Process air quality in industrial manufacturing can become compromised by contaminants such as particulates, liquids, aerosols, and vapors. These airborne particles can be destructive when ingested by your equipment.
Particles that escape from products during the manufacturing process can build up within the equipment and cause numerous issues including diminished performance and equipment failure. Industrial air and gas filtration systems are designed to reduce these problems by filtering air and other gases to ensure that any dust, debris, water, solvents, and other contaminants are safely removed.
For most applications, there are two options when it comes to installing an industrial air filtration system: standard or custom. Both types of solutions can be effective. In many cases, it is best to go with a custom filtration solution to optimize equipment performance and to receive the highest protection levels for your equipment. This post discusses the merits of both solution types.
First, let’s explain in detail why filtration and air cleaning systems are necessary for industrial applications. Using an industrial air filtration system can help to protect your equipment and work environment, all while improving the quality of your process outputs.
Industrial inlet air filtration helps protect your equipment from the industrial process and the surrounding environment. Abrasive and damaging particles are often released during the manufacturing process which can damage internal parts such as rotating components and chamber walls, or build up and clog pipes, causing restricted air flow to the blower, compressor, or vacuum pump.
Industrial filtration systems help to remove these particles before they can cause damage. The proper filtration solution will help to extend equipment life, reduce downtime for maintenance or cleaning, and even lower equipment costs in the long run. This is necessary for the proper function of equipment - and helps to support a more efficient industrial process.
Industrial air and gas filtration systems also work to prevent contamination during the manufacturing process. This is incredibly important for industries that must meet strict purity requirements for the outputs, such as pharmaceutical production or food processing & packaging. This results in higher-quality products that are free from other contaminants. It also helps to reduce any reject or scrap materials that are unusable due to contamination.
Industrial filtration systems can be deployed to prevent dangerous vapors and oily mists discharged from process equipment from entering the work environment. This creates a far safer work environment for employees as it improves air quality and reduces the risk of condensed vapors and aerosols from settling on floors and other surfaces. By using air filtration systems, manufacturers can ensure a much safer environment for workers.
Straight-Through Liquid Separator & Inline Vacuum Filter being used in a food-processing application.
Standard filtration products are designed to cover a broad range of application requirements and will perform exceptionally well in general duty applications and many harsher-duty applications. These products are produced in volume to reduce costs and are designed to meet common industry best practices for safety, performance, and longevity. In many cases, these are held in-stock to allow for quick deployment into the field.
Most rotating equipment used for industrial applications will perform well with a filter rated at 99% removal efficiency in the 2 to 5-micron range. For example, standard vacuum pump filters, such as Solberg’s ST series, are designed to meet the requirements for rough vacuum service with cast aluminum construction and a durable polycarbonate collection chamber which is suitable for a broad range of applications. With this series, standard element options include a 2-micron paper filter media or a 5-micron polyester filter media. Both options perform well; however, the polyester option is better suited for high dust loads, higher humidity environments, or scenarios where a cleanable filter is desired. Standard filtration solutions are well-suited for manufacturing processes that do not have strict construction requirements.
For example, furniture manufacturers, specifically operators of vacuum hold-down wood routing processes, need to ensure that woodchips and sawdust are filtered out of the air to protect the vacuum pump. These dust particles are not necessarily hazardous, but will cause issues with equipment performance and can result in large amounts of scrap if vacuum is lost during the routing sequence. A properly selected and sized standard vacuum pump filter helps to protect equipment by effectively capturing this dust before it can accumulate in the piping or the pump.
Other applications in which standard industrial air and gas filtration solutions are sufficient include:
Custom reverse-pulse dust collection system.
Custom filtration and separation systems are the preferred solution when a standard product does not meet specific requirements for an application. These special requirements include unique materials of construction, stringent welding specifications, special documentation, and many others. The harshness of the operating environment and the contaminant itself can create the need for a custom solution. When these needs arise, a solution can be designed to meet the user’s needs.
Some applications for which custom industrial filtration systems are commonly used include:
- Crankcase ventilation for engines operating at landfill gas or biogas sites.
- Equipment operating in explosive environments and require ATEX certification
- Food packaging where harsh solvents are used for cleaning harsh vacuum processes with high contaminant levels such as plastic extrusion, steel degassing, and chemical vapor deposition.
- Compressors operating in harsh environments such as cement factories, quarries or mines.
- Turbines or turbo compressors operating at natural gas fields or offshore platforms.
Custom industrial air and gas filtration systems are also recommended for special situations where standard filtration is not an option, such as installations with space constraints or processes with special operating conditions like high operating pressures, high process temperatures, or operation within harsh conditions such as corrosive environments.
For example, a meat packaging facility can be a harsh and corrosive environment for common materials of construction such as carbon steel and may require specialty coatings on the vacuum housing to resist corrosion. For this application, the industrial filter’s purpose is to keep salty liquids in food or solvents from a wash-down process from entering the vacuum system. In this case, Solberg would provide a custom CSL vacuum filter in 316 stainless steel, and add a specialty coating such as PTFE, which offers excellent resistance to chemicals and solvents from the packaging and wash-down processes.
Choosing the right solution depends on the variables. Ultimately, the solution requires understanding each application’s unique details. Some of the more common considerations are discussed below:
These requirements are driven by the end user and specified up-front during the application evaluation. Consider any specialty materials such stainless steel grades (304 SS, 316 SS, 316L SS, etc.) and welding or construction codes such as ASME Section VIII pressure vessel code or the European Pressure Equipment Directive (PED).
The volume and characteristics of the contaminants influence the selection of standard or custom solutions. First, is the contaminant a particulate, liquid, aerosol, vapor, or a combination of these? Second, how much of the contaminant must be removed, and over what time period? Are the contaminants hazardous or dangerous, such as with pyrophoric materials? Knowing what needs to be filtered is critical to selecting the right filtration technology.
For instance, applications involving chemical vapor deposition will require specific filtration with features allowing for safe collection to keep vacuum systems and workers protected from volatile substances.
Another thing to consider when choosing a filtration system is the frequency of operation. Is the machinery running around-the-clock? Does the process run in cycles? Are resources available to service the filter system? These questions help determine the size of the filtration solution and if automated functions are needed.
Consider any additional special requirements that your air and gas filtration system will need to accommodate, in terms of operations and safety.
Is the operating environment explosive thus requiring ATEX certification? Is UL or CE certification required? Many standard products meet these requirements off the shelf, but custom solutions can be designed to meet these requirements as well.
The best industrial air and gas filtration system for your business is one that has been optimized for all process variables and operating conditions, while meeting the defined requirements. Both standard and custom options can provide high standards of protection for your equipment and processes. The right choice depends on understanding the variables and unique details of your application. Solberg filtration experts have the knowledge and tools to gather the requirements and propose the right solutions.
If you are interested in purchasing a standard or custom air and gas filtration system for your company, consult with Solberg Manufacturing. We are filtration experts with global manufacturing and supply facilities to serve your business interests all over the world. We provide high-quality filtration systems, power generation products, and replacement filter cartridges. We will work with you one-on-one to determine the right solution for your application and your business.
Please contact our team to learn more about our standard product offerings and custom filtration systems.