Process microfiltration systems

Common questions – information

What is Process microfiltration?
Process microfiltration refers to filtration solutions in order to meet the critical production fluid management and help the customer to achieve and maintain the required product quality by removing particle or microorganism contamination. With Process microfiltration we usually refer to a size range between 70-80 micron and 0,01micron. This range includes typical particles as well as microorganisms like common bacteria or yeasts that need to be removed during production of wine, beer, bottled water, drugs.

Common filters used
The most common filters used in microfiltration are : Bag filters (general filtration), sheet filters (beer and wine production), cartridge filters. Cartridge filters are the main category of filters because they provide very accurate retention ratings and their handling allows the implementation of sanitary conditions especially for the most critical applications.

How many filtration stages are required?
This is highly dependent on the particle loading that need to be removed as well as on the final required level of filtration. Typically 2 or 3 stages with increasing retention rating are required (starting from bigger size particles and ending with the smaller ones). The multiple stage filtration is needed for economy (the first stages which accept the higher loading and are changed more frequently are the less costly) as well as operational reasons (only the final filter could be installed but more frequently cleaning would be needed with significant loss in production time and eventually the filter would be quickly blocked).

Sizing a filtration train
Sizing a filtration train is a multitask and dynamic process. It can easily start based on the production flow needed to be filtered but the optimization can only happen by using trial data from the field. Small scale filtrations units can be used to simulate the process and provide a very good estimation for the required scale up. This can be done either with the help of our company or in more complicated projects samples can be sent to Parker domnick hunter facility for a more extended support.

Cleaning filters
This is practically applied only to cartridge filters due to their manufacturing material. Cleaning the filters is a required task especially for the final filters which are dedicated to keep all the microorganisms. Nevertheless cleaning the filters on a regular basis will extend significantly their operational life time. Typical cleaning procedures include cold and hot water flushing, steaming, cleaning and disinfection with chemicals, back wash. The exact procedure depends on the application and it should be noted that the required cleaning procedure can also affect the choice of the filters. Based on this we can work together so that we can build the best filtration train in relation to your cleaning practices and also provide our suggestions for the appropriate cleaning procedure.

How can I check the filters are performing as they should?
This is a task that concerns only the final sterile filters. There are certified non-destructive methods which should be used for this task. We can provide specific equipment and training for each industry in order to fulfill this requirement. The instruments perform the selected non destructive test are automated and simple to use. The integrity test of final sterile filters finishes within 5-30 minutes (depending on the size of the filter) providing very accurate data about the condition of the filtration process.