FFP - Filter Press and Slurry Dewatering System
Sludge dewatering using filter presses has become accepted as a reliable and efficient method of dewatering effluents and sludges from industrial and municipal waste treatment processes.
Filter press manufacturer equipment available in Canada
Some typical applications include:
- Metal hydroxide sludge
- Brine sludge
- Secondary biological sludge
- Water treatment alum sludge
- Oily sludge
One of the most difficult problems today is the disposal of sludges in waste treatment. Dewatered sludges from traditional dewatering equipment, (i.e. rotary vacuum drum filters, centrifuges and belt presses), are less acceptable for disposal in landfills and due to their high moisture content they are not economical feasible. The filter press process results in drier sludge that has proven to be an effective solution to this problem.
For example – sludges (such as alum sludge and waste activated sludge) that were previously considered difficult to dewater on traditional equipment can now be dewatered in a filter press sufficiently to produce a hard, dry, easily handled and autogenous material for incineration.
The filter press fundamentally comprises various chamber filter plates (also referred to as recessed filter plate pack) mounted vertically on and between two sidebars or suspended from an overhead support shaft. The support beams or sidebars are linked toward one side to a fixed head, otherwise called a feed head, and at the opposite end to an end head. Through a closing arrangement on the end head, generally a hydraulic slam, the recessed filter plate pack is compacted firmly together between the fixed feed head and a third head known as the moving head. This forms a compact filtering unit utilizing recessed chamber filter plates or flush plates and frames.
The filter cake chambers are formed in either of two ways: by mating two recessed chamber plates or by two flush plates with a cake frame (much like a picture frame) sandwiched in between.
The two faces of the filter plate have a drainage surface in the form of ribs, grooves or pips to allow filtrate to drain behind the cloth to the drainage ports located in each corner of the filter plates. These ports, in turn, connect to the corner eyes, which carry the filtrate drainage to the fixed end of the filter press.
A filter cloth is mounted over each of the two faces of the filter plate. The cloth is joined at the feed eye by an impervious sleeve or tube also known as a barrel neck.
Filter Press Feed Cycle
Sludge is fed into the filter press by a suitable pumping system and passes through the feed eye of the succeeding plates along the length of the plate pack until all chambers are full of slurry. This is known as the fast fill portion of the filter cycle.
Flowing under pressure, the solid particles begin to deposit on the surface of the filter cloth forming the initial layer of filter cake referred to as the pre-coat. Once applied, this pre-coat layer becomes the actual filtering medium.
As filtering continues the cake thickness gradually increases, until the adjacent filter cake in each chamber touch or bridge. At this point of the filter cycle, the dewatering phase enters into final cake consolidation to achieve maximum cake dryness (Refer to figures 1 to 6).
Extra solids are being pumped into the filter chamber during the consolidation step. The result of this is a dryer, firmer and denser filter cake. This cycle typically proceeds until the liquid flow has been reduced to virtually nil. Now, the feed pump is stopped and the internal pressure inside the plate is relieved.
Before releasing the filter cake, the cake might be further washed in place for impurity extraction or neutralization purposes and/or the cake might be blown with air to remove free moisture and to dry the filter cake (see Section 9 for further explanation).
The hydraulic closure system is actuated to withdraw the moving head to its completely open position once the pressured is relieved inside the filter plate pack. When open, every filter plate is isolated from its neighbor to permit the filter cake to fall freely from between the isolated chambers. The plates might be moved manually or by a semi or completely motorized equipment depending on the size of the press.
The basic filter press dewatering system consists of the filter press, sludge feed pumps, sludge storage and/or sludge conditioning tanks. The latter includes slow speed mixers, sludge transfer pumps, chemical feed, storage equipment, necessary piping, valves and controls. There are two kinds of filter press systems. These are:
- High Pressure (For Example 225 PSI or 16 Bar)
- Low Pressure (For Example 100 PSI or 7 Bar)
Numerous sludge-dewatering filter press systems are intended for automatic system operation from the main control board. A basic flowchart is illustrated in Figure 10.
During the first step of the filter press dewatering cycle, the filtrate flow from a huge press can be as much as 10,000 to 20,000 gallons for every hour. This part of the process is usually called the fast fill. During this phase, the cake chambers of the filter press gather a significant amount of sludge solids. As the chambers have increasingly been filled with sludge solids, the pressure inside the filter press plate pack rises and the filtrate flow quickly declines.
