June 25, 2018

Rotary pressure filter proves more economical than peeler centrifuges

Typical rotary pressure filter of type RPF A09 with an active filter surface of 2.16 m² for use in pharmaceutical applications.

Rethinking existing processes with BHS as a partner for streamlined production  | When developing new production processes, maximum efficiency is always one of the key goals. However, existing plants and previously defined processes are rarely examined for potential optimization, even though this is precisely where great potential lies. BHS-Sonthofen scrutinized an existing filtration process for a German manufacturer of food additives. The findings of lab and pilot tests suggested that a single rotary pressure filter can replace the three peeler centrifuges previously used.

Tests that lead to success: From three units down to one

A German manufacturer of food additives had been using three peeler centrifuges in a single production step. The manufacturer planned to replace them with three new, identical machines. At the same time, the company asked BHS-Sonthofen to take a close look at the process step itself. When analyzing the filtration process, BHS found that the use of a rotary pressure filter would offer clear advantages to the plant operator. Compared to three high-speed centrifuges, this low-speed single unit requires much less power, detergent and maintenance. Moreover, the quantity and quality of the yield can be increased significantly when using a rotary pressure filter.

This assumption was first verified by means of laboratory tests that simulated the future process on a small scale directly at the customer’s premises. As a result, the rotary pressure filter is superior to centrifuges in terms of cake washing quality and efficiency. The average cake washing results were improved by around 90 percent, in addition to reducing the amount of detergent required. Thanks to the production of a filtrate that is free of solids right from the start, there were no product losses, unlike with centrifuges. Better yet, a single filter could replace all three centrifuges. Lastly, energy consumption was cut by around 50 percent due to the relatively low drive power.

In the next step, the laboratory tests were upscaled to verify the results in real operation using a pilot plant connected via a bypass. A long-term test over 24 hours confirmed the results of the laboratory measurements. It clearly indicated that the rotary pressure filter is the superior alternative in all respects.

Making processes simple, efficient and safe

BHS-Sonthofen always aims for a comprehensive solution when working on projects such as this one. The idea is to devise a process ideally tailored to the individual customer requirements. More specifically, it should ensure both high efficiency and reduce the workload of operating staff as much as possible. Replacing the three peeler centrifuges with a single filter was driven by the goal to create a more efficient process that also resulted in simpler and safer handling. The slow rotation of the filter reduces the safety risk posed to production staff. As an added advantage, no special foundations are required.

The general maintenance costs are reduced thanks to using just one instead of three machines. Also, in contrast to centrifuges, the rotary pressure filter does not require regular TÜV (Technical Inspection Agency) inspections, extensive cleaning cycles or even specialists to perform maintenance work. Time savings and the reduced workload of operators not only make this process step highly efficient, but also free up capacity for more valuable tasks, thus additionally improving overall production output.

Individual consulting is a key competence

BHS-Sonthofen believes in being more than just a manufacturer and seller. Instead, the company assists customers in finding a solution that best meets their specific needs. Depending on the customer’s requirements, this can even involve presenting the customer with a different choice of machines, even though the customer was not looking for – or was not even aware of – an alternative system. As with the customer who simply wanted to replace old centrifuges with new ones, it may turn out during the process that a different approach offers considerable advantages. The tests carried out by BHS-Sonthofen form an integral part of this solution-oriented consulting. These are set up in the in-house laboratory or on the customer’s premises to determine which process based on which system delivers the best results. If required, BHS will carry out further tests using pilot plants. “We don’t sell off-the-peg solutions; every system is geared to customer-specific requirements,” emphasizes Matthias Rahmann, Area Sales Manager Filtration Technology at BHS-Sonthofen. “The customer not only receives a filter, but also draws on our many years of experience in combination with modern testing methods. This approach allows us to find the best solution together with the customer. The rotary pressure filter, for example, is a technology that has been tried and tested for decades and which is continuously refined in our labs. It can greatly enhance process efficiency in a broad range of applications.”

Spur-gear filters of type RPF B16 with an active filter surface of 5.8 m² for suspension processing in continuous operation with a throughput of up to 25 m³/h.

Filtrate drainpipes to the control head inside the filter drum of a rotary pressure filter of type RPF.

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