Pretoria-based specialised engineering solutions company Rand Technical Services (RTS) reports that its industrial cyclone air-filtering technology has experienced a boost in market share after being introduced to the South African market about 15 years ago.
“In its basic form, the cyclone air-filtering technology has been in use for well over 30 years worldwide, but initially, local uptake was slow. This, however, has changed as developments are making the technology more cost effective.
“Owing to advancements that have also made the technology more efficient and low maintenance – an added feature to its long-duty life – more engineers are incorporating these filters into their specifications,” explains RTS chairperson Ian Fraser.
He adds that RTS has been working on improving and customising the industrial cyclone air-filtering technology to meet local industry specifications, adding that the latest development projects include specific designs for dust removal on rock drilling rigs for surface and underground projects.
“Further, inertial spin filters can be used in an efficient and cost-effective manner in any application where dust needs to be removed from an air stream. Applications have, for instance, included clean air for control rooms and variable- speed drive rooms, as well as intake systems for air compressors.”
Cyclone Technology Benefits
Fraser emphasises that market reception has been boosted specifically because of the advancements that have resulted in RTS’s inertial spin-filter technology for industrial dust and exhaust separation being virtually maintenance-free, thereby saving companies time and money.
“The technology works in such a way that its spin-filter units are a high-efficiency application of cyclone technology, whereby dust-laden air is blown through a module comprising a series of small vortexes that remove the dust from the air stream.
“The airflow is induced to spin by using fixed vanes at the entry point to the vortexes, with centrifugal force driving the dirt particles to the outside of the vortex,” Fraser explains.
Further, dirt-laden air is purged through an annular port at the end of the vortex tube. A purge fan is used to keep the dirt-laden waste air in flight, from where it is either dispersed or collected. Clean air then exits the unit.
This, Fraser adds, is an added advantage, as it ensures that the system is environment friendly, stating that “it leads to a considerable reduction in undesirable emissions and an increase in the return on investment, owing to less money being spent on filtration maintenance and replacement. In addition, there is a reduction in equipment breakdown and support costs”.
Moreover, the system offers unlimited capacity on engineered equipment space, as the system’s spin filters are constructed in modules that can be built up into appropriately sized panels, which can be engineered to match a specific area’s required airflow.
For instance, the smallest available unit, which contains one inertial spin filter module, handles from 1 200 Nm3/h to 2 500 Nm3/h, while an upper-range capacity is limited only by the application and the available space.
Fraser highlights that unlike conventional filter membranes, which clog because of pressure build-up after a period of use, the pressure drop in the spin-filter module never increases. In addition, the units are self-cleaning and highly energy efficient.
Fraser says that RTS’s spin filter systems have been installed at power stations, glass plants, cement factories, steel mills and at coal, gold and platinum mines. He adds that the filters have a record of providing sufficient filtration for most environmental applications, such as transformer rooms and control rooms.
He explains that, in applications that require secondary filters to remove finer particles, citing air compressor intakes as an example, spin filters substantially extend the life of the secondary filters.
RTS, established in 1988, specialises in offering innovative technologies and solutions to industrial problems. It offers globally sourced products, such as continuous belt weighers without load cells, laser-based gas detection devices for hot or corrosive areas and electrolysers for hydrogen production.
The company’s highly trained staff also offers product delivery and technical consultation throughout Southern Africa to clients in industry sectors, such as mining, glass, steel and energy.