Hey! This site is reader-supported and we earn commissions if you purchase products from retailers after clicking on a link from our site.

A vacuum is a utility used in a wide variety of industrial manufacturing processes for creating, improving, and maintaining a vacuum. Some of these processes include bottling, packaging, drying, to name a few.

This article will explore the various types of industrial vacuum pumps and technologies, what types of applications they’re suited to, and a list of the most popular manufacturers in the United States.

Table of Contents

What Are Industrial Vacuum Pumps?

You will know what a regular vacuum is already, as you push one around your house to pick up dirt from the floor, and it may be hard to imagine where else vacuums are used. Well, an industrial vacuum pump is used for creating, improving, and maintaining a vacuum in many manufacturing processes.

Think about the yogurt in your fridge, or the most recent can of soda you had, little did you know that the vacuum was used to make the packaging of the yogurt and ensure it is kept fresh, while also being used in the process of making the soda can!

Industrial vacuum pumps are vital in so many operations, it would be difficult to find an industry that isn’t using industrial vacuum pumps in some way. They keep our food fresh and enhance our lives on a day-to-day basis. Not only that but they simplify, accelerate, and lower the costs of manufacturing in many cases.

How Do Industrial Vacuum Pumps Work?

Industrial vacuum pumps are machines used to remove gas molecules from a sealed volume in order to create a partial vacuum. So, industrial vacuum pumps are a type of pump that is used to create a vacuum. They are used to pull out air and other gases from a sealed confined space.

The basic operating principle of an industrial vacuum pump system will remain the same no matter the technology type (which we’ll get into shortly).

Industrial vacuum pump systems are designed to remove air molecules and other gases from the vacuum chamber, or the outlet side in the case of a higher industrial vacuum pump system connected in series. As the pressure in the chamber is reduced by the industrial vacuum pump system, removing additional molecules becomes increasingly harder to remove.

Therefore, an industrial vacuum system must be able to operate over a portion of an extraordinarily large pressure range, typically varying from 1 to 10-6 Torr / 1.3 to 13.3 bar of pressure.

In some cases, where pressure is extraordinarily large, to accomplish a successful vacuum, it may be necessary for different types of pumps to be used in a standard industrial vacuum system, each covering a proportion of the pressure range, and operating in series at times.

Types of Industrial Vacuum Pumps

When it first comes to the different types of industrial vacuum pumps, it’s important to have knowledge of the two basic categories:

  • Entrapment Pump
  • Gas Transfer Pump

Let’s take a look at each in more detail!

Entrapment Pump

Entrapment pumps are able to capture gas molecules on surfaces within the industrial vacuum system, hence their name. These pumps are designed to operate at lower flow rates than gas transfer pumps, however, they are able to provide an extremely high vacuum.

Entrapment pumps, also referred to as capture pumps, operate using cryogenic condensation, ionic reaction, or chemical reactions and have no moving parts, enabling them to operate oil-free.

The chemical reaction versions of entrapment pumps are probably the most effective because they tend to be placed inside the container where the vacuum is required. A chemical reaction is caused by the internal surfaces of the pumps as it operates, causing air molecules to create a thin film which is then removed.

Gas Transfer Pump

Gas transfer pumps can be either kinetic or positive displacement. Kinetic transfer pumps use high-speed blades or introduced vapor to direct gas towards the outlet while working on the principle of momentum transfer. These types of gas transfer pumps are able to achieve high compression ratios at low pressures but typically don’t have sealed volumes.

Positive displacement pumps work by mechanically trapping a volume of gas and moving it through the pump. These pumps will often be designed in multiple stages on a single drive shaft, then the isolated volume is compressed to a smaller volume at higher pressures before expelling the air to the atmosphere or another pump.

Positive displacement vacuum pumps are used to create low vacuums. They expand a cavity and allow the gases to flow out of the sealed chamber. After this, the cavity is sealed and exhausted into the atmosphere. The principle behind the positive displacement vacuum pump is to create a vacuum by expanding the volume of a container.

Wet vs Dry Industrial Vacuum Pumps

Another common way to distinguish between the different types of industrial vacuum pumps available is whether they are wet (typically hydraulic) or dry (typically pneumatic).

Wet industrial vacuum pumps use a sealing liquid within the compression chamber for different reasons, whether that’s lubrication, oil, or sealing. The sealing liquid is typically oil or water. On the other hand, dry industrial vacuum pumps have a dry compression chamber where no sealing liquid is used to aid in the compression process, thereby eliminating any chance of contamination.

