Brush Skimmer, Belt Skimmer, and Other Types of Oil Skimmers

An oil skimmer is a device that separates water and oil to collect oil for remediation or recovery purposes. There are numerous types of oil skimmers that you can find in the market right now, including the brush skimmer and belt skimmer. 

These oil skimmers can skim oil through various technologies such as belts, brushes, weirs, ropes, and oleophilic materials. 

  • Fixed Oil Skimmers

A fixed oil skimmer is installed in one permanent location. This type of skimmer in general includes many types of rope or belt skimmers. These are often installed in oil tanks being used in manufacturing applications. 

  • Floating Oil Skimmers

A floating oil skimmer floats on the water surface. It is towed by or deployed from a vessel. Lines can also hold it in location. In general, these skimmers include some belt skimmers, brush skimmers, drum skimmers, and weir skimmers. 

Belt Skimmer

Different types of belt skimmers are available today. Smaller models usually feature a fixed installation. These skimmers function by using a belt that attracts oil. This oil is scraped clean and accumulated in a tank or sump. Belt skimmers use a belt that has interchangeable pads for different kinds of oil. These can be used in advancing and stationary modes alike, with or without booms. 

Brush Skimmers 

A brush skimmer is configurable as a standalone unit, fitted above weir skimmers, or incorporated in recovery vessels. The density and stiffness of the bristles affect the type and amount of oil they can retrieve. 

Softer bristles are recommended for light oil and stiffer ones are best used for heavy oils. A static brush skimmer operates by the brush bristles that come into contact with oil where it is scraped off to be collected. Brush chains can be used as well that rely on a vessel’s forward motion for oil recovery. 

Drum Skimmers

Drum skimmers are considered among the world’s most efficient oil recovery skimmers. A drum skimmer is easy to operate, efficient, and reliable as it only recovers oil and a very small amount of water. Every time the floating drum rotates, oil sticks to the surface to separate it from water. 

The scrapers or wiper blades remove the oil and deposit it into a collection trough wherein it is pumped into a storage location. There are available interchangeable drum inserts to improve the recovery rates relative to the environments and different oils’ viscosity. 

Drum skimmers are available with either grooved or smooth drums. Grooved drums have a higher recovery rate with the viscous oils, while smooth drums provide higher efficiency with lighter oils like diesel. Hydraulics or air drive drum skimmers. Air units can be used in hazardous places and can also be hooked up to the air brakes of a vehicle for operation. 

Weir Skimmers

A weir skimmer operates by removing the surface layer from the water. The oil flows to the central hopper where this is pumped to storage. The stainless steel weir skimmers are useful in industrial tanks as well as ponds where there are acids and chemicals present.