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Oil Skimmer Blog

The Scoop on Oil Skimmers: Ensure Your Application Applies | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Aug 26, 2020 11:30:00 AM

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

Wastewater sumps where removing floating hydrocarbons can reduce the cost of disposal and lower the contingent liabilities of wastewater discharge.

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.

Coolant and Cutting Fluids

Coolants and cutting fluids where skimming tramp oils extends coolant life, improves the quality of machined parts, reduces irritating smoke that forms during machining, lessens the chance of dermatitis and helps prevent the fluid from developing a "rotten egg" odor. 

Oil skimmers utilize the differing specific gravity between oil and coolant/water to remove tramp oils. A motor driven belt that is typically constructed of an oleophilic, or oil attractant material, is placed into a coolant sump or reservoir. As the belt moves through the coolant, it attracts tramp oils. The oil is scraped off by a wiper and deposited into a container.

Heat Treating

Heat treating operations where trench oils must be removed from heat-treated parts, and can be captured with a skimmer for re-use or disposal. This reduces oil purchases, prolongs wash water life and lowers disposal costs.

Parts Washers

Parts washers where removing floating oils from a wash tank prevents re-contamination of the parts as they are removed from the fluid and extends fluid life.

Industrial parts washers, paint lines, and machine shops all have a need to remove oil from water. Abanaki oil skimmers are trusted throughout the automotive industry to extend coolant life, reduce disposal costs, and avoid fines from municipal sewer districts.

Food Processing

Food processing facilities where the removal of vegetable oils, greases and animal fats from a plant's wastewater stream reduces processing and disposal costs.

Oil skimming is the most reliable and lowest cost method of removing food greases and oils from process wastewater. An oil skimmer uses the difference in specific gravity between oil and water, allowing the oil skimmer belt to attract frying oils, vegetable oils, greases, and animal fats as the belt passes through the surface of the water. The simple belt-and-motor approach is proven to operate unattended and reliably for decades with little maintenance.

Parking Lots, Garage and Service Facilities

Parking lots, garages and service facilities where 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 and Basins

Outdoor ponds, lakes and basins where floating oils are present, skimmers provide inexpensive and effective removal, solving a serious environmental problem.

Recovery/Monitoring Wells

Recovery/monitoring wells where a belt skimmer can be used instead of a down well pump to remove oil, fuel and other hydrocarbons. Generally, this is more cost-effective and reduces maintenance headaches. Skimmers can reach depths of 200 feet or more and remove floating products despite fluctuating water tables.

The PetroXtractor is a well oil skimmer that makes use of the differences in specific gravity and surface tension between oil and water. These physical characteristics allow the unit’s continuous belt to attract floating oil in the well. After picking up the oil, the belt travels over the head pulley on the drive unit and through tandem wiper blades. The oil is then scraped off both sides of the belt and discharged through a 1-1/4″ ID hose. The unique bearing-less design of the tail pulley (immersed in the well water) with its tethered frame allows it to perform three important functions: it keeps proper tension on the belt, prevents accidental loss down the well, and keeps the belt centered in the casing.

Remediation Processes

Remediation processes where skimmers can be used effectively in tandem with other means and reduce the overall cost and increase the speed of the cleanup. For example, when using bio-remediation techniques, skimmers can be used to first remove the bulk of the oil from the groundwater. Then more biological agents may be used to clean up the remaining contamination. The remaining oil will clean up faster, as there will be less of it.

Sometimes called pump-less groundwater remediation systems, oil skimming is the lowest cost way to remove hydrocarbon contamination from groundwater. Oil skimming alone may clean water to acceptable levels or be used as a pre-filter treatment. It is the most inexpensive way to remove LNAPLs or DNAPLs.


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


Oil Skimmers Get the Dirty Jobs Done

In the video, oil skimmer is shown removing spent lubricant from a collection tank in a steel production facility.  Due to the extreme heat resulting from the steel making process, lubricant used for conveyor bearings often leaks into the cooling water, creating a floating goop that can foul filters further upstream. 