Dry industrial vacuum pumps may not be completely oil-free however, as they use oil or grease for the pump gears and bearings. This is kept separate from the vacuum compression side, of course, to help reduce the risk of contamination or oil mist. These types of industrial vacuum pumps also offer environmental benefits in that they don’t require the disposal of oils like lubricated pumps will.

Industrial Vacuum Pump Technologies

Now we understand wet and dry industrial vacuum pumps, this brings us to the various technologies used in the design of industrial vacuum pumps, with the most commonly found being:

  • Industrial centrifugal vacuum pumps
  • Industrial rotary vane vacuum pumps
  • Industrial rotary screw vacuum pumps
  • Industrial liquid ring vacuum pumps
  • Industrial rotary claw vacuum pumps

Let’s take a look at each in more detail!

Industrial Centrifugal Vacuum Pumps

Industrial centrifugal vacuum pumps are hydraulically operated machines characterized by their ability to transmit energy to fluids (liquids) through the work of a field of centrifugal forces. An increase in pressure within these pumps causes the transfer of fluid.

Though you will be able to find different styles of these pumps, they will always have the same operating principle and fluid dynamic characteristics.

Industrial Rotary Vane Vacuum Pumps

Industrial rotary vane vacuum pumps consist of a pump housing with sliding vanes mounted in a spinning rotor within it. The rotor is slightly offset, which allows for various pockets sizes between the housing and the rotor. The pockets reduce in size as they travel from the inlet side of the pump to the discharge side, which creates the vacuum of gas from the connected chamber.

Industrial Rotary Screw Vacuum Pumps

An industrial rotary screw vacuum pump typically consists of two parallel and screw-shaped rotors, one with a left-hand thread and the other with a right-hand thread. Both of these screws are synchronized via a precision gear, and they turn without any friction, at very tight clearances.

The special shape of these screws and the compression housing form the compression chambers. Due to the opposite rotation of both screws, the chamber connected with the suction port is enlarged and the gas is transported into the compression chamber. After this, the chamber moves axially from the suction side to the pressure side.

Some advantages of this technology are reduced heat load, smoother operation, greater efficiency, and more turn-down capability.

Industrial Liquid Ring Vacuum Pumps

Industrial liquid ring vacuum pumps require a sealed liquid in order for them to function; the most common liquid is water. These pumps are quite similar to a rotary vane pump, with the key difference being that the vanes are an integral part of the rotor and churn a rotating ring of liquid to form the compression to chamber seal. 

Industrial liquid ring vacuum pumps have an eccentrically installed impeller that rotates in the casing partly filled with liquid. By the rotational movement of the impeller, centrifugal force throws the liquid outward.

Gas is trapped in the spaces between the liquid ring and the impeller vanes.  Due to the impeller’s eccentric installation, these spaces enlarge, and the process gas is sucked in through the inlet port.  The spaces shrink as the impeller rotates and so, the gas gets compressed and discharged through the discharge port.

Industrial Rotary Claw Vacuum Pumps

Industrial rotary claw vacuum pumps consist of two claw-shaped rotors that are turned in opposite directions inside a housing. The interlocking shape of the rotors makes it possible for the air or gas to be drawn in at a large volume, compressed, and then discharged.  

Industrial rotary Claw vacuum pumps generate contact-free vacuum efficiently and economically. This is made possible because of the principle of internal compression within the rotary claw design. They are typically based on static compression systems.

Due to the tight clearances involved in these designs, the pumps do not require liquid to seal and lubricate the vacuum pump, and so, they’re dry pumps.  This makes the industrial rotary claw vacuum pump extremely robust and capable of withstanding harsh operating conditions.

Industrial Vacuum Pump Applications

Industrial vacuum pumps are used in a wide variety of applications, more than you may be aware of. The top industries or processes that they can be found supporting include:

  • Woodworking
  • Food processing
  • Solar processes
  • Research and development
  • Food packaging


Industrial vacuums play an important role in helping with jobs like clamping, laminating and veneering, drying, as well as handling and lifting within the woodworking environment.

Food Processing

Industrial vacuum pumps are widely used in food processing, these processes include all the transformation steps of raw ingredients into food or of food into other forms. The processing typically takes clean, harvested crops or butchered animal products and uses these to produce attractive, marketable, and often long-shelf-life food products.

Similar processes are used to produce animal feed. Without the use of industrial vacuum pumps, it would be very difficult to keep these products clean.

