The Case for High Flow Cartridges

Submitted by Tim Tritch || Valin Corporation
For many years, the industry has been guided to a liquid filter cartridge with an outside diameter (OD) measuring 2.5” or so with an inside diameter (ID) measuring 1”, and a length that varied from 5” to 40”. Of course, there are always a few exceptions to the length, but in general, these specifications were very much the standard.

High Flow Filter Cartridges
For some small applications, selecting a liquid filter cartridge with an OD at 2.5” by a certain length will work just fine. There are situations when this type of filter can in fact make sense. However, selecting this type of filter for large industrial applications or municipal water plants has never made sense. In these situations, one needs to install multiple filters at this size to handle the flow. There are many filter vessels in use that are holding more than 80 filter cartridges measuring 2.5” by 40”. The filter vessels require this volume to handle the flows and the contaminate load. This fact comes with a specific set of challenges.

First, in order to change all these filters, a tremendous amount of time and manpower is necessary. Immediately, this adds to an operation’s overall cost. Even if everything goes as planned, and there are no big setbacks, the process will take hours to complete. But what if everything does not go as smoothly as desired? For example, if an operator accidentally drops some of the required hardware down into the vessel (which is known to happen), they must go on a tedious mission to recover the hardware pieces. This unplanned activity can cause a sizable delay in restarting a process.

Installing the new filters with this setup is also a challenging task. During this process, someone must reach across a large diameter filter vessel and put the new filters over the guide rods. Then this individual must hold down the top sealing plate with the appropriate gasket or O-ring and install a nut that must be torqued to the proper setting. If this person drops one of the required pieces they will once again have to spend extra time finding it. Depending how many cartridges they have installed, it is conceivable they may need to reverse direction and start all over again.

Is there a better technology out there?

The short answer is, “Yes.” To elaborate, years ago, a new idea was developed that would solve this problem of installing a multitude of low-volume cartridges. This new technology is called the high flow cartridge. With this style of cartridge, the filters are larger in diameter than the typical cartridges mentioned previously, and they can be made in lengths up to 80” (double that of the previous options). Typically, the housings are horizontal as opposed to vertical, making the exercise of changing out the filters a much easier process. In fact, by converting from a large number of cartridges to far fewer high flow cartridges, change out times can become mere minutes instead of multiple hours. Due to their design, there isn’t any hardware to drop down into the vessel, keeping unplanned setbacks to a minimum.

For new liquid filtration applications or operators looking to upgrade their systems, there should be some consideration given to the benefits of high flow cartridge filters as opposed to the traditional 2.5” pleated or depth filters.
single open ended pleated all poly pro construction
Once one breaks down the math based on the size of the system in question, there is an even stronger case to be made for the high flow cartridges. For example, considering the needs of a 350 gallons per minute (gPM) system, one 60” high flow cartridge can handle the flow. Conversely, to account for the same flow rate and pressure drop, it would take up to 18 2.5” pleated filters or up to 35 depth filters (string or melt blown). Additionally, one 60” high flow cartridge can hold up to 15 lbs. of contaminate. There are also the special restraints to consider. A housing for one filter is 8.5” in diameter. Alternatively, a housing to hold 18 cartridges is 14”, and a housing to hold 24 cartridges is 16” in diameter. From a financial standpoint, a high flow housing can be one-third the cost of the housing for the traditional 2.5” cartridges. This means the high-flow housing footprint can be as much as 50 percent smaller than the traditional 2.5” housing. All of these technical benefits supplement the obvious safety, ease of use and reduced change out time factors.

When considering a 2000 gPM system, the benefits are amplified. This system would require seven 60” high flow cartridges to handle the flow. On the contrary, it would take up to 85 2.5” x 40” pleated filters or up to 120 depth filters (string or melt blown) for the same flow rate and pressure drop. A housing holding seven high flow filters measures 24” in diameter while a housing to hold 85 cartridges is 30” and one to hold 120 cartridges is 36” in diameter.

There are many operators that do not currently take advantage of the high-flow cartridge that most certainly could. For large applications, the benefits both in terms of cost and efficiency are strong.

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