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Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, oil skimming, coolant maintenance, coolant skimmer, belt oil skimmer, oil skimmers applications

The Scoop on Oil Skimmers: Consider All the Options | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Jul 29, 2020 10:00:00 AM

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. These may include:

  • Any common voltage or electrical requirement
  • Explosion proof
  • Drip proof
  • Tropicalized
  • Dirty conditions duty
  • Food service duty
  • Water wash-down duty

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. Tail Pulleys can help improve removal rates by stabilizing belt assemblies in the fluid. Yoke-and tether assemblies help prevent pulley loss due to human error or belt breakage.
  • Mounting Stands and Adapters. These include pre-engineered mounting stands for easier installation. Models also are available for pits, walls and free-standing units.
  • Shelters/ Enclosures. Reinforced poly-shelters and below-grade enclosures provide protection from the elements.
  • Controls/Accessories. A float switch and warning light can be used to monitor fluid level in the oil collection drum, which helps prevent overflow. Other options include a timer, control panel, variable speed drive and power packs. 
  • Concentrator. Generally, the ratio of water to oil decreases with thicker films of floating oil and slower moving pick-up media. A concentrator or decanter installed at the skimmer discharge port provides secondary oil/water separation that can reduce water content to nearly zero.
  • Heaters. Many skimmers can be ordered with heating devices to keep skimmed product fluid in cold environments.

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


How to Skim Oil from Coolant Using Tube Skimmer

tube oil skimmer can be used on machining centers with little or no access to the coolant sump from above. Plus, a tube oil skimmer can remove oil from chip conveyors or enclosed machining centers.

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

Is Oil Skimmer Maintenance Necessary? | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Feb 21, 2020 9:13:44 AM

If you’re not reclaiming your used oil than you are awarded no points, may not collect $200, or pass Go. If you are, you get all of the points. However, if you are doing this but NOT taking care of the equipment that is helping you reclaim that used oil, then you are just as much a part of the losing team.

Maintenance Needed?

Just like any piece of equipment; cars, computers, those 5-in-1 breakfast sandwich maker machines, all of them need tinkering and routine maintenance in order to keep the gears turning and the eggs fluffy. With that being said, oil skimmer maintenance is crucial in not only ensuring proper waste oil recovery, but overall success of your entire operation.

Over the years we have seen some troubling scenes. The things people do to oil skimmers…it is horrific. Years upon years of oil and incalculable layers of gunk encrusted all over the machine. Discharge valves clogged to the point where the skimmed content barely drips out. THE ORIGINAL BELT. For shame. All of you.

Quick Overview of How Oil Skimmers Work

If you’re not familiar with how oil skimmers work, here’s a quick overview: 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.

Floating oil and grease cling to skimming media more readily than water, and water has little affinity for the media. This allows skimming media in the shape of a belt, disk, drum, etc. to pass through a fluid surface to pick up floating oil and grease with very little water. This oily material is subsequently removed from the media with wiper blades or pinch rollers.

Oil skimmers are simple, dependable and effective tools for removing oil, grease and other hydrocarbons from water and coolants. Often, an oil skimmer by itself can achieve the desired level of water purity. In more demanding situations, oil 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.


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.

Watch Webinar

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

What is Tramp Oil? | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Jan 24, 2020 9:30:00 AM

Tramp oil is a term that describes any unwanted hydrocarbon-based substance that contaminates machine coolant. This issue occurs mostly metalworking and manufacturing industries. Tramp oils can lead to numerous problems that affect work environment safety, production efficiency, and the cost control abilities.

What causes Tramp Oil?

How do these hydrocarbon-based substances find their way into a coolant sump?

There are a few different avenues.

Machining centers employ various linear motion and rotary motion components such as bearings, slides, ball screws, and spindles that require lubrication to function efficiently. Over time, these lubricants can find their way to the machining center platform where they mix with cutting fluid or coolant.

Another source of contamination is from the materials being processed in the machining center. Most stock metals have a corrosion prevention coating which is typically oil based. If the oil based coating is not removed prior to machining, it will end up mixing with the coolant.

Problems Associated with Tramp Oils

Tramp oil contaminated coolant causes a variety of problems if not separated and removed.

First, the coolant’s performance ability suffers. This is because oil in coolant reduces the coolant fluid’s ability to reduce temperatures effectively. Any oil that is present in the cutting fluid will promote heat generated by the tool, which can shorten tool life considerably.

Another consequence of oil coming in contact with a hot cutting tool is smoke. At high temperatures, the oil can become hot enough to burn. This can create unsafe working conditions.