Solar Processes

Industrial vacuum pumps are commonly found being used in solar processes, from silicon crystal pulling to the production of solar cells to the lamination of solar modules. These manufacturing processes are not possible without the use of industrial vacuum pumps.

Research and Development

vacuum technology plays an important role in many research fields such as high energy physics, space research, and material sciences.

Food Packaging

Industrial vacuum pumps are used to remove oxygen from the container to help extend the shelf life of foods. With flexible package forms, they help to reduce the volume of the contents and package. It’s possible to limit the growth of aerobic bacteria and extend the shelf life by reducing the oxygen residual contents. In some cases, it may be possible to extend the shelf life by a factor of 5 to 10.

In addition to this, industrial vacuum pumps can help to prevent the evaporation of volatile components within the packaging. They can protect the flavor and texture and reduce freezer burn by protecting the food from the dry cold air.

Industrial Vacuum Pump Manufacturers

Some notable leading manufacturers of industrial vacuum pumps and industrial vacuum pump rental across the United States include:

  • Delfin Industrial Vacuums
  • AR North America
  • Schmalz Inc.
  • A&J Vacuum Services, Inc.

Industrial vacuum pump price will vary depending on the pressure range of the design, and its purpose. Typically the industrial vacuum pump price will be justified by the length of service you gain from the product.

Delfin Industrial Vacuums

Delfin Industrial Vacuums are an industrial vacuum pump supplier and have been a leader for over twenty-five years. They offer a wonderful array of products including industrial vacuum pump filters.


Delfin Industrial Vacuums
2010 E Center Circle, Bldg C
Suite 300
Plymouth, MN 55441



AR North America

Since 1958, AR North America is an industrial vacuum pump supplier that has made a complete range of high-pressure pumps and accessories, as well as Mono-Block motor/pump combinations for the car wash market. For almost 6 decades they have been one of the leading manufactures in the pump industry. When looking for manufacture to meet your industrial vacuum pump needs, look for leading manufacture AR North America.


AR North America
140–81st st NE
Fridley, MN 55432 



Schmalz Inc.

Schmalz is a manufacturer of industrial vacuum pumps for a variety of industries and applications. As an industrial vacuum pump supplier, they have provided many different companies with quality industrial vacuum pumps.


Schmalz Inc.
5850 Oak Forest Drive
Raleigh, NC 27609 



A&J Vacuum Services, Inc.

A & J Vacuum Services specializes in the repair, service & sales of Pfeiffer-Balzers & all major brands of turbomolecular pumps & high vacuum systems. They are dedicated to the highest quality of service, providing wet and dry industrial vacuum pumps, and more.


A&J Vacuum Services, Inc.
16 Somerset Place
Clifton, NJ 07012 



Gardner Denver Nash LLC

Try the ultimate in vacuum pump technology: Gardner Denver Nash. We have been making premier liquid ring vacuum pumps since our inception and we are dedicated to quality. Other products include liquid ring compressors, steam jet ejectors, and aftermarket services. 


Gardner Denver Nash LLC
16 Somerset Place
Clifton, NJ 07012 



FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is an industrial vacuum pump?

You will know what a regular vacuum is already, as you push one around your house to pick up dirt from the floor. Well, an industrial vacuum pump is used for creating, improving, and maintaining a vacuum in many manufacturing processes. For example, industrial vacuum pumps are not only used to make the packaging of yogurt and ensure it is kept fresh but are also being used in the process of making a soda can.

What are the different types of vacuum pumps?

There are many different types of vacuum pumps, sometimes they are divided by whether they are entrapment or gas transfer pumps, along with being either wet or dry. The most commonly found vacuum pumps are: centrifugal vacuum pumps, rotary vane vacuum pumps, rotary screw vacuum pumps, liquid ring vacuum pumps, and
rotary claw vacuum pumps.

How does an industrial vacuum system work?

Though there are many different types of industrial vacuum pumps, the basic operating principle of an industrial vacuum pump system will remain the same no matter the type. Industrial vacuum pumps are machines designed to remove gas molecules from a sealed volume in order to create a vacuum. They are a type of pump that is used to create a vacuum by pulling out air and other gases from said sealed space.

Which type of vacuum pump is best?

It’s hard to say which type is BEST, as all serve different purposes. It typically depends on the pressure range in question, for which type of vacuum is best. For example, for applications needing a vacuum deeper than 1mbar then a rotary vane vacuum pump is likely the best. But, anything greater than that, you may seek a more suitable industrial vacuum pump.

If you have any questions regarding industrial vacuum pumps, please leave a comment below, with a photo if applicable, so that someone can help you!