Croft Additive Manufacturing (CAM), a company based out of Warrington, UK, has used 3D printing to manufacture innovative easy to clean filters for various industrial applications.
“We were recently approached by a pharmaceutical company looking for a filter disc that could be cleaned to specific, high standards,” Amy Cantrill, Junior Account Executive of Tangerine PR, representing CAM, tells 3DPrint.com.
She added that many applications use a disc of mesh to create a filter. They are secured in place by a rolled steel ring. However, there are gaps between the steel ring and mesh, and the weft and warp strands of the woven wire, known as ‘bugtraps,’ where bacteria and dirt can gather. Furthermore, these areas cannot be easily accessed. As a result, cleaning them, especially to standards required by the pharmaceutical or food and drink industries, can lead to increased downtime or the complete replacement of a part.
CAM used 3D printing to produce a more intricate design that did not contain any ‘bugtraps’ in the latticework of the mesh or the rim. The end product also proved to be just as strong as more traditionally manufactured filters.
However the most important advantage is that the 3D printed version can be cleaned much easier, thereby decreasing downtime for customers, and reducing the risk of material accumulation and the potential for hazardous biochemical contamination.
“In addition to making it more suitable for a wide range of industries, the new design reduced the requirement for replacement parts, delivering considerable long-term cost savings,” Contrill says.
CAM has also created a ‘Straightliner Filter’ that is geared at delivering energy savings when compared to the more conventional filters on the market today. It also offers a much lower pressure drop and resistance than filters created using traditional subtractive manufacturing techniques.
“This is because, when manufactured conventionally, the holes in the perforated plate are at an angle to the filtrate flow, changing the flow characteristics and causing turbulence in the functionality of the filter,” explains the company. “Using additive manufacturing to build the filter holes at the same angle as the flow allows the filtrate to pass through the filter with much less resistance, resulting in both energy and cost savings.”
It all comes down to more efficiency, better filtration results, and costs, when manufacturing filters for any industry, and when you add in the fact that there is less waste and greater customization through the use of additive manufacturing, there is no reason to not believe that this will be the technology of the future.
Image courtesy Croft Additive Manufacturing