Filtration Technology Choosing the Best Filtration Solution for your Process Cooling Application

Author / Editor: Vincent Amarosa* / M.A. Manja Wühr

Operators of process engineering plants fear little more than production downtime. Even for process cooling applications it is essential to find the right filtration solution. Here you can read what you have to take into account.

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Schematic description of flow rate within the MCS filtration process
Schematic description of flow rate within the MCS filtration process
(Source: Eaton, © Ig0rZh -

Neither chemical processing nor pharmaceutical formulation manages without process cooling equipment. It is important to keep process cooling fluids clean which is not as easy as it might seem at first glance. An optimum solution must take into account a number of factors including:

  • the fluid source,
  • the source, volume and nature of contaminants present in the fluids,
  • the heat exchanger materials and technology being used,
  • pressures and temperatures within the process environment,
  • the amount, if any, of acceptable downtime for filter maintenance,
  • the initial capital and long-term operating cost of the filtration solution.

Even the most cursory exam­ination of that list should make it clear that no pre-packaged, one-size-fits-all solution is likely to be successful. In reality, selecting a ­filtration ­strategy for ­process cooling fluids can be every bit as challenging as developing a filtration solution for the process products themselves. A successful solution is likely to include a variety of ­complementary technologies. For example, a system using raw river or ocean water as a source might very well include intake bars to keep out large floating debris; a screen with 3/8" openings; a strainer to trap anything larger than 1/32" in diameter; and finally a filter to remove any particles larger than 25 microns.

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The water source will also influence the type of media used in the strainer or filter. Sand, for example, does not change size or shape so it is easily trapped in a porous filter medium. Pond scum, on the other hand, presents an entirely different challenge that is best handled with mechanically cleanable media. Other organic contaminants, which are typically present in quantity in surface water after rainstorms, present their own challenges that have to be quantified and accommodated based on specific local conditions.