets. Using a filter medium, the oil is gathered into one place and combines into a larger oil droplet, heightening the differing densities of oil and water. The oil then floats to the top of the coalescer, allowing removal by other means.

Coalescers have an advantage in specific coolant-related applications. Coalescers cover a bigger collection area than oil skimmers, speeding recovery and reducing need for moving the oil collection device.

Unlike oil skimmers, coalescers have no need for a collection container, preventing the potential for spillage. Abanaki's Oil Boss can also be hung from a metallic surface, preventing the floor space footprint of other coalescers and oil skimmers.

Oil Skimmers

Oil skimmers focus on removing tramp oils using oleophilic belts. These belts attract the tramp oils and drag them up to a trough where they are scraped off, removing them from the water or coolant. Different belts have different specialties, such as steel belts being suited for LNAPLs and tramp oils.  

Oil skimmers have an advantage in more varied conditions. Able to be used in high temperature applications where plastic coalescers might face pump failures, oil skimmers can withstand more extreme environments.

In addition, oil skimmers do not have to worry about pumps clogged by shavings or solid byproducts like coalescers might. Dirty oil can also go back into the sump in coalescers, while oil is completely removed by a oil skimmer. Oil skimmers also have more applications than coalescers, such as environmental remediation. 

For more information about our line of coalescers and oil skimmers, take a look at our product catalog using the button below, or contact us via phone at (440) 543-7400 or via e-mail at skimmers@abanaki.com.

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, belt materials, coolescer, belt oil skimmer, coalescers

The Next Generation in Oil Skimming | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Apr 23, 2019 10:01:57 AM

Dirty coolant often generates smoke, that all too familiar “rotten egg” smell, and bacterial issues that can become a health hazard to shop workers. Disposing of oil laden coolant is expensive and the continual maintenance needed to remove it can cut into production time. Unfortunately, conventional methods can be messy and require oil receptacles, like a small can, to sit next to the machine. Who wants to worry about tripping over an oil can in the middle of a busy day?

Abanaki's Oil Boss with “Constant Flow Facilitator”

Abanaki’s Oil Boss oil skimmer provides cost savings by removing unwanted tramp oil prolonging the life of the coolant. The patent-pending Oil Boss is designed for CNC machines offering passive tramp oil removal. This high-capacity-unit  constantly removes and discharges unwanted oil from the coolant. The unit uses a specially-designed “Constant Flow Facilitator” automatically discharging the tramp oil as it is collects on the coolant. The “Constant Flow Facilitator” eliminates the need to remove oil manually. 

Magni-Cling Technology Oil Skimmer

The revolutionary Oil Boss eliminated the mess and the clutter. The patent pending design allows the unit to cling on to the side, keeping the floor clean and clear. The Oil Boss comes equipped with Magni-Cling technology, which allows it to be hung from any metal surface in the shop. The magnetic backing allows for easy on/off portability, allowing you to clean all the sumps on site.

Oil Removing Process with Abanaki Oil Boss

Oil laden fluid is pumped up from the sump through the inlet valve of the Oil Boss. From there, the fluid passes through a media system, slowing the flow and allowing the oil to be filtered. The clean fluid passes through a second chamber and back to the sump below, leaving your tank with cleaner fluid in no time at all! The filtered oil can be easily discharged for clean and easy removal. In some instances, companies may be able to re-use the skimmed oil elsewhere or sell it for recycling, choosing to keep their part of the world cleaner. The Oil Boss is also reversible, which allows it to work within the layout of your shop without tubes and cords becoming tangled. The sleek design allows for simple, efficient, and clean oil removal.

Advantages of Abanaki Oil Boss

The Oil Boss is an innovative tool that keeps coolant free of oil and ultimately extends tool and coolant life. Additionally, it reduces expenses that would typically be used on maintenance and disposal.

  • No tubes, mops, disks, or belts or wear out. 
  • Magnetic base allows for installation anywhere in the shop
  • Complete reversibility
  • Lightweight and portable
  • Oil is easily collected
  • Requires no floor space
  • Easy to empty and clean
  • Minimal maintenance

 Get the brochure for more information on the money-saving design.

