There are a few ways to get the liquid out of a drum:
You can use a pump. Some pumps are even made to mount straight onto the lid of the drum.
You can siphon the liquid out, if you can get the drum higher than where you want to put the liquid. And if you have the time.
You can turn the drum over. I used to do field service in chemical plants…some of them had drum handlers on fork trucks that could pick up and tilt the drum to pour the liquid out. Some of them pushed the drum over and simply let the liquid spill into a pit or below-grade sump.
But pumps break down. Siphoning is finicky and slow. I’m loath to knock the skills of the fork truck operator that can pour out a drum like a sommelier pours a fine wine. And I’ll never forget the first time I saw an operator half-roll/half-dance a drum to the edge of that pit and let the liquid dump as he dropped it precisely where he wanted it…however, even in the context of the inner recesses of a chemical plant, it was simple, but inelegant.
EXAIR has an engineered solution that preserves the simplicity, though: the Reversible Drum Vac. Thread the standpipe into the bung connection and the RDV itself into the vent, and that drum is now a two-way pumping system, able to be emptied via a 10 foot long Vacuum Hose in as little as a minute and a half. Turn the knob on the RDV to switch modes, and you can fill that same drum just as fast.
The EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac Systems come with a variety of configurations and options:
Made to fit an existing 30, 55, or 110 closed top steel drum in good condition.
Mini Reversible Drum Vac System comes with a 5 gallon drum.
Deluxe Systems add a Drum Dolly and a set of tools.
Premium Systems add a drum (30, 55, or 110 gallon,) an upgrade to Heavy Duty Aluminum Tools, and a 20ft compressed air supply hose with shutoff valve and pressure gauge.
High Lift Reversible Drum Vacs generate a suction head of 180″H2O for maximum lift. They’re also specified for higher viscosity liquids.
Below is a great video that showcases just how easy it is to from installing the Reversible Drum Vac to using the Reversible Drum Vac and just how fast the RDV operates.
If you need to clean up spills, pump out a sump, or basically just move liquid from one place to another, the EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac is what you’re looking for. The Model 6196 Reversible Drum Vac System is all you need to turn a closed top steel drum into a powerful two-way pumping system. They’re reliable (no moving parts), durable (stainless steel construction), safe (no electricity), they install quickly, they’re compact, and portable. They’re also very low maintenance…in fact, if you supply the Reversible Drum Vac with clean air, it’ll run maintenance free, darn near indefinitely.
That’s not to say things can’t go wrong…Murphy’s Law still applies…but most anything that can go wrong with the EXAIR Reversible Drum Vac can be identified fairly easily, and remedied fairly quickly. Here’s a rundown of “the usual suspects:”
Vacuum leaks. Even small leaks can be a big problem…a crack or split in the hose, a worn hose cuff, a damaged seal, even a hairline crack in the drum or lid…if air can enter anywhere other than the suction end of the hose, vacuum performance can suffer. The first thing to do in most any troubleshooting procedure is a visual inspection, and the Reversible Drum Vac is no exception. We stock the gaskets for the vacuum hose quick connect, as well as the drum lid seals.
Compressed air supply, part 1. There are some tight passages in the Venturi chamber inside the Reversible Drum Vac; this is how the vacuum is generated. Any contaminants such as dirt or rust can accumulate in these passages, hampering the ability to draw its rated vacuum levels.
Use of a Filter Separator (like our Model 9004 Automatic Drain Filter Separator) with a 5 micron particulate element is recommended. If the Reversible Drum Vac does get dirty inside, though, it can be cleaned pretty easily…here’s a video that walks you through the process:
Compressed air supply, part 2. The Reversible Drum Vac will produce rated performance when supplied with compressed air at 80psig. Make sure you can get enough air to it; if your supply line is too long and/or too small in diameter, you’ll get line loss…and poor performance. Use a 3/8″ ID compressed air hose, or a 1/2″ ID if it’s longer than about 10 feet, and avoid any restrictions like quick connect fittings.
Compressed air supply, part 3. If you want to fill the drum a little faster, you can increase the supply pressure to 100psig or so. Too high of a supply pressure can actually degrade vacuum performance, though. Excessive pressure can create enough flow to overwhelm the Venturi, hampering its ability to generate vacuum.
