Selecting and Maintaining Steam Filters for Industrial Applications

Steam filtration is a vital part of any industrial application requiring steam as an energy source, whether it’s for driving mechanical processes, heating, or sterilization. Steam is an inherently dirty resource commonly polluted with rust, extent and other particulates. The maintenance program for any steam-based system should always include a filtration part to protect each aspect of your system from contamination.

In industry steam is commonly used in processes for a variety of applications. Generally speaking, you can divide the industrial use of steam of its various forms into several categories, each of which displays specific course of action requirements:

  • course of action steam for energy move for such applications as thermostatic and pressure controls, or energy for driving mechanical processes;
  • Culinary steam as used for food & beverage processing;
  • Superheated steam is typically found in mechanical applications that rely on its important energy, such as electrical strength production and other mechanical processes, in addition as antimicrobial applications;
  • Saturated steam, like superheated steam, drives mechanical processes and provides heat energy for thermostatic processes, such as cleaning and sterilization;Dry saturated steam processes are ordinarily found in pharmaceutical and petrochemical applications, in addition as food and beverage processing;
  • In-situ sterilization relies on steam to sterilize-in-place elements of a sterile system without having to change or disassemble the system thereafter, thereby maintaining absolute sterility;
  • In-situ cleaning is similar to in-situ sterilization without the absolute purification requirement.

No matter the application, there is great need for contaminant-free steam to protect downstream equipment or processes from extent, rust, and other particulates. One meaningful application is sterilization. By design sterile filters for compressed air or gas systems remove bacterial and viral contaminants from the compressed air source prior to application. To effectively perform this function, you must first sterilize the sterile filter and its component prior to use. additionally, you must re-sterilize the filter every day, in addition as each time you shut down the system whether for maintenance or otherwise. One effective way of sterilizing the filters in-situ is to use steam to ready the units. Introducing steam, however, also brings forth contaminants commonly found in steam supplies, such as dirt, rust, and extent particulates; contaminants that will dramatically reduce the life and efficiency of the sterile filter component as its design serves to remove the aforementioned biological contaminants and not the larger rough contaminants found in sourced steam. Steam filters will effectively remove those rough particulates prior to the steam being introduced to the sterile filters for in-situ sterilization, thereby increasing their functional life.

Steam filter housings are necessarily manufactured of stainless steel to ensure housing integrity when operating in the demanding environmental conditions of compressed steam supplies. Lesser materials, such as aluminum or polycarbonate, are generally not appropriate for steam environments. Steam filters are typically obtainable with NPT, flange, sanitary, or stub-end connections with pipe sizes ranging from 1/2″ to 12″. Likewise, the steam filter elements are obtainable in stainless steel combining stainless steel end caps with a porous sintered stainless steel filtration media. The sintered stainless steel component media is obtainable in a variety of hole sizes, typically ranging from 1, 2, 5, 10, 15, 25, 40 and 50 microns, depending on your filtration requirements.

meaningful Factors for Sizing Filters for Your Application

When calculating the proper steam filter size and its micron retention rating, you must collect specific details as they relate to your application:

  • Determine the maximum allowable hole size. Keep in mind that selecting a hole size smaller than required will reduce your steam filter’s component service life, in addition as create a higher pressure drop. A larger hole size than required will effectively reduce the service life and efficiency of your sterile filter installed thereafter;
  • Steam flow rate of your system in either lb/hr or kg/hr;
  • Steam pressure as measured psi or bar;
  • Allowable pressure drop for a new/clean component as measured in psi or bar. For this specification, we recommend a pressure drop of no more than 1.0 psi or 0.07 bar, as a higher pressure drop will reduce the effective life of the steam filter component;
  • moderate Pipe Size (NPS) for the inlet and release of the installed filter, in addition as the connection kind (i.e. NPT, flange, sanitary connection, or stub-end).

Cleaning You Steam Filter Elements

Depending on contaminant kind, you can safely and effectively clean your sintered stainless steel steam filter elements using a diluted hydrochloric acid solution, ultrasonic bath, water, or air. Typically, you will clean your installed steam filter component when the differential pressure reaches 15 psi or 1.0 bar. A steam filter component will have reached the end of its effective service life when the “cleaned” unit can only continue a pressure drop that meets or exceeds 10 psi or 0.7 bar.

in any case your system application or steam requirements, steam filters protect your equipment and downstream processes, in addition as your final product in some situations, and are basic to continue system viability and maximize performance at the lowest possible cost. Their function is highly useful, and properly chosen, applied, and maintained will considerably extend the part life of downstream equipment, in addition as protect your final product from unwanted contamination.

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