Using Filters and Strainers in Stream Processes

Filters and strainers are devices designed to remove solid particles from stream process products which are oftentimes in the form of liquid or gas. In certain applications, they reduce the risk of contamination and uphold the quality of the end product. A filter is the more preferable term used to describe a certain device that removes very fine particles of micron sizes, while a strainer generally comes with a screen or tube to remove larger particles from a stream process. Thus, one can argue that a strainer is just the coarse version of a filter. Experts agree that if the screening device removes particles coarser than 200 mesh or 74 microns, then it is a strainer. If the device screens particles less than 200 mesh, then it is a filter.

In a number of stream systems, strainers are used together with filters. Usually the strainer is installed ahead of a filter so it can remove larger heavier pieces to avoid clogging the filter. Once the fluid or gas is stripped away of larger particles, then the filter can perform its major function, which is to filter out the finer particulates in the system. This method of installation lowers the cleaning periods for the filters. Filters and strainers are used in a broad range of processing operations. They are suitable for handling gas, steam and fluids like water, and petroleum. However, filtering and straining devices are not created to remove odor and impurities. One main advantage of using filters and strainers is that they protect mechanical equipment in the piping or stream system. Examples of such mechanical equipment include pumps, meters and valves. Added protection for these devices helps to extend their longevity.

Filters and strainers are manufactured in various designs. Some of the typical strainer designs include basket strainers, Y strainers, T strainers, simplex strainers, and duplex basket strainers. Basket strainers are called as such because the screens they come with are in the form of a basket. Strainers are not only limited to removing dirt; they can also isolate materials that are not wanted in a fluid or gas process. Sometimes they remove valuable products or items from the flow. Some of the common styles for filters include duplex filters, bypass filters, pressure filters and suction filters. Some leading manufacturers create filter product lines dedicated for hydraulic fluid processes. This is because high quality filtration is needed for sensitive hydraulic circuits, which oftentimes register varying pressure during operation.

The performance of filter and strainer elements determines the purity of the fluid and gas. Oftentimes, the designs and materials of such elements are based on specific applications and their contamination retention capacity. Straining and filtering units can also be fabricated to possess features that meet certain application requirements. Some companies even offer completely automated strainer and filter systems. Such systems allow devices to undergo automatic cleaning processes, therefore, reducing disposal process and downtime. In choosing filters and strainers, the best ones are usually made of high quality materials and exhibit multilayer designs which will ensure very efficient particle retention and maximum protection. Straining and filtering units made from high quality material possess long service life, which result in cost-effective usage.