The Importance of Regularly Replacing Your Filter Elements
Posted on July 8th, 2020
Compressed air is one of the most important and widely used utilities in the world. Often labelled the ‘Fourth Utility’ due to its widespread use, compressed air and gas is used in industries ranging from automotive and mining, to food and beverage, and medical.
The proper functioning of a compressed air system is vital to its effectiveness, but many users often forget about the importance of regular filter maintenance and its effect on both production quality and system longevity. The below guide tells you everything you know about replacing your filter elements:
Why Replace Filter Elements?
You might think that delaying the replacement of filter elements would be a quick and easy way to reduce operating costs. But, by not replacing filter elements according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, you could be subjecting your business to further costs down the line.
Filter Elements remove contaminants such as water vapour, oil, dust, and micro-organisms from the air stream. As they impact with the filter media, potentially harmful and damaging particulates in the air become trapped between the filter media fibres. This can lead to the filter media becoming blocked, causing a lower differential pressure and an increase in the cost and energy needed to run the system.
During operation, the filter element is also exposed to extreme and changing conditions, such as:
- Vast Temperature Fluctuations
- High Pressure
- Damaging Chemicals/Vapours
Over time, these conditions degrade the filtration media, leading to reduced operational effectiveness and performance, and product spoilage. Even the smallest of holes in the media can cause it to rupture and for contaminants to travel downstream into the compressed air system. If this were to happen, the differential pressure indicator would not alert you to the problem as there will be no drop in differential pressure.
Most modern filter elements can withstand 8,000 hours or 12 months of use, whichever comes first, and Activated Carbon models can withstand 6000 hours.
Dangers of Failing to Replace Your Filter Elements
Failure to replace your filter elements within the advised timeframe could cause a significant lack of filtration quality which could prevent standards being achieved, leading to major setbacks for your business.
Examples of setbacks include products that have been vacuum-sealed being contaminated, defects in paint finishings, and damage to pneumatic equipment resulting in a fall in productivity and the need for repair.
Some of the main risks that you may face as a result of failing to replace your filter elements include:
- End use contamination
- Damaged machinery – for example, absorption dryer beds
- Damaged products
- Health risks to personnel
- Increased long term costs
- Increased production downtime
However, one of the largest costs of failing to replace your filter elements is damage to your brand image. By not following the recommended filter element replacement time you become liable to any damage caused by a failing filter element. Contamination and damage caused to your system and finished goods could be occurring for weeks without your knowledge, which can lead to safety problems for staff and/or product recall. Both of which have the potential to permanently tarnish your brand.
Benefits of Regular Filter Element Change Outs
Alongside the avoidance of the above risks, there are many benefits to be gained from regularly changing your filter elements. These include:
- Optimum filtration performance
- Protection of downstream machinery
- Peace of mind
- Reduced repair and replacement expenses
- Higher production uptime and productivity
One of the main reasons customers give for forgoing element change-out is the costs of replacement parts and maintenance. However, these costs are much lower than those caused by old, ineffective filter elements.
A clean filter works significantly more efficiently than one that is obstructed with months’ worth of particulate matter and debris. These ‘clogged’ filters require more pressure to push air and gas through the media, incurring higher operating costs, and a greater risk of failure. By replacing your filter elements regularly you could avoid excess running costs, reduce the risk of machinery failure, and avoid the possibility of product spoilage and associated costs. Furthermore, by ensuring the smooth running of your compressed air lines, you will be improving your energy efficiency, and therefore reducing your business’ carbon footprint.
Need to replace your filter elements? Walker Filtration has a comprehensive range of filter elements for Walker Filtration’s current and legacy products, as well as alternatives to OEM parts. Find out more here.
You can also contact us on +44 (0) 191 417 7816 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like any further advice on replacement elements.