Oil Boss Brochure


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Topics: oil skimmers, oil boss oil skimmer, magini-cling technology

Oil Skimmers Help Steel Mills Save Money | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Mar 28, 2019 9:15:00 AM

There is likely no larger industrial meeting place for oil and water than a steel mill. Because of the massive amount of water that is needed for process cooling and descaling, and the similar quantity of hydraulic, lubricating, and cooling oils that are required in steel production, the adage that oil and water do not mix is put to the test and proven every day.

Oil contamination in steel mills process water

It can take between 10,000-75,000 gallons of water to produce one ton of steel, depending on the amount of recycled water that is used. Reusing water whenever possible is crucial to maintaining costs, and to be able to reuse water in the majority of steel mill processes it needs to be free of contamination, namely oil.

Tramp oils commonly contaminate steel mill process water and this can lead to a variety of problems. Water purity is obviously affected which means that the effectiveness of this water in its role as a coolant or lubricant is reduced. Additionally, water that is contaminated with oil cannot be discharged into a facility’s wastewater system, as this can potentially cause a hazard to the environment. Finally, the presence of some oils in water can provide an ideal media for bacteria growth that can present unsafe working conditions for workers. All of these factors contribute to a mill not being able to recycle water, which means increased production costs.

Abanaki Model 8 Oil Skimmer

What counter measures can be employed at a steel mill to limit or eliminate process water from becoming contaminated with oil? For one, the Abanaki Model 8 Belt Oil Skimmer is a dependable and effective means of removing oil from water and water-base solutions, such as those found in mills. Oil skimming makes use of the differences in specific gravity and surface tension between oil and water. These physical characteristics allow the belt skimmer to attract oil and other hydrocarbon liquids from the surface of the fluid.

Depending on the characteristics of the liquid, it is possible for the Model 8 to reduce oil content to less than five parts per million in water. It utilizes a continuous belt and wiper to remove up to 40 gallons of oil per hour from the fluid surface. The unit can be used as a pre-treatment before filtration, and in conjunction with coalescing systems. The versatility of the Model 8 allows it to be used in a wide array of applications in addition to steel mills, such as:

  • Wastewater sumps
  • Parts washers
  • Coolant systems
  • Heat treating fluids
  • Food processing plants
  • Parking lots, garages, and service facilities
  • Outdoor ponds, lakes, and basins
  • Underground tanks
  • Ships' bilges
  • Aircraft service areas and tarmac runoff
  • Truck, locomotive, and other mobile equipment washing facilities

Abanaki Model 8 Oil Skimmer Specifications

The Model 8 can be used in tanks with depths as shallow as one foot, or as deep as 100 feet, and is built to last. With the proper configuration it can handle liquid temperatures up to 212°F, and the pH of the fluid can range from 3 to 13. The skimmer drive includes an oil filled gear reducer with bronze gears and ball bearings. The motor, reducer, and powder coated finish of the housing give the Model 8 exceptionally long life, even under the harshest conditions.

For more information about the Model 8 or other Abanaki products, call your sales representative at (440) 543-7400, or simply click at the button below.

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Topics: oil belt skimmer, oil skimmers, belt skimmer, steel mill, steel mills, model 8

Don't Choose the Wrong Belt Material | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Mar 25, 2019 1:15:14 PM


Selecting the right belt material is just as important as selecting the right skimmer. Choose the wrong belt and the skimmer will not work correctly. Things like pH, temperature, and oil type are crucial considerations.

Purpose of Oil Skimmer Belts

Selecting the right belt material is just as important as selecting the right skimmer. You might choose the right skimmer but the wrong belt type and the skimmer will not work correctly to solve your oil in water problem. It is crucial that things like pH, temperature, and oil type are considered when selecting a skimmer AND a belt type.