Safety Shutoff Valve Float. The Reversible Drum Vac provides overflow prevention via a plastic float that rises when the drum is full. This breaks the vacuum so that no more liquid can be pumped into a full drum. When the float rises, you’ll hear a change in pitch. If you hear this, and the drum isn’t full, remove the Reversible Drum Vac from the drum lid and turn it upside down/right side up a few times. The float should move freely, all the way from the bottom to the top of its chamber. If it doesn’t, remove it and make sure the float, o-ring, and the inside of the chamber are clean. Certain chemicals can cause the float and/or o-ring to swell, which will impede its free movement. If the body of the Reversible Drum Vac is damaged (pro tip: don’t drop it) that can also cause the float to hang up and not work properly.
Like I said, these are just the first things you want to look for, and it’s highly likely you’re going to solve the problem before you reach the end of this list. If your Reversible Drum Vac (or any EXAIR product) isn’t giving you the results you’re looking for, though, don’t hesitate to call an Application Engineer. Chances are, the vacuum unit is just fine and just needs a fresh gasket, a little cleanup, or a new drum. We want to make sure you get the most out of our products.
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I had the pleasure of talking with an operator in a power generating plant recently. A small sump, in a hard-to-access location, needed to be emptied periodically, or it would overflow and make a big mess. They didn’t have room for a “great big” (his words) 30 or 55 gallon drum, and it was difficult to use an electric shop vac because there wasn’t an outlet nearby (it’s a very humid location in the steam plant) so they had to rig an long extension cord through a doorway and down to the lower mezzanine.
They DO have compressed air available…in fact, there was an unused port on a manifold that supplied other pneumatic equipment, right next to the sump. He thought it sounded like an ideal application for the Mini Reversible Drum Vac.
There are some very good reasons to consider an EXAIR compressed air operated Industrial Housekeeping Product for liquid applications:
*Durability. No moving parts means nothing to wear or get damaged.
*Safety. No electricity means no dragging an energized cord through a wet area.
*Convenience. All you need is a supply of compressed air.
*Reliability. If you supply it with clean, dry air, it’ll run darn near indefinitely, maintenance free.
Depending on the needs of the application, we have different models to choose from:
Reversible Drum Vacs
If you’ve got a closed top steel drum that’s in good condition, look no further than the Reversible Drum Vac System. It comes with everything you need to turn that drum into a powerful, 2-way liquid pumping system. This is great if you just need to park the drum in one spot and suction out a sump or tank on a regular basis, using its 10 foot Vacuum Hose & Suction Wand. They’re in stock for your existing 30, 55, and 110 gallon drums. A 5 Gallon Mini Reversible Drum Vac System is also available; it includes the drum as well.
If you’d like a little mobility, and a way to clean up floor spills, then the Deluxe Reversible Drum Vac System might be what you’re looking for. It adds a Drum Dolly and our Spill Recovery Kit…it consists of a floor-length wand and a dual squeegee tool. It also comes with a set of plastic tools (crevice tool, small skimmer, and two 20″ extensions) and a Tool Holder with clips for the tools, and magnets to attach to the drum. We keep them in stock for your existing 30 and 55 gallon drums. It also comes in the 5 Gallon Deluxe Mini Reversible Drum Vac System(drum included.)
For a complete system, the Premium Reversible Drum Vac Systems have everything you need for most any liquid drum transfer job: they add a drum, lid & latch ring, as well as a compressed air supply hose & shutoff valve, and an upgrade to Heavy Duty Aluminum Tools. They’re available with 30, 55, or 110 gallon drums; in stock.
Any of the 30, 55, or 110 Gallon systems are also available with our High Lift Reversible Drum Vac. These provide for increased performance with more viscous liquids, and/or when the liquid needs to pumped from a depth of up to 15 feet. They are outfitted identically to the standard Reversible Drum Vac Systems, except they come with a 20 foot Vacuum Hose.
As versatile as the Reversible Drum Vacs are, we also incorporate them into another 2-way pumping system, designed to help you get maximum life and performance from machine tool coolant and cutting oils: The award-winning Chip Trapper Systems.
Powered by the Reversible Drum Vac, the Chip Trapper System draws the incoming liquid into the drum through a Filter Bag, which retains (or “traps”) any particulate as the drum fills with liquid. Then, the freshly filtered liquid can be immediately pumped back out, while the particulate remains in the bag. Once the bag is full, simply remove the drum lid, unhook the bag, empty it out, and return it to service. The Chip Trapper System comes with two Filter Bags, in fact, so you can clean one while you use the other. They are available, from stock, in 30, 55, and 110 gallon sizes. They are all three available in High Lift configuration as well, with a 20 foot Vacuum Hose.
