Oil Skimmer Blog

The Scoop on Oil Skimmers | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Aug 23, 2019 10:39:01 AM

Oil skimmers are simple, dependable and effective tools for removing oil, grease and other hydrocarbons from water. They usually pay for themselves within a few months. In order to ensure the oil skimmer you choose is right for your operation, there are certain steps you can follow.

Understand the Basics

First, understand that while designs vary, all oil skimmers rely on the fluid properties of specific gravity and surface tension. Most use a moving medium to remove floating oil from the fluid's surface. Floating oil and grease cling to skimming media more readily than water. This allows media in the shape of a belt, disk, drum, etc. to pass through the fluid surface and pick up floating oil and grease while rejecting most of the water. The oily material is subsequently removed from the media with wiper blades or pinch rollers.

Ensure Your Application Applies

When properly selected and applied, oil skimmers are highly economical solutions for separating oil from water to allow its reuse or safe disposal. However, there are certain applications that can expect optimal results. Typical applications best suited for oil skimmers encompass wastewater sumps, coolants and cutting fluids, heat treating operations, parts washers, food processing facilities, parking lots, garages, service facilities, outdoor ponds/lakes/basins, recovery/monitoring wells, remediation processes, and many more.

Select by Application

There are several types of industrial oil skimmers. Choosing one best suited for your application will maximize oil removal while minimizing capital outlay and skimmer operating costs. You may define the application in terms of the following characteristics: operating Conditions, hazardous materials, temperature/viscosity, skimmed water content, residual oil, portability, tank or sump characteristics, size/design, shape, and location/installation.

Determine the Right Design

For industrial oil skimming, there are six basic designs commonly used in moving media skimmers. (Suction skimmers are excluded, as they are generally unsuitable except for relatively thick (1/4 inch) layers of oil; otherwise they tend to ingest large amounts of water.) In more demanding situations, skimming is a cost-effective means of removing most of the oil before using more complicated and costly treatments, such as coalescers, membrane filters and chemical processes.

Consider All the Options

All moving media skimmers use motors to move the belt, tube, disk, etc. While many are designed with standard, industrially rated, continuous-duty motors and also may use fully enclosed speed reducing drives, some can be specified with a number of motor options. Consider also any optional equipment that may be available with the skimmer you are evaluating. Accessories allow customized systems that can ease installation and optimize performance. Some of the more common options include: special drive components, mounting stands and adapters, shelters/ enclosures, controls/accessories, concentrator, and heaters.

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

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, oil skimming, belt oil skimmer, different oil skimmer industrial, industrial oil Skimmers, oil skimmers applications

How Exactly Does a Tramp Oil Skimmer Work? | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Jul 31, 2019 10:59:35 AM

An oil skimmer is a device that uses a belt, tube, or disk placed directly into the product containing oil. The belt, tube, or disk attracts the oil by breaking the surface tension of the water and then runs back to the machine to be wiped clean. If your skimmer is sized right, it will be able to pull the free-floating oil from anywhere in the tank or pit. Oil skimmers should be purchased more by size than by the volume of oil to ensure you are able to skim from the whole surface area.

What Size of Oil Skimmer You Should Purchase?

Oil skimmers operate with a very basic principle. That basic principle is the breaking of surface tension to attract oil to the belt or tube. Because of this design, it is critical to size the oil skimmer according to the surface area being skimmed rather than the amount of oil in the tank.

For example, you could have a tank or pit that measure 144 square feet but only contains 2-4 gallons of oil at any particular time. Sizing the oil skimmer according to 2-4 gallons versus the surface area would yield unproductive results. Yes, you may only have small amounts of oil, but if your oil skimmer is undersized, that oil skimmer will not have enough power to break the surface tension with enough force to bring oil from the other side of the tank.

Therefore, you could run the oil skimmer for days and never retrieve the oil from the far side of your collection point. Always take into account how large of an area you want to skim oil from when determining what oil skimmer will work best for your application.

Video: How To Tell What Skimmer You Need For Your Machine Coolant

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

There is a skimming system for virtually any application. Simply fill up the form to your right or click at the button to get your ultimate guide now.

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, oil skimming, belt oil skimmer, different oil skimmer industrial, industrial oil Skimmers, oil skimmers applications

Typical Applications for Industrial Oil Skimmers | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Jul 18, 2019 4:10:22 PM

Wastewater Sumps

Most manufacturing or processing facilities have water systems where waste oil collects in a central tank or sump. Skimming the floating oils with little water content can reduce the cost of disposal and lower the contingent liabilities of wastewater discharge.

Coolants and Cutting Fluids

Coolant fluidWhen machine coolants become contaminated with tramp oils, four things usually occur:

  • Coolant life is reduced.
  • Quality of machined parts is reduced.
  • In many cases, a smoke will begin to appear in the shop, causing irritation to the workers on the job.
  • The fluid takes on a “rotten egg” odor.

Oil skimmers that remove tramp oils solve these problems and typically pay for themselves within a few months.

Heat Treating

Quench oils that must be removed from heat treated parts can be captured for re-use or disposal. The results are lower quench oil costs, prolonged wash water life and lower disposal costs.