By the end of the cycle, the filtrate flow steadily drops to virtually nothing. This part of the cycle is called the cake consolidation step. During this phase, more sludge solids are being forced under tension into the cake chambers, which thus displaces more water from the loosely formed sludge cake. This allows the filter press to produce harder and drier cakes than other strategies for dewatering.
Factors affecting cycle time are the type of sludge and sludge feed concentration. Generally speaking, the higher the sludge feed concentration, the shorter the cycle time.
An average cycle duration for a typical metal hydroxide sludge would be around one to three hours, but it can be as much as four to six hours for more difficult sludge like an alum sludge.
In certain applications like base metal concentrate slurries, where the feed concentration can be as high as 40% to half by weight, the cycles take only 5 to 10 minutes.
Typical results from the filter press are expressed in percent cake dry solids by weight in Table 1 below.
The filter cloths are woven fabrics using monofilament or multifilament synthetic fibers or a blend of both. The most regularly utilized materials are polypropylene, polyester and nylon. Filter cloths are chosen for filtration, strength and cake release properties. With the best possible material choice, good cloth life (ordinarily 1500 to 1800 cycles) and good cake release from the filter cloth can be anticipated.
Filter cloth style usually depends on the kind of filter plate chosen for the application. Shown below are two kinds of filter plates. Caulked and gasket recess filter plate (Figure 11) is the type where a cord is sewn into the filter cloth to protect the fabric into the cloth-retaining groove in the filter plate. On the other hand, recessed filter plate (Figure 12) is where the filter cloth is secured by cloth dog pins or electrical ties.
Numerous kinds of industrial sludge like metal hydroxide sludge can be dewatered in a filter press with no pre-treatment other than that required for pH correction.
In many cases, biological waste-activated sludge, where a huge level of organic materials is available, require chemical treatment or conditioning to render the sludge suitable for dewatering in a filter press.
Efficient sludge conditioning or pre-treatment is characterized by any modification to the raw sludge that adequately reduces viscosity, resistance to flow, increased filtration rates or increased solids concentration in the sludge feed. These changes can be made physically or chemically.
Chemically conditioning the sludge includes coagulation and flocculation of the sludge fine particles to create a filterable floc structure.
The physical procedures for conditioning sludge are heat treating and freezing.
A third technique for rendering sludge more filterable is the introduction of bulking agents: filter aid (diatomaceous earth), fly ash or any other solid, which would give porosity in the sludge cake to improve filterability.
Chemical conditioning is proven to be the most economical when costs of capital equipment, conditioning agents, transportation and treatment of conditioning agents are considered. This is also the most utilized method of filtration treatment.
Essential coagulants of the trivalent salt arrangement tend to produce the most stable flocs for filter pressing. High molecular weight polyelectrolytes can be used with good outcomes through proper pH control.
Good floc stability and strength are important. A weak floc will easily collapse under filtration pressure or will shear within the filter press and impair filtration performance.
Commonly used conditioners for sludge treatment are: (a) Ferric Chloride, (b) Alum, (c) Lime and (d) Polyelectrolyte.
Ferric chloride is usually delivered in fluid form (39% solution) and kept in corrosion-resistant storage tanks. Water is regularly added and mixed to give a diluted solution of around 10% to 15% strength.
Alum is usually delivered in fluid form (48% solution) and kept in corrosion-resistant storage tanks. Water is regularly added and mixed to give a diluted solution of around 10% strength.
Typically, lime would be in a slaked or hydrated form. This is normally kept in bulk (lime silo) and/or dispensed out of 50 lbs. bags. Estimated amounts are then fed to a tank where a 10% strength milk of lime mixture is made by adding water and mixing thoroughly.
Polyelectrolyte (polymer) can be provided in three different ways: a dry powder, a liquid solution, or a liquid emulsion form. The polymer must be diluted and blended before use. The mixed stock (neat) solution at 0.1% to 0.2% strength is kept in a corrosion-resistant tank and afterward can be diluted at the point of application.
Usually, most types of sludge can be treated with any of the abovementioned or a blend of conditioners. However, a specific sludge will promptly react to a particular conditioner or a mix of conditioners to give ideal dewatering properties.
- Conditioning agents can be added directly to the sludge-conditioning tank.