I think we have all heard the mantra Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – a phrase that is thought to have originated back in 70’s when environmental protection became a governmental policy.
We at EXAIR can help your company follow this important principle and help to keep your costs down as well.
Reduce – Reduce the number of times you change out your coolant, reduce your wastewater. Our Reversible Drum VAcs and Chip Trappers help keep your coolant clean by providing a simple and effective method to remove and/or strain your coolant.
Also, remember this – they are VERY hard to break or ruin. If you have one of our liquid handling Reversible Drum Vacs or Chip Trapper units, and the performance isn’t quite as you remember it to be, give us a call. We can help to trouble shoot and narrow in on the root cause. Most of the time, it is a simple fix, such as a air leak or a change to the air supply system that has caused a drop in performance. If we have eliminated all of those possible causes, we can offer the RDVREFURB option. Simply send in your Reversible Drum Vac pump unit, and we will do a free evaluation. Then we’ll let you know what we find, and provide a quote for the repair. The repair typically involves a thorough cleaning, replacement of a few basic parts, and then setting and testing to original factory specification. Because the unit has no moving parts, there isn’t much that can break down or go wrong. Don’t throw away that unit, REDUCE the amount of waste you create.
Reuse – Maybe you have a Super Air Knife in storage that is not in use, and you come up with a need, but the Knife doesn’t quite match the application. We can provide new custom shim to change the air flow pattern. Perhaps you have a 24″ Super Air Knife, but the new application requires only 18″ of airflow. You can send the knife in and we can clean it up and install a new custom shim to provide the exact airflow pattern that meets your requirements. Or, we can send the new shim directly to you for your team to install. Don’t let the unused product lie around, REUSE it for another process or application.
Recycle – If for what ever reason a product has been deemed to be no-longer viable and cannot be reused, the time comes to dispose of it. We hope that you would take the time to recycle it properly. With materials of construction including brass, aluminum and type 303 and type 316 stainless steels, most EXAIR products can be RECYCLED as common metals and you may even get a little money back!
To discuss your processes and how an EXAIR Intelligent Compressed Air Product can provide a beneficial service, feel free to contact EXAIR and myself or one of our other Application Engineers can help you determine the best solution.
One of the greatest attributes of EXAIR products is their ability to stay in operation for years on end without any maintenance. With no moving parts to wear out, there really is little-to-no upkeep required. So, when we receive notice from a customer that an EXAIR product is not working properly, we most always seek to establish the pressure, volume, and quality of the compressed air supply. By examining these three variables, we can usually pinpoint the source of the performance discrepancy.
I had an exercise in this routine a few days ago with a Reversible Drum Vac (RDV). The RDV had arrived at EXAIR after the customer noticed a drop in performance. The RDV went from operating normally to gradually loosing strong vacuum when vacuuming liquids out of a coolant sump.
The end user and I discussed the air supply pressure, line size, and available volume of compressed air to operate the RDV which all seemed to be in order. Compressed air supply pressure was 80 PSIG, they were using the EXAIR supplied (properly sized for the product) compressed air hose, and the unit had functioned in this exact setup for some time, so we were confident in the ability of the compressed air system to supply adequate volume.
In most cases, when an RDV gradually loses vacuum, or experiences a change in performance without a change in application parameters, contaminants from the compressed air system can be found inside of the RDV. And, that is exactly what happened here.
I first tested the RDV for vacuum level and flow, both of which were low. When I disassembled the RDV I noticed what looked like rust on all surfaces which are in contact with the compressed air stream (photo above).
Then, I peered into the body of the drum vac and saw the root of the problem – dirt and rust from the compressed air system had accumulated within the RDV, restricting compressed air flow and causing the decay in performance.
After a quick cleaning of the RDV, performance was perfect and the RDV was ready to go back into operation. The end user and I discussed my findings along with proper air filtration to prevent a similar occurrence in the future. They were glad to know their RDV was in working order, and we were both glad to confirm the root cause. With a new filter separator installed at the compressed air line feeding this RDV, trouble-free and maintenance-free performance can be expected for a long time to come.
If you have a similar application need, or think an EXAIR solution may benefit your process, contact an EXAIR Application Engineer.