A belt is to a skimmer like wheels to a car’s chassis: although the latter is the most identifiable part, it needs the former to actually run. Just like tires, belts are not one size fits all. Just as there are snow tires, street tires, year-round tires, and more, so too are there a variety of belt materials. So, what purpose does each serve?

Different Kind of Oil Skimmer Belt Materials

There is a great deal of variance in applications where belt oil skimmers are present. Figuring out what would be the best belt material for your belt skimmer will depend on a few factors. For the most part, belts pick up the oil in the same fashion so the big difference is finding what will give you the longest operating life.


Steel Belts

Steel belts are the standard for many applications. Their durability, corrosion resistance, and strong oleophilic tendencies make the material effective in most scenarios. The lower price and ease of welding also reduce costs. The biggest caveat is their ineffectiveness when confronted with rust inhibitors in wash water. Steel belts are also ineffective in most applications where Petro-Xtractors are used.

Elastomer Belts

Elastomer belts are an alternative to steel belts that perform well in a multitude of situations. These belts can handle some of the harshest, most abrasive conditions a skimmer can be placed in and are fully compatible with the Petro-Xtractor. Still, steel belts will not stretch when exposed to UV rays over a long period of time.

Polymer (Poly) Belts

Polymer belts, commonly shortened to poly belts, are meant for higher temperatures and conditions where UV exposure and rust inhibitors are an issue. The textured nature of the poly belts causes more oil than usual to be picked up. This option tends to be pricier, but works like a charm in intense functions.

Fuzzy Belts

This video demonstrates how choosing the right belt material makes all of the difference. The Fuzzy belt does a better job at picking up the hydrocarbon than the standard belt on the right. 

LFO belts, commonly referred to as Fuzzy belts, are a proprietary skimmer belt exclusive to Abanaki. This material specializes in the rapid removal of light, non-viscous hydrocarbons from water.  If your problem is an oil like gasoline, the Fuzzy belt will remove it much more efficiently than any other belt in normal conditions. The Fuzzy belts are also extremely resistant to stretching.

XP Polymer (Poly) Belts

XP polymer belts, commonly shortened to XP poly belts, are very similar to poly belts. The key difference comes in its texture and temperature resistance. The XP poly belt is better able to handle high temperatures, maxing out at 180ºF. The belt also has a smooth texture rather than the ridged design of the standard poly belt. Although this change means the XP poly belt will not pick up oil as quickly, the belt will function better than the standard poly belt in conditions that would wear away the ridged design.

More information can be found in the Abanaki Oil Skimmer Factbook or Abanaki Belt Selection Guidebook. It is best to call (440-543-7400) with details of the application and ask your Abanaki representative what will work best with your belt skimmer.

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, belt materials, belt oil skimmer

Abanaki Mighty-Mini Oil Skimmer Can Extend your Coolant Life and Save you Money

Posted by Tom Hobson on Feb 27, 2019 10:30:00 AM

Coolant skimmers typically don’t come attached to CNC machines when they are newly bought. This is because nobody wants to admit that the brand-new machine is eventually going to leak oil into the coolant. This looks good on paper, but there is a reason why so many coolant skimmers are bought annually. CNC machines are bound to have at least a small amount of oil leaking into the coolant at some point. The skimmer will remove this oil from the top of the coolant for disposal. Without some type of coolant skimmer, the coolant life will be dramatically decreased. These small coolant skimmers will save you money throughout the operational life of your CNC machine. 

Coolant skimmers can really help in extending the life of your costly coolant. Coolant skimmers help remove oils that leak from machines or parts to keep your coolant clean. By removing the oil with coolant skimmer, you can significantly increase the life of your coolant. 

So, is your product quality being affected by floating oil? Have you asked yourself how you remove oil from water effectively and efficiently?

