Filter media manufacturing process: Conventional or additive manufacturing case study

N. Burns*, M. Burns, D. Travis, L. Geekie, Croft Additive Manufacturing Ltd, UK

Traditionally, metal filter media are manufactured using conventional processes from perforated plate and one or more layers of woven wire mesh. For bespoke filtration media, some steps in the process may be automated but most processes are performed by hand. The AM process forms the part, layer by layer, according to the CAD design.

Here we will compare the CON processes and the AM processes in the construction of two comparable filter designs, one CON filter and one AM filter, with respect to tooling and setup, pressure drop, labour time in individual process steps, materials, and waste to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the process types to determine the cost-effectiveness of each process and performance of each filter.

The design freedoms of AM allow for highly complex forms of AM filter media to be produced however these filter types may not be directly comparable. Therefore we have selected the simplest witches hat filter design that comprises of a single layer of mesh with a flange to compare the cost effectiveness of the CON and AM processes. Production batch size for the witches hat filters was 80 of each type. The labour time involved in each step was recorded and the amount of material used and waste produced was noted. Costs for each of the processes were calculated and the results compared. The pressure drop of the filters at different flow rates in the forwards and backwards flow direction was recorded and compared.

The overall labour time in the CON process was 22% greater compared to that involved in the AM process. Material costs were 20% less in the AM process compared to the CON. Overall, there was no great difference in the cost effectiveness between the processes. The products produced are similar but not exact replicas. Feedback from the end-users indicated that the AM witches hat performs better in their application. In-house testing showed that the AM filters had a reduces pressure drop compared to their CON equivalents....

Session: F4 - Filter Media - Advanced Manufacturing Methods II
Day: 13 October 2016
Time: 10:45 - 12:00 h

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