- Properly controlled Polymer can be added at the suction side of the filter press feed pump. This method is also an effective method of introducing the treatment chemical in the “inline” prior to the filter press.
- The preferred method involves introducing the conditioning agent directly into the line and blended with the sludge by a static inline mixer prior to the conditioning tank.
The size of the conditioning tank is another important item to be considered. The detention time in the sludge tank and tank mixer selection has an influence on the floc’s structure and strength. This must be considered when sizing the tank and mixer so as not to impart excess shear on the sludge floc due to prolonged detention time and mixing. Normally a tank size with a maximum of 20 minutes pumping capacity at the fast fill rate is selected. The tank mixer should be low speed with a low shear impeller designed for a maximum tip speed of less than 500 ft./minute.
A quality pumping system doesn't impart excess shear or deteriorate the sludge particles or chemically formed floc. It is significant in the structure of a filter press dewatering system.
The feed pump’s qualities, required for appropriate filter press operation, should be capable of delivering high volume/low pressure at first, and afterward a declining low volume/consistent high pressure during the last phase of the filter cycle.
The four most basic kinds of pumps utilized are:
- Ram or Piston Pumps, Usually Hydraulically Driven
- Double Diaphragm Pumps, Air Driven
- Piston Membrane Pumps
- Progressive Cavity Pumps With Speed Control
The pumps of the first three types should consistently incorporate a surge suppression tank mounted on the discharge side of the pump to dampen pressure surges on the filter.
Pre-coating the filter press with a filter aid (i.e. diatomaceous earth) is normally not required when dewatering in a filter press at low pressure. Provided that the initial fill rate to the filter press is properly selected with the correct feed pump system, then the impingement of the solids in the filter cloth interstices causing cloth blinding. This is a normal process of the filter press and does not present a problem.
With the more difficult waste activated sludges, such as the oily and gelatinous type, a pre-coating may be desirable to protect the filter cloth from premature blinding and to promote a more economical (shorter) press cycle. The pre-coat also ensures better sludge cake release from the filter cloth during cake discharge process.
Pre-coating with a filter aid requires the preparation of the pre-coat solution in a pre-coat tank. Recalculating this solution through the filter and back to the tank until the entire filter aid has been deposited on the filter cloths. This process normally takes 10 to15 minutes.
When pre-coating large capacity filter presses, provisions for double-feeding (feeding from both ends) the filter press should be strongly considered to ensure a uniform pre-coat throughout the filter.
The filter press is regularly elevated to permit the filter cakes to fall freely. The cakes can be dealt within one of the following ways for removal to landfill or incineration.
- Cakes Discharge Into Trucks
- Cakes Discharged Into Conveyors (Screw, Belt, or Drag Chain) Under the Press For Transportation Elsewhere
- Cakes Discharged Into Dumper Boxes (i.e. Dumpster Type for Truck Pick Up)
The third strategy referenced is commonly utilized within bigger plants where the amount of sludge cake or end disposal technique justifies the additional cost.
Recessed plate filter press has become more sophisticated (with completely mechanized plate shifters, automatic drip trays, gasket style plates, etc.). Filter presses are being specified instead of pressure leafs and pressure rounded tubular type filters for process polishing applications.
Pre-coated and properly operated, a filter press will create an effluent quality equal to any other conventional liquid/solid separation device.
The filter press offers a few essential and operational perks.
- Simple to operate and maintain. Very few moving parts. Filter elements and media are easily accessible.
- No unfiltered heel at end of cycle. No fluid to reprocess. All heel is blown forward as filtrate. No danger of dropping filter cakes during heel blowback.
- Thorough cake washing or extraction can be accomplished very simply, again with no danger of cake sloughing during emptying process fluid and refilling with wash liquor.
- No pressure vessel to contend with. Recessed plates form their own pressure chamber.
- Cake can be discharged wet or dry, as desired.
- Cake may be either blown dry with air or a cake consolidation cycle can be run for maximum cake dryness.
- No exotic materials of construction. In most standard filter presses, all wetted parts are polypropylene. For high temperature applications 90 degrees C (194 °F) and above, FRP and metallic plates can be provided.
- No danger of damaging presses due to “bridging” of plates.
- The entire operation may be fully automated.
- Very cost-competitive compared to tank type pressure leaf, pressure tube or vacuum filters.
