Don’t let the wrong filter put a spanner in your works

Real or figurative; a filter’s basic function is the same: it controls what gets through. It separates the good from the bad. When functioning optimally, our psychological filters keep our minds working well. They stop invasive thoughts from violating the sanctity of our inner selves. Filters regulating our speech and behaviour stop us from the utterance of harmful words or from hurtful actions – and the consequences thereof.

Industrial water filters while not quite as romantic as their figurative counterparts are just as important. Just as their biological equivalents in the human body keep us alive, industrial water filters keep the plant running. While their optimal or sub-optimal function is not usually a question of life and death, it is always a determinant of profit or loss.

The chances are that you are already well-aware of the importance of filters and their ubiquity in industry.

But the evidence suggests that not all design engineers and procurement managers give the filtration-system decision, the diligent consideration it so obviously deserves. Others do but may be unaware of the diagnostic hoops required to make the right choices. Sometimes decision makers over-specify to mitigate risk unnecessarily, other times they take a chance and buy on price.

The risk of using the wrong filter is too great to Ignore

To choose an industrial filtration solution based only on the initial purchase price and on basic specifications is to filter logic from the decision-making process. In most circumstances the cost of the filtration system is insignificant when compared to that of the entire plant. But a poor choice of filter or filtration method often jeopardises the entire operation – leading to increased risk, downtime and a resultant knock to the bottom line.

The time, money and effort spent managing a ‘problem filter’ or in unnecessary operating and maintenance costs usually far outweighs the initial benefit promised by inexpensive or ill-considered alternatives. The likely lifetime cost of the filtration system must be considered – not just the initial capital outlay. And that’s not to say that expensive filters mitigate risk or breakdown. An expensive but badly specked filter is possibly the worst alternative of them all. It all comes down to this: Filtration problems need to be diagnosed and prescribed for by people with lots of experience. Efficiency and cost effectiveness are the holy grail.

Seek first to understand

The more you think about it the more rational it seems that: choosing a filtration system without conducting a thorough analysis of your specific filtration needs, is like a doctor prescribing medication without studying the presenting symptoms.

“The ability to accurately diagnose industrial filtration issues is rare. Identifying the ‘problem’, however, is only one half of the equation. Then, it is time to prescribe.” Over the years Peter Walker, MD of Superior Filtration has designed eight types of filters, claiming the importance of uniqueness of each filter, “Each of these filters are the perfect choice in certain circumstances. But they work completely differently to achieve different ends. They are unique, but share the common characteristic of intelligent, application dependent design”.

Key to this design in most, but not all of Superior Filtration’s designs is the absence of many moving parts, and in many cases the fact that they are autonomous, have few moving parts and do not require power to make them work. This results in low to no maintenance and management and therefore a considerably reduced life-time cost. His ‘smart’ filters even know when and how to clean themselves!

The correct choice of filters can save careers, time and money – choose wisely!