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.
Grease skimming involves higher viscosity hydrocarbons. Oil skimmers must be equipped with heaters powerful enough to keep grease fluid for discharge. The patented Abanaki Grease Grabber® is fitted with heating elements to handle these applications.
If the floating grease has formed into solid clumps or mats, a spray bar, aerator or mechanical apparatus can be used to break up grease mats and facilitate removal.