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May 2019

How to Get the Maximum Benefit Out of Your Process Filtration: Part 5 Saving Your Company’s Reputation

I’m sure I don’t have to tell you. You get it. After all the effort you’ve put into elevating your company’s reputation and its brand promise – it can all go up in a puff of smoke with just one bad shipment.

When it comes to filtering your product and achieving quality and purity standards, you might think all filter systems are relatively equal. I’m here to tell you they’re definitely not.

Barrier Filtration Reliably Captures Particles as Small as 0.5 Microns

Many manufacturers design their filters to accept 90%+ particle capture, but, if product purity and quality are important to you, why not strive for 99.9%+ capture, or essentially zero measurable impurities?  

Some filters rely on depth filtration, capturing particles throughout the thickness of the medium, rather than only on the surface. Others are designed using centrifugal force, moving the slurry into a rapidly rotating basket and retaining solids on a porous screen. Depth filters have the potential to shed material, resulting in less and less efficiency over time.  Further, as solid particles are embedded throughout the thickness of the media, online blowback or cleaning is difficult if not impossible.  Centrifuges often struggle with transient flow and solids conditions and perform separation in a mechanically complex, and sometimes expensive to repair system.

Barrier filtration, including the Mott HyPulse® series of liquid filters, uses size exclusion as the primary method of solids separation and can filter down to submicron levels reliably and continuously.  Media is selected based on the smallest expected particle sizes, ensuring the solids form a cake on the surface of the media, limiting particle breakthrough and allowing for easy online backwashing.  This ensures excellent product quality and cycle-to-cycle repeatability.

The Right Filter Material Can Make All the Difference

Some filtration systems are fabricated of cloth, some of plastic and others of ceramic.

Porous metal filtration systems are constructed of sintered metal which is far stronger and more durable than cloth and plastic, especially when operating in challenging process filtration streams such as agrochemicals, petrochemicals, and pharmaceuticals. Unlike ceramics, sintered metal filters remain ductile and resist cracking under process vibrations and repeated thermal and pressure transients.  That means the level of filtration quality you experience on day one remains the same throughout the life of the filter.

Ensure Your Filter is Designed to Handle Variability

No process is always consistent. Variability is bound to occur. That’s why the best porous metal liquid filters are designed to handle dynamic upsets in the feed stream when process conditions vary. Sudden spikes in pressure, sudden changes in flow, or an exceptionally dirty feed stream are negated by an automatically controlled porous metal filtration system that initiates clean-in-place processes, based on real-time performance data. 

To ensure even greater reliability, liquid-solids inverted filters employ single-pass technology in which an entire train of process filtration steps can often be replaced with a single filter system. And, because these filtration systems are passive, there are no rotating parts and fewer components overall, so there are fewer things to monitor and maintain on a daily basis.

A passive system with dynamic controlled online cleaning means less maintenance, less shutdowns, and smooth operation during short periods of variability.

Stay Out in Front of Quality Issues. Test your Filtered Product Regularly.  

If you’re worried about quality issues, then consider using a third-party filter testing provider so you can scientifically determine your current filtrate quality and any potential for improvement.

By periodically testing your feed and filtered product, you can monitor whether your filter’s performance is living up to its initial specifications and to your strict quality standards – rather than waiting until you experience quality issues. Lifecycle testing measures the effects of long-term corrosion, pressure cycling and other processes that may alter filtration properties, potentially leading to a bad batch of product. In short, periodic, routine testing will help you stay ahead of quality issues.

In our lab, we regularly subject our customers’ used elements to cleanliness and strength tests, porous media characterization tests, lifecycle and failure analysis, filtration efficiency and feasibility tests as well as elemental and chemical analyses.

Armed with this rich data, our customers can more effectively schedule preventive maintenance work and replace elements before they lead to issues. For a small annual investment, these manufacturers avoid potential quality issues, process upsets and disgruntled customers – and, most importantly, successfully uphold their company’s reputation.

Get the data you need to make informed decisions.

Utilizing lab scale filtration testing can gather the following data, which can be used by engineers, such as myself, to ensure you're getting the maximum benefit out of your process filtration

  • Particle size distribution (PSD)
  • Feeds solids concentration
  • Catalyst recovery/removal rates
  • Feed viscosity
  • Filtrate clarity - PPM or Turbidity (NTU)
  • Solids cake characteristics
  • Flux rates
  • Pressure drop analysis
  • Backwash characterization
  • Backpulse characterization

Bring us your challenge.

If you’d like to discuss filtration challenges you’re currently facing and explore how our solutions might help, feel free to send me an email or find me on LinkedIn.

And, if you’ve missed any of my previous blogs, on the topics of 1) saving your operating dollars, 2) saving your workers, 3) saving your catalyst, or 4) saving your throughput revenue, please click on the relevant link.

Patrick Hill, Lead Project Engineer

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