Oil skimmers are special machines that are able to remove all floating particles from the liquids of different type like water. They can also separate and remove two different liquids, like oil from water. Apart from being used in oil spill remediation, this amazing technology finds application in various industries. Workers in machine industry for example can successfully remove the oil from tool coolant or from aqueous parts washers.
These oil skimmers come in three different forms, but currently more than three additional types are widely used. These are the drum, floating suctions, belt, barrel style, disk, mop and mini or large tubes. The skimmers function with the aid of surface tension and laws of gravity which is structured in the design. A steel belt is lowered into the fluid in the belt skimmer. This removes the oil by moving the wiper blades which are specially designed to remove the oil from both sides of the fluid.
The drum or barrel style skimmer uses a rotating drum. The other characteristics are similar to that of the disk skimmers. The difference with the drum or barrel skimmer is that they move more water efficiently when compared to the disk skimmers and are also more durable. However there may be problems noticed with the fluctuating levels of liquid when these types of barrel style skimmers are used.
Ropes are specially designed for extracting oil from fluids with oil skimmers. When the ropes are dipped in the fluid, the oil is removed during this process. The pinch rollers provided work to dry the ropes as they enter the drive unit. This works to skim the oil from the fluids. However, there is a disadvantage of using these mop oil skimmers. The ropes get matted when they come in contact with oils, especially if they are viscous. This makes them less effective in the removing of the oil. In addition, it is expensive to replace these mops, which means higher maintenance costs.
The other types of skimmers are the large tube and floating suctions ones. A plastic hose is used for these kinds of skimmers to move the surface of the liquid and draw the oil through these large tubes. Similarly mini tubes are used to draw oil through small tubes. Several designs are available for floating suction skimmers. These types of skimmers are especially effective when removing thick layers of oil and each type uses a different floating intake.
There is a slight difference in the working of the disk oil skimmers. A disk is used to rotate the fluid. The oil that is removed from the liquid gets deposited in the skimmer in a special container that collects the same. These types of skimmers are not advisable for use with shallow fluids due to the fluctuating levels of the fluid. In order to ensure that proper cleaning is done the entire disc has to be submerged which is not practical.