When left alone, tramp oils that settle in coolant become breeding grounds for anaerobic bacteria. The oil essentially prevents oxygen from mixing with the coolant, which can promote the growth of anaerobic bacteria. Workers who come in contact with these bacteria are susceptible to contact dermatitis. The bacteria can also generate hydrogen sulfide gas, which emits an unpleasant rotten egg odor.

Removal & Separation Solutions

There are two common methods for removing tramp oils from coolant. These are coalescers and oil skimmers.

Coalescers consolidate small oil particles into larger droplets. Filters or baffles are then gather larger droplets for removal. Coalescers are a good option for larger area applications as they have greater collection area than skimmers.

Skimmers utilize the differing specific gravities between oil and coolant/water to remove tramp oils. A motor driven belt that is typically constructed of an oleophilic, or oil attractant material, is placed into a coolant sump or reservoir. As the belt moves through the coolant, it attracts tramp oils. The oil is scraped off by a wiper and deposited into a container.


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.

Watch Webinar

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

Coolant Oil Skimmer With Benefits | Abanaki

Posted by Tom Hobson on Nov 18, 2019 10:30:00 AM

The use of an oil skimmer in the machine shop setting holds many benefits. Removing the oil from a machine coolant tank will initiate some esthetic benefits such as cutting down on the amount of smoke generated from the cutting tool coming into contact with oil laden coolant.

Bacteria Build-Up with “Rotten Egg” Smell

When a machine is shut down for the weekend, oil has a chance to come to the surface of the coolant tank. Bacteria that are living in the coolant tank use up the dissolved oxygen in the coolant mix, a process that is sped up by having a layer of oil on the surface. This allows odor causing anaerobic bacteria to thrive, giving off that familiar “rotten egg” smell.

Contrary to popular belief the common types of bacteria found in metalworking fluids do not cause dermatitis. However, if the skin is broken, bacteria that normally inhabit the skin may enter and cause infection. The presence of phosphates and carbonates that increase alkalinity in the coolant, however, can cause dermatitis. These impurities are found in the water being used in the coolant mix.

Cost-Saving with Coolant Oil Skimmer

Separating the oil from the coolant will also help reduce disposal costs. The cost of disposing of oil laden coolant is more expensive than disposing of oil. In fact, in some instances, companies may be able to re-use the oil elsewhere or sell it for recycling. Having oil free coolant can also extend its usefulness and effectiveness, reducing the expense on maintenance and coolant replacement. As the research on the different types of oil skimmers begins, a person will find that there are a variety of skimmers available to them. The most common types are the belt, disk, and tube skimmers. Each type of coolant skimmer has its advantages and disadvantages.

Other Factors to be Considered in Oil Skimming

There are also many factors that need to be considered when choosing the correct type of oil skimmer to fit the appropriate application. Factors such as water level fluctuation, water temperature, pH level, the use of rust inhibitors, the amount of oil to be skimmed, quality, and cost, must all be considered when selecting an oil skimmer.

The use of rust inhibitors, high temperatures, and variable pH levels can affect the skimmers ability to pick up oil. Most skimmer manufacturers use a variety of materials for the skimming medium such as plastic, stainless steel, or poly blends to match the solution in which they will be used.

There are a multitude of oil skimmers on the market today. One of the most important things to be considered is the quality of the unit to be purchased. Points of interest should include construction materials, motor design, and the type of warranty that is offered. Is the skimmer housing made of metal or plastic? Is the motor fan-cooled? Does the motor use needle bearings or bronze bearings? How long does the warranty last and what does it cover? Most oil skimmers will perform as advertised, but remember the old adage that “you get what you pay for”.


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.

Watch Webinar

Read More

Topics: oil skimmers, belt skimmer, oil skimming, coolant maintenance, coolant skimmer, 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.

Get Your 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

How Do I Remove Oil from Coolant or Water

Posted by Tom Hobson on Nov 14, 2018 10:15:00 AM

It is a common question asked every day by people in all fields of industry. Machine shops, steel mills, industrial manufacturers, and many others are faced with the problem of removing oils from coolants and wastewater on an everyday basis. They are faced with high disposal and maintenance costs. Some manufacturers are charged extreme amounts to have their contaminated water treated properly by their local water treatment facility.

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 a belt oil skimmer. It is a low maintenance, easy to use tool for removing oil from water or coolant.

