Leading chemical processors around the world are driving a new trend for vacuum to be seen as a ‘utility’; highly reliable, flexible, and available on demand in a ‘plug and pump’ system that requires minimum set-up and maintenance, is cost-effective to run and environmentally sound. When processors are specifying a new vacuum system, cost-of-ownership and environmental impact are key issues. Recent advances in dry vacuum pump technology meet this challenge head on. New designs offer high reliability effluent-free pumping, high levels of controllability and long service intervals, even in the most difficult of harsh chemical processing applications. This article discusses the recent evolution of dry vacuum pump technology for the chemical and pharmaceutical processing industries with particular regard to energy usage, environmental impact, carbon footprint, cost of ownership and safety. It looks at the very latest in chemical pump technology – the new advanced discrete variable pitch tapered-screw technology – and uses a case study example to highlight process and cost benefits in specific chemical and pharmaceutical applications.