ProVent, LLC

How do oil mist collectors work? Comparing the different technologies, part I


Courtesy of ProVent, LLC

There are multiple different physical mechanics used by the industrial tools referred to as “oil mist collectors. Over the next two entries, we’re going to take a look at the four most common technologies and why a business might want to use or avoid each one.

Centrifugal Mist Collectors
The first modern use for industrial oil mist collection was on the gear boxes of nuclear submarines — the original placement of a centrifugal mist collector. As the name implies, centrifugal collectors consist of a circular, rotating filter that spins all of the air inside. The heavier particles are pushed backwards into the filter while the lighter particles — clean air — escape through a hole in the top. The oils then pass through the filter and onto the inside of a drum, where the spinning air propels it along the inside surface of the drum until it reaches a drain, where it can be collected for re-use or disposed of.

Centrifugal collectors are ideal when:

  • The mechanism needs to sit at an odd angle, because gravity is not a factor in the operation of the collector.

Centrifugal collectors are not as useful for:

  • Processing very fine droplets (intovery fine droplets due to the air turbulence inside the unit.
  • Total Cost of Ownership. These collectors require frequent cleaning and recalibration to keep the centrifuge balanced, and the energy cost of the units tends to be very high.

Cartridge Mist Collectors
Also known as “media filter mist eliminators”, these machines use a HEPA-type filter to take the oil particles out of the air exactly like you’re used to thinking of a filter working. Air blows through the filter, and anything that’s not air gets caught in the filter.

Cartridge collectors are ideal when:

  • You need a mostly-silent method of filtration.
  • You have a mixture of liquid and solid particles that need to be removed.
  • You are pre-filtering with a wet dust collector or similar primary filtration method.

Cartridge collectors are not as useful for:

  • Operations where square footage is at a premium, as they tend to be quite bulky.
  • Operations where maintaining a high airflow is critical, because as the filters fill up, they reduce airflow.

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