Parts Washers

Floating oils re-contaminate parts as they are removed from a wash tank. Oil skimmers can remove this oil. The benefits of using an oil skimmer are oil free parts and extended fluid life.

Food Processing FacilitiesFood Processing

Removal of vegetable oils, greases, and animal fats from a plant’s wastewater stream reduces the costs of processing and disposal.

Steel Mills/Scale Pits

Most steel mills have scale pits in which grease and heavy oils accumulate. In order to avoid fines from the government and expensive sand bed filters, steel mills must limit the amount of grease in wastewater discharged into the environment. Reclaimed grease and oil can be re-used or used as furnace fuel, avoiding sucker truck disposal costs.

Parking Lots, Garages and Service Facilities

Waste oil from leaks, spills and other sources must be retrieved from sumps before water can be discharged to storm or sanitary sewers.

Outdoor Ponds, Lakes, Basins, Etc.

outdoor pondWhere floating oils are present, oil skimmers provide inexpensive and effective removal, solving a serious environmental problem.

Recovery/Monitoring Wells

Removing oil, fuel and other hydrocarbon liquid from wells can be more cost-effective using a belt skimmer instead of a down well pump. Oil skimmers don’t have nearly the maintenance issues and can reach depths of 100 feet or more, removing product despite fluctuating water tables. Oil skimmers can handle very thick fluids effortlessly and some (like the Abanaki PetroXtractor®) can remove sinking DNAPL’s such as coal tar and creosote from water.

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

Find out which Abanaki oil skimmers are suitable for your application.

Click button below to access our “ 9 typical applications for industrial oil skimmers” whitepaper to get more information.

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, oil skimming, belt oil skimmer, different oil skimmer industrial, industrial oil Skimmers, oil skimmers applications

10 Tips of Effective Oil Skimming | Abanaki

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

Oil skimmers keep oil out of places it does not belong. Whether this means keeping oil out of coolant to extend tool life, or keeping oil out of wastewater so it isn’t discharged into the environment, a properly functioning skimmer can save you a lagoon full of dollars.

Oil Skimming White Paper

Because of skimmers’ relative simplicity, it can be easy to overlook important factors when selecting then operating a skimmer so that it can achieve maximum efficiency. Abanaki’s “Ten Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Oil Skimmer” provides essential guidance for skimmer selection and operation. Topics covered include:

  • Belt material and length selection
  • Proper positioning of the skimmer
  • Factors to consider when determining when the skimmer should operate to ensure peak performance

Download your whitepaper now. 

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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.

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

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

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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

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

Advantages of Using an Oil Skimmer in the Machining Industry

Posted by Tom Hobson on Nov 19, 2018 10:45:00 AM

Companies look for effective ways to remove oil from water or coolant to reduce costs and the liability of proper disposal. Another reason for removing the oil is a better work environment. Letting oil remain in the coolant tank allows anaerobic bacteria to grow. Anaerobic bacteria break down the components of coolant, causing it to need changing more frequently. Oil-laden coolant with a high anaerobic bacteria content has two other drawbacks as well. The first drawback is an unpleasant odor caused by the bacteria. The second drawback the smoke generated from the oil-laden coolant coming in contact with the operating cutting tool. One of the easiest ways to remove hydrocarbons from water or coolant is by using an oil skimmer. It is a low maintenance, easy to use tool for removing oil from water or coolant.

The use of an oil skimmer holds many benefits including:

Reduction of Disposal Costs: The cost of disposing oil laden coolant is more expensive than the disposing of oil.

Recycling Opportunities: 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.

Extend Coolant Life: Having oil free coolant can also extend its usefulness and effectiveness, reducing the expense on maintenance and coolant replacement.

Esthetic Benefits: Removing the oil from a machine coolant tank will cut down on the amount of smoke generated from the cutting tool coming into contact with oil laden coolant thereby creating a visibly cleaner workplace.

Extend Tool Life: Removing floating surface oils while aerating and refreshing coolant will extend tool life as well.

Avoid EPA Violations: Many machining and metal working shops turn to aqueous parts cleaning because of limits imposed by the EPA on the discharge of emissions and wastes.

Hygienic Benefits: Keeping coolant oxygenated and oil-free reduces the “rotten egg” odor and bacterial levels are lowered resulting in a cleaner work environment.

Abanaki Corporation manufactures a wide variety of oil skimmers to meet any size application. From a small coolant tank in a CNC lathe to a scale pit in a steel mill, Abanaki Corporation can supply a skimmer to do the job. We manufacture skimmers that can remove from 1 gallon per hour to 200 gallons per hour. We offer turnkey systems with a variety of motors, heat options, stands, and oil concentrators. Our skimmers are used on parts washers, in car washes, wells, steel mills, and any other industry where hydrocarbons need to be removed.

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 Oil Skimming Factbook.

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Topics: coolant, tube oil skimmer, oil skimmer, tubetastic, tote-it, coolant skimmer, mighty mini, belt oil skimmer, dirty coolant, disk skimmer, oil boss, oil boss oil skimmer, mighty disk

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