One of the best coolant skimmers of Abanaki coolant maintenance line is Mighty Mini Oil Skimmer. It is a belt style skimmer that will remove the floating oil that is compromising your product quality, reducing your coolant life, and stinking up the shop. Putting an oil skimmer in your coolant tank will allow you to remove this oil from the top of your coolant 24 hours a day if needed or you can set the timer to turn on in 15-minute increments. A belt oil skimmer is easily maintained and the only consumables are the belt and wipers. We have been providing oil skimmers for years to machine shops and manufacturers across the globe and they have proven to be both reliable and cost-effective. The Mighty-Mini is a belt style coolant skimmer that is ideal for a wide variety of applications due to its stainless steel construction and its built in timer. This skimmer comes standard with a steel or Elastomer belt.


To find out more about Mighty-Mini Oil Skimmer, please contact our experts at 440-543-7400, or click the button below to get your Mighty-Mini Brochure.

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Topics: oil belt skimmer, oil skimmers, belt skimmer, mighty mini

Oil Skimming Deathmatch: Belt Skimmer vs. Tube Skimmer

Posted by Tom Hobson on Feb 25, 2019 9:54:42 AM

It’s the age old question; which is better? The belt skimmer or the tube skimmer for collecting floating surface oils from various applications? Some feel that belt skimmers work better because it takes up less space while still collecting oil from large surface areas. Other people feel that the tube skimmer works better because the tube covers more of the tank or pit’s surface. The fact is that both skimmers use the same principle of breaking the surface tension of the water to allow the oil to adhere to either the belt or the tube.

There are a lot of belt and tube oil skimmers out there, but how do you figure out which one will work best for your specific application? There are two things that should be looked at immediately. First, how many gallons per hour of oil are you looking to remove? Every skimmer model is rated for the gallons per hour that can be removed. The next thing to look at would be the dimensions of your tank. The different sizes of skimmers will be able to pull in oil from different distances. Even if you have a fairly low amount of oil, a smaller skimmer may not work if the surface area is too large.

You can make your own decision which is best by visiting www.abanaki.com . There is a full line of belt skimmers and tube skimmers to compare. Or, the best way to match up a proper skimmer to your exact application is to call your Abanaki sales representative @440-543-7400.


There is a skimming system for virtually any application.Fill out the form, and you will have immediate access to this guide.

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, oil viper, tote-it, tube skimmer

Oil Skimmers Enable Mines to Reuse Wash Water in Wash Bays

Posted by Tom Hobson on Jan 29, 2019 10:10:42 AM


Abanaki oil skimmers have been at work in mines around the world for decades. Typically located in remote areas, wastewater treatment facilities are often not available, so water must be reused onsite. Oil skimming cost-effectively removes oil from wash bays so that the water can either evaporate or can be reused.

When washing large equipment, diesel, oil, and grease, along with mud and debris get rinsed into a sump. Abanaki has three solutions that can be used in this situation: the Oil Grabber Model 4, Portable Tote-It, and the Oil Viper tube skimmer.

The Oil Grabber Model 4 is the most commonly used solution at mines. Its heavy-duty construction withstands the harsh environment inherent to the industry. Specially designed belts can collect all of the oil products present in the wash bay, and coupled with the optional Oil Concentrator, they effectively remove the oil without picking up much water.

The Portable Tote-It works well in smaller wash bays or in other parts of the mine where water and oil are present. As with the rest of Abanaki’s product line, it is available in stainless steel, which resists the strong chemicals that can be present at a mine. Two sizes are available based on belt width: 2″ and 4″.

Abanaki’s Oil Viper tube skimmer has a small footprint, but large recovery rate. The tube “snakes” around the pit and can collect oils and greases with ease. It works very well in shallow sumps or confined spaces.

Oil skimming can reduce the amount of labor needed to keep wash bays clean by mechanically removing the oil. Unlike socks or hand-held skimmers, Abanaki’s equipment is able to run continuously or on a timer to eliminate the need for manual labor. Wash bays are typically small and located near the mining pit and would not merit a large, expensive water filtration system. Oil skimmers are an economical way to remove the oil.

To find out which of our skimmers would suit your application the best, please contact our experts at 440-543-7400, or click the button below to get our Webinar: How to Successfully Implement Oil Skimmers

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Topics: oil skimmers, oil viper, model 4, tote-it, industrial Wastewater treatment, mines

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