Filter monitoring: An essential component for energy-efficient operation

If the careful usage of ?energy? as a resource used to be for cost reasons, today addititionally there is increased environmental awareness. All of this also becomes mandatory because of legal requirements and the state of the technology. In the following paragraphs you can read about how continuous filter monitoring crucially influences the power efficiency of a system and supports you in complying with legal requirements.
Comparison: New filter ? used filter
Whether with air filters in ventilation and air-conditioning systems or oil filters in hydraulic circuits, in both cases, increasing contamination of the filter element causes a growing pressure drop. In order to keep the flow of the medium (air or oil) constant, the fan or the pump (respectively) must apply more power. The power consumption increases. Filter monitoring signals the increasing pressure drop across a contaminated filter element. Replacing a fouled filter ensures the flow of the medium and thus prevents the energy usage of the fan or the pump from increasing.
Legal bases
With the adoption of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997, the European Union committed itself to reducing CO2 emissions. As a way to reach this climate goal, in 2005 it adopted the EuP (Energy using Products) directive. In ’09 2009, this is renamed the ErP directive (Energy-related Products directive) ? also known as the Ecodesign directive.
Pressure gauge with switch contact, model PGS21
High resistance ? high energy consumption
You can easily understand that a contaminated filter element is more resistant to the flow of a medium when compared to a new, clean element. Physically, the pressure in the inlet (filter inlet) increases ? and this can be monitored very well using a pressure measuring instrument ? and the flow rate is reduced. Because the required flow is specified, more energy must be introduced to pay for the restriction in the filter.
Costs of filter change
Energy-related vs. cost-based considerations
From an energetic point of view, a lightly soiled filter ought to be replaced straight away. This conflicts with the truth that the exchange itself generates material and labour costs. Furthermore, the exchange can only take place in the lack of both pressure and flow, and thus the machine or the procedure must be stopped. Predicated on these considerations, additionally it is clear that an exchange after a fixed amount of use, as we are familiar with annual services on cars, for instance, is not an optimal solution.
Compromise: Filter monitoring
The compromise can be an acceptable degree of contamination ? meaning a specified maximum differential pressure over the filter. Normal limit values for the differential pressure (?P) of a hydraulic filter are between 1 and 5 bar. In ventilation systems, the limit values are between 50 to 5,000 Pa (0.5 to 50 mbar). Monitoring the pressure drop saves on operating costs, since changing out the filters only happens when near reaching the accepted degree of contamination of the filter. An additional advantage is that, through continuous monitoring, the filter replacement can be scheduled in to the operational process.
Filter monitoring through measuring the pressure drop
In each case, the pressure drop across the filter is measured ? so ?P between your filter inlet and outlet. However, the pressure loss across the filter also increases with the volume flow. The ? Mammoth as a indicator of the contamination of the filter may therefore only be assessed in the defined operating state (flow and medium temperature). Filters for liquids can exceed the ?P limit as a result of brief pressure peaks. Because of inertia, these are not an issue for mechanical switches. For sensors, it is advisable to give a short dead time in the electronic evaluation (control).
Special case: Filter monitoring in hydraulic circuits
The return filters in a hydraulic circuit certainly are a special case. As the name suggests, they are in the return line, just before the oil flows back into the tank. There’s ambient pressure (atmospheric pressure) in the tank. Which means that ambient pressure is also present at the filter outlet. This simplifies monitoring, since a differential pressure sensor can now dominate the measuring task. It has a favourable effect on the costs of filter monitoring. On the main one hand, these pressure sensors are less expensive than differential pressure sensors. However, you save on needing a pressure line from the filter outlet to the low-pressure connection of the ?P sensor. Temperature measurement of the oil is vital in hydraulic circuits. This enables the high viscosity of the hydraulic oil, that is still cold when starting, to be taken into consideration, thus avoiding false alerts. The hydraulic oil temperature must control the oil cooler. It includes a significant influence on enough time over which the oil is used.
Calculation of the excessive differential pressure because of the high viscosity of cold oil
The trend in filter monitoring
Pressure sensor A-1200 with IO-Link
From ?preventive maintenance? to ?Industry 4.0? to IIoT cloud solutions ? there exists a demand for data everywhere. This is often seen clearly in the differ from traditional measuring instruments with optical displays to electrical sensors with analogue or digital output signals. When monitoring pressure filters, we are able to see the trend to displace the differential pressure sensor with gauge pressure sensors before and following the filter. This gives one both the system pressure and the pressure at the outlet of the filter, which a differential pressure sensor will not offer. The pressure drop, the difference between the two signals, is then calculated in the electronic control, in the edge computer or in the cloud.
Besides pressure sensors for filter monitoring, the WIKA portfolio covers all relevant measurement parameters which are necessary for controlling and regulating the operating states of a machine or system. Further application examples can be found on our website in the ?Industries? section.
Also read our article
Safe filter monitoring with differential pressure gauges

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