Belt oil skimmers work because of the differences in specific gravity between oil and water. Water has a specific gravity of one. Most oils have a specific gravity of less than one. Because of these differences, oil floats to the top of the water where it can be removed. A belt oil skimmer uses oil oleophilic material, (usually made of stainless steel or plastic), in the form of a belt to break the surface tension of the water to attract
and collect the floating oil. The belt passes through a set of wiper blades via a motorized head pulley where the oil is wiped off both sides of the belt. The oil then flows through the skimmer troughs and into a proper disposal container. Because the belt materials used do not attract water, very little coolant or water is picked up.

Some of the advantages of using a belt oil skimmer over other methods to remove oil are the lower initial cost compared to coalescers and other filtration systems, low maintenance, no filters to change, and no mess involved as with absorbent booms or pads. With an oil skimmer, virtually the only required maintenance is replacing a belt and wiper blade set as needed. Next, Abanaki skimmers require very little operating space, usually with no modification to the tank. Finally, our oil skimmers have pick-up rates of up to 200 gph with minimal water or coolant content. Other forms of oil removal cannot perform as well.

There are many instances where companies have turned their disposal costs into income. By using an Abanaki oil skimmer to remove oil from the coolant, one company was able to sell its used oil to be recycled instead of being charged to have the oil-contaminated coolant disposed of. Another money saving benefit was an extended coolant life resulting in lower coolant and maintenance costs. Because of this, the Abanaki oil skimmer paid for itself in a short period of time.

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 Coolant Guide Book.

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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

Oil Boss Oil Skimmer Debuts at IMTP 2018 in Manila, Philippines

Posted by Tom Hobson on Oct 30, 2018 3:45:00 PM

Abanaki is proud to announce that our technology partner in the Philippines, Resource One/Fluid Solutions, exhibited at the International Metalworking Philippines (IMTP2018) Show, held in Manila in August of this year. The show, which is backed by associations based in industries such as die and mold making, aerospace, and automotive parts manufacturing, saw participation from companies located in eleven different countries. 

With the manufacturing sector seeing tremendous growth recently in the Philippines, IMTP2018 provided an excellent venue for vendors and manufacturers to establish new relationships. This was certainly the case for the representatives from Resource One/Fluid Solutions, who source the best and most appropriate lubricating technologies and coolant maintenance equipment for the most demanding applications in metalworking, as they were able to showcase some bright new stars in their product line. 

One such piece of equipment is the Abanaki Oil Boss Oil Skimmer, a new addition to the Abanaki coolant maintenance range. The Oil Boss is designed for use with machining centers, namely keeping tool coolant free of tramp oil, which is imperative for extending coolant life and reducing bacterial growth in coolant sumps. These units are small but robust, with an effective magnetic mounting system that allows the unit to be located for easy access. The magnetic mounting base also makes these units portable, so they can be moved from machine to machine as needed. This versatility makes the Oil Boss uniquely capable of conquering your shop’s coolant cleaning demands.

To learn more about the Oil Boss, please contact Abanaki Corporation at 440-543-7400 to find their solution or click the button below to get our Oil Boss Oil Skimmer brochure.

Oil Boss Brochure

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Topics: coolant, coolant maintenance, oil skimmer, coolant skimmer, oil boss, oil boss oil skimmer, cut coolant cost, magnetic plate

The Oil Boss is here!

Posted by Tom Hobson on Jun 24, 2016 4:12:33 PM

Abanaki Corporation, the world leader in oil skimming technologies, announces the addition of the Oil Boss® Oil Skimmer to its extensive coolant maintenance product line. The Oil Boss solves problems that have plagued regular skimmers in machine shops.

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Topics: coolant, oil, machine shop, coolant maintenance, oil skimmer, cnc machine, coolant skimmer, oil boss

Increase Your Coolant Tube Skimmer's Efficiency

Posted by Tom Hobson on Aug 28, 2015 10:06:21 AM

Under most operating conditions, Abanaki’s TubeTastic! picks up oil with only small traces of water or coolant. However, as surface oil is reduced to a thin layer (1/16 inch thick or less), more water (or coolant) may be picked up along with the oil. When used in tandem with the TubeTastic, the Oil Concentrator solves this problem by providing final phase separation. The result is water (or coolant) available for recycling, and virtually water-free oil for disposal.

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Topics: coolant, coolant skimmer, tube skimmer, oil separator

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