Born in the industrial age, filter plates are used in filter presses as a means to separate solids from liquids. They are typically employed in processing plants that fabricate chemicals or pharmaceuticals, but they can also be vital in the processing of particular foodstuffs. Products with liquid-solid suspension, often called slurries, are cycled through these presses so that the solid materials are extracted from the liquid. |
These filter plates act in a very similar fashion to the paper funnel used in a common coffee maker. Whereas a coffee maker employs gravity to create caffeinated goodness, a filter press, like an espresso machine, utilizes pressure to achieve its goal. The press delivers immense pressure to force the slurry through the membrane, completely separating the material.
These sizeable machines typically consist of many chambers that are fitted with frame-supported filter plates. Once loaded with the slurry, which has a mud-like consistency, hydraulic rams are used to force these plates together to isolate the desired material.
In order to achieve this, the plates are covered with membranes. Fine particles are removed as a solid cake builds up between the membranes. These cakes are then extracted at the end of the compression cycle. The final result is a solid and a filtrate. The filtrate, which is the solution remaining at the end of this process, is very pure. If the filtrate has no further use, it can be safely disposed.
Filter plates commonly come in three different variations, each suited to a specific need. The most common one is called a "recessed chamber." Considered the strongest, it can withstand very high pressures and is the least likely to leak. The "diaphragm squeeze" has a more efficient design that speeds up the removal of fluids. It achieves this by utilizing a compressible cake. Although more expensive than the recessed chamber, an increase in productivity may make up for the difference in cost. The earliest incarnation, which is still in use today, is called the "plate and frame." Although effective for fine filtration, they can only be used at low pressures and are prone to leaking.
While you may never have heard of a filter press, it's behind many of the products you use every day: consumable goods such as water, soft drinks, and honey; personal hygiene products like soap, shampoo, and hand lotion; and industrial sealants such as paints, varnishes, and polishes.
The filtration process may seem straightforward, but machines utilizing filter plates are actually powerful pieces of equipment that have a huge impact on the modern world.
When looking for filter plates, be sure to view the large selection offered by http://www.mwwatermark.com/Products/Filter-Press-Parts/Filter-Plates.aspx.
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