Vacuum Manifold systems??

Since this is my first thread… my background is industrial/ petrochemical/ offshore oil facility automated control and safety systems.

Question is, why do I not see many operations utilize manifold/ header systems for utilities(vacuum, chillers, cold trap, warm water circulation)?

It seems that rotavap, distillation, and even the bho rig could all be plumbed together with a redundant vacuum system of high quality, high flow rate, deep vacuum pumps. Wouldn’t this be best over the long term as long as you used high-quality SS tubing, swagelock (or similar) fittings, check valves, high-quality vacuum regulators, and a cold trap(s) large enough to operate the system at capacity.

Initial CapEx is higher, but longer term maintenance, parts, and reliability should make up for that…no? Is it strictly a cost problem that prevents this from being the way the industry goes?

at a guess? $ and experience.
until very recently this was all black market…


Mantafold systems are the way to go, especially for a diffusion pump that runs multiple spd’s. We make a bunch of vacuum stuff for ourselves or anyone interested. Here is my buddy @Indofab doing his do…

I’ll post some pics after he welds this peice.


A manifold is a convenience but not a performance improvement. The question is why are people not using a manifold system when clearly there are a multitude of options for such a system?

The answer is very simple; because a manifold system does not solve any problem currently identified by producers that would make it worthwhile.

I think American engineering works best when production is done as a cell. Seperate and alone but integrated into the process. This keeps troubleshooting isolated to that cell alone. In a centralized approach like a common vacuum manifold the troubleshooting becomes not only more complex but disassembly and fixing the problem can the take down the entire centralized system instead of just one cell. I realize this can all be engineered into a manifold but then again each problem solved inevitable introduces valves or sensors and seals and such. Each of which can introduce their own problems.

There are no maintenance problems that I can foresee that a manifold would impact at all. A manifold introduces problems. A manifold will drop available vacuum in this application as well with no clear payback. So the answer is that until a manifold system solves an existing identifiable problem seen by producers then it probably wont be used because it brings its own problems.


I agree with you completely. Also speaking to what @cyclopath said, up until now the industry has been all black market, companies wouldn’t exactly have corporate recruiting departments seeking high-level manufacturing engineers. I’d be surprised if most (not all) operations have even one engineer that can quickly and effectively troubleshoot system malfunctions. In that situation redundancy becomes paramount. As companies move to an industrial scale the approach will definitely change.