Dolphin Centrifuge

Oil Centrifuge | Working, Benefits, Size, Types, Examples, Cost

Oil Centrifuge Interior Details
Oil Centrifuge Section Diagram

An Oil Centrifuge is a continuous process centrifuge machine capable of continuously separating Water and Sludge from any oil.

An Industrial Oil Water Centrifuge uses discs in the bowl to magnify the effective g-force, making them highly efficient at separating small traces of water and sludge from oil or the other way around. These centrifuges are also known as Disc Stack Separators.

Read our 101 Frequently Asked Questions about Disc Stack Centrifuges!

An oil centrifuge is a standard industrial separation device that finds various uses in various industries, from food and beverage to waste processing to chemical and crude oil production. 

With its flow-through design, this centrifuge can continuously separate liquid from liquid and liquids from solids and other liquids.

Working Principle

An oil centrifuge works on the principle of differential settling using a high centrifugal force to separate oil from solid and liquid contaminants. The centrifuge exerts up to 10,000 Gs of force to separate particles as small as 1 micron from the oil. It also separates any immiscible liquid contaminants from the oil.

Benefits (Advantages)

An oil centrifuge offers several advantages over conventional filters and settling methods of separation. The following is a list of the essential advantages of these centrifugal separators.

Drawbacks (Disadvantages)

Like all industrial equipment, centrifuges also have certain disadvantages, which are listed below.


Oil centrifuges are available in different sizes from Alfa Laval and other centrifuge manufacturers. The size typically ranges from 1 GPM to over 300 GPM. The physical size is proportional to the processing capacity of the centrifuge.


The following table lists the capacities of different Alfa Laval oil centrifuges widely used for typical industrial and marine applications.

Oil Centrifuge ModelProcessing Capacity
Alfa Laval MAB-103Diesel: 3 GPMISO 32 Lube: 2 GPMISO 320 Lube: 1 GPM
Alfa Laval MAB-206Diesel: 25 GPMISO 32 Lube: 15 GPMISO 320 Lube: 8 GPM
Alfa Laval MOPX-205Diesel: 10 GPMISO 32 Lube: 6 GPMISO 320 Lube: 3 GPM
Alfa Laval WHPX-410Diesel: 40 GPMISO 32 Lube: 22 GPMISO 320 Lube: 10 GPM

Dimensions & Weights

The following table lists the weights and dimensions of standard oil centrifuges.

Oil Centrifuge ModelDimensionsWeight
Alfa Laval MAB-1032’ x 2’ x 2’ (H) Bare; 3’ x 4’ x 3’ (H) Skid250 Lbs; 600 Lbs (Skid)
Alfa Laval MAB-2063’ x 4’ x 4’ (H) Bare; 4’ x 4’ x 5’ (H) Skid800 Lbs; 1800 Lbs (Skid)
Alfa Laval MOPX-2053’ x 4’ x 4’ (H) Bare; 4’ x 4’ x 6’ (H) Skid600 Lbs; 1500 Lbs (Skid)
Alfa Laval WHPX-4104’ x 5’ x 6’ (H) Bare; 5’ x 6’ x 7’ (H) Skid2500 Lbs; 3500 Lbs (Skid)


The following table lists the general specifications of the oil centrifuges commonly used and listed above for capacity and weights.

Oil Centrifuge ModelBowl RPMSludge SpaceMotor HPStartup Amps
Alfa Laval MAB-1038,6000.15 Gal1 HP2.4 A
Alfa Laval MAB-2068,4000.85 Gal2 HP3.6 A
Alfa Laval MOPX-2057,6000.38 Gal4 HP6.5 A
Alfa Laval WHPX-4105,1801.55 Gal10 HP22 A

Material of Construction

The main components of an oil centrifuge typically have the following construction material. Depending on the application, some specially built centrifuges may have all stainless steel bowls.


Bowl Body, Bowl Hood, Disc Stack - 316L Stainless Steel

Distributor, Top Disc, Cone, Level Ring - Marine Grade Bronze


Sludge Chute, Bottom Frame - Nodular Cast Iron

Covers - Silumin (Aluminum Alloy)


Alfa Laval oil centrifuges are available in different types that are suitable for specific applications. The standard, most commonly used centrifuges are listed below.

Manual Clean

Manual clean oil centrifuges incorporate a design where the liquid phases continuously discharge from the centrifuge. After stopping the centrifuge, the centrifuge retains the separated solids in the bowl for manual extraction.

Automatic Self Clean

An oil centrifuge with an automatic self-clean feature does not require manual extraction of the separated sludge. The centrifuge bowl design allows the centrifuge to eject the separated sludge while still rotating automatically.

The separated oil and water exit the centrifuge continuously while the separated solids intermittently self-eject.

If you have simple, routine questions: We have condensed our 40+ years of disc-stack centrifuge experience into 101 Frequently Asked Questions about Disc Stack Centrifuges!

Examples of Applications

The following are examples of real-world oil centrifuge applications. 

Lube Oil

All types of lube oil, from steam turbine oil to engine lubricating oil, need purification from fine metal contaminants and occasionally moisture. An oil centrifuge is ideal for processing large volumes of lube oil to a high purity level without filters. Simultaneous removal of water is an added advantage.

Diesel Fuel

Diesel fuel stored in tanks has rust, sediment, and other contaminants along with water from condensation. An oil centrifuge installed in a kidney loop on the storage tank keeps the fuel's solids and liquid contaminants clean.

Fuel Oil

Fuel oil is a common energy source for most power plants, and large marine engines need to be maintained free of contaminants. A fuel oil centrifuge is a reliable separating machine that removes all sludge and water from fuel oil to keep it usable.

Cutting Oil

A wide variety of industries use cutting oil for various metal-forming applications. This oil picks up solid metal particles during processing. It is essential to remove these particles from the oil for its reuse.

An oil centrifuge can separate 0.5-micron metal particles from the oil, thus making the oil reusable and reducing replacement costs.


We have broken down the cost of oil centrifuges into the following categories.

Equipment Cost

A small ‘manual clean’ oil centrifuge with a processing capacity of 3 GPM is around $15K for the bare centrifuge, and a high capacity (100 GPM) costs over $120K. Remanufactured centrifuges typically cost around 60% of new centrifuges.
Optional accessories add to the system cost and can be more than the bare centrifuge cost, depending on the options chosen.

Operating Cost

The only operating cost of an oil centrifuge is the cost of electricity to drive the motor. Since the centrifuge is a mechanical separator, it does not use any media or replaceable elements that add to operating costs.

Therefore, the typical operating cost per gallon of an oil centrifuge is a fraction of a cent!

Maintenance Cost

Like most mechanical equipment, oil centrifuges require routine maintenance. The maintenance costs associated with an oil separator are for the spare parts. The frequency of maintenance depends on the application and type of centrifuge.

Detailed cost estimates of maintenance costs related to Alfa Laval oil centrifuges are listed here.

Plant Layout Configuration

Typical configurations of an Industrial Oil Cleaning Centrifuge include:

For example, a typical layout of an industrial centrifuge setup for waste oil is shown below.

Oil Centrifuge System Plant Layout
Oil Centrifuge System Plant Layout

The system consists of 3 steps needed for oil, water, and sludge processing at high capacity.

  1. Pre-Straining Module - separates debris (i.e., rocks, debris, bolts, etc.) from the untreated waste oil.
  2. Decanter Centrifuge Module - to de-sludge the pre-strained oil to separate the bulk of the sludge.
  3. Vertical Disc Centrifuge Module - for oil-water separation and to remove small particles down to 1-micron level.

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