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Wood milling on modern automatic woodworking machine with CNC. furniture production.

Finding the right vacuum pump for a woodworking or carpentry shop is all about knowing the right type of machine for your application. Some systems need high airflow without requiring a strong vacuum, while others need to be able to maintain a low pressure environment but do not need the ability to move high volumes of air. Knowing the right kind of pump for your application can save you thousands of hours and dollars, ensure peak operational efficiency, and keep your shop humming.

For systems that need high airflow, look for blowers or pumps with a high displacement rating, measured in CFM (cubic feet per minute) or m3/hr (cubic meters per hour). For strong vacuums, look for a high continuous vacuum rating, measured in in.Hg (inches of mercury), mbar (millibars), or PSI (pounds per square inch).

Generally, vacuum pumps can maintain a higher continuous vacuum, but are not as well-optimized for generating a high airflow. Regenerative and centrifugal blowers have higher displacement ratings, but typically are less efficient at holding a vacuum. Republic’s Regenerative Blower Vacuum Kits allow for modification of our regenerative blowers to optimize for a strong vacuum suction capability.

With technological advances and the development of CNC machines, the woodworking industry has been able to create complex designs while swiftly increasing the production pace. With the complexity and detail woodworking entails, vacuums play a significant role in holding & lifting goods, drying products, and removing dust during and after production. As a result of wood manufacturers working with a variety of dimensions, weights, and properties, Republic Manufacturing guarantees that our experts will work with you to figure out the best solution for your manufacturing process.

Today, we’ll compare different types of vacuums and blowers for CNC router systems, vacuum drying, and dust removal.


Best Vacuums for CNC Routers, Hold Down, and Lifting

The CNC (Computer Numerical Control) process starts by securely clamping a piece of wood or other material to a flat surface called the cutting bed. In order to hold the piece safely and prevent shifting while the spindle cuts into the material, CNC shops often rely on vacuum technology to hold down entire pieces of wood throughout the production line. Republic offers a diverse selection of vacuum holding and lifting solutions, including oil-lubricated rotary vane pumps, oil-free rotary vane pumps, dry-running rotary claw pumps, and even regenerative or centrifugal blowers for some applications.

Most CNC applications require a high-pressure vacuum to maintain a strong hold on the material. For some materials and tables, including signage, there are unavoidable leaks between the cutting bed and the material, which prevent a strong seal from being formed. In these cases, a high-volume blower may be preferable to a low-airflow but high-pressure vacuum pump, since the material needs to be constantly pulled toward the cutting bed to prevent shifting.

We know that stable and consistent vacuum levels are necessary to ensure secure clamping of wood, so here are our product recommendations:

RCV-250 Rotary Claw Vacuum Pump

  • Engineered for efficiency and reliability, our RCV system operates utilizing less power consumption than other pumps and requires minimal maintenance.


VRT-3250 Dry Running Vacuum Pump

  • With a cylindrical housing, eccentrically positioned rotor, and numerous free-moving vanes, our dry-running vane pumps are single-stage, dry-cooled, and direct-driven for continuous operations.


KVHRC1102 Regenerative Blower with Vacuum Pump Kit

  • Available in single-stage, double-stage, or triple-stage configurations. Our regenerative blowers are designed with bearings outside the compression chamber, ensuring maximum operational reliability under high differential pressure. Both the HRC and 4RC lines are available as vacuum kits with a relief valve, gauge, filter, and all the necessary piping for a compact, drop-in solution.


RB1200HC Centrifugal Vacuum Pump

  • Republic Centrifugal Blowers provide clean, dry, oil-free air at lower operating costs as a preferred alternative to compressed air. Each blower is manufactured with lifetime greased ceramic hybrid bearings and plated steel or aluminum alloy wetted components.


Wood Drying

For products that are known to be sensitive to heat, vacuum drying is often the best option for chemical process industries. Wood is placed in a low-pressure environment, which enables water to evaporate much faster than in atmospheric conditions, allowing the product to dry at a quicker pace without the application of direct heat. Decreasing the pressure decreases the need for heat, which means less energy is consumed in the drying process. So, less energy consumption = more money saved in the production process.

For this type of wood drying system, the purpose of the vacuum is to lower the air pressure, not to move air around the drying material. In this application, a strong vacuum, rather than high airflow, is what’s needed. To maintain consistent and powerful vacuum, we recommend a rotary claw pump.

These precision-machined vacuums generate continuous vacuum without wear to the internal mechanisms. The high efficiency and low power consumption of a claw pump makes it the perfect solution for wood drying systems. Rotary claw vacuum pumps are dry, positive displacement pumps consisting of a pumping chamber and two counter-rotating, synchronized, non-contacting claws. They are simple to install and require minimal service and maintenance, making these pumps some of the most reliable and efficient.

RCV-250 Rotary Claw Vacuum Pump

  • Our line of RCV Rotary Claw Vacuum Pumps can meet the specification of any vacuum drying system. We’re constantly improving and innovating our designs to create one of the most efficient, low-maintenance machines on the market.


Wood Dust Removal

The dust, debris, and chips generated by woodworking tools are more than a nuisance—sawdust can present health and safety concerns. Airborne dust and debris can cause irritation of the lungs and soft tissues, and accumulated wood bits are a serious fire hazard.

Keeping a shop vac available for cleanup may be suitable for small-scale operations, but for extended work, many woodworking shops from garage workshops to industrial factories make use of dust collection systems. Dust collectors connect each stationary power tool directly to the vacuum source, which sucks sawdust and debris straight from the working surface to a single collection location. Often, the vacuum pump is located in another room or outside, which greatly reduces the noise within the workshop.

For dust collection, high airflow is a must. Our Regenerative Blowers use a vacuum with high displacement volume to remove any unwanted particles into a collection bin, reducing the amount of dust and chips in the air.

HRC1102 Vacuum Kit

  • We offer a regenerative vacuum kit complete with a regenerative blower, relief valve, gauge, filter, and all of the necessary piping for a compact drop-in solution.


A chart comparing the RCV-250, VRT-3250, and KVHRC1102 vacuum pumps. The RCV-250 uses claw technology, does not require oil, and has an output of 7.5 horsepower, a max CFM of 166, and a max vacuum of 24 inches of mercury. The VRT-2350 uses vane technology, does not require oil, and has an output of 8.9 horsepower, a max CFM of 177, and a max vacuum of 23.6 inches of mercury. The KVHRC1102 uses regenerative technology, does not require oil, and has an output of 16.9 horsepower, a max CFM of 364, and a max vacuum of 13.6 inches of mercury.