The third strategy referenced is commonly employed within bigger plants where the amount of sludge cake or end disposal technique justifies the additional cost.
Typical Polishing Applications
- Carbon Removal From Corn Syrups
- Edible Oils (for Bleaching Clay or Nickel Catalyst Recovery)
- Evaporated 50% Caustic
- Saturated Brine for Chlor-Alkali Production
- Swarf Removal From Cutting Fluids
- Various Acids (Sulfuric, Acetic, Hydrochloric)
Impurities or soluble matter can be extracted or leached from the filter cake by washing the filter cake after it has been formed. The washing medium, water or other liquor/solvent, is forced through the filter cake by pumping at a pressure slightly in excess of the terminating filter pressure. For best washing results, the filter cake should be of uniform thickness and consistency.
There are two types of washing methods practiced; simple washing and thorough washing.
In simple washing, the wash liquor is introduced to the filter in the same direction as the feed, entering directly into the slurry inlet. Simple washing is sometimes the best method to practice when there is a wide range of particle size distribution or when the frame or cake chamber is not completely filled with filter cake.
In thorough washing using recessed chamber plates, the washing liquor is fed into one of the filtrate outlet connections on the filter press and enters into the drainage area behind the cloth of the washing plate. It is then forced to flow back through the filter cloth of the wash plate, through the cake and through the filter cloth of the adjacent non-wash plate and then discharges from the non-wash plate (Refer to figure 13).
A filter using flush plates and frames set up for through washing has separate slurry feed and wash feed ports, and either the same or separated discharge ports for filtrate and wash liquor outlet. During thorough washing the slurry feed inlet and wash plate outlets are closed thus forcing the wash liquor entering the washing plates to flow back through the filter cloth, through the cake, through the cloth of the adjacent non-washing plate and discharge from the outlet of this plate (Refer to figure 14).
Blowing the filter cake with air or some other gas can be used to reduce the free moisture retained in the filter cake or in the filtrate outlet channels. As in the washing operation, air blowing can be accomplished either by simple blowing or thorough blowing.
Wash plates are normally marked by three buttons on the upper outside corner or with one button in the non-wash plates. In a plate and frame style filter, the cake frame is marked with a two-button designation.
- Cake Discharge Chutes
- Dumper Boxes
- Screw and Belt Conveyors
- Membrane Squeeze Skids
- Feed Pump Skids
- Cake Wash Skids - Water and Acid
- Stainless Steel Filter Presses
- Stainless Steel Clad Filter Presses
- Splash Drapes
- Safety Guards
- Trailer Mounted units
- 100 PSI and 225 PSI filtration pressures
- Sidebar and Overhead design
- Plate and Frame
- Recessed Plate
- Recessed Membrane Plates
- Recessed Mix-Pack Membrane
- Filter Media - Polypropylene, Polyester, Nylon, Cotton
- Manual Press Closure
- Electro/Hydraulic Closure
- Semi-automatic Pneumatic Cylinder Plate Shifting
- Fully-automatic Hydraulic Plate Shifting
- Manual Lift Out Trays
- Infra-Red Light Curtains
- Trip Wires/Pendant Stations
- Portable Hand Held Cloth Washers
- Automatic Cake Discharge Presse
FFP Systems Inc. is a company in Mississauga, ON that offers a variety of filtration systems. All the filter presses are customized by our engineering design team to meet the needs of our clients. The following is a list of dewatering products that we provide for customization:
- Automax Presses With Full Plate Opening
- Hydraulically Operated
- Manual Filter Press
- Membrane Squeeze
- Multiple Plate Indexing
- OH Filter Presses (Overhead)
- Pneumatically Operated
- SB Filter Presses (Sidebar)
- Single Index Shifting
- Steam Press
We also have an extensive selection of filter plates for your filtration systems. Kindly read through our list to find out more about the options we offer.
- 304/316 Stainless Steel
- Cast Iron
At FFP Systems Inc., we understand that each client has their specific needs, and those needs are the driving force that shape the design engineering of the equipment. We apply the necessary modifications to our equipment and process to tailor our solution to our client’s industrial needs.
Industries We Offer Our Dewatering Equipment To
- Aggregates, Cement and Asphalt
- Bauxite, Aluminum
- Brine Sludge
- Food and Beverage
- Metal Hydroxide – Concentrate and Leaching
- Iron Ore
- Rare Earth Metals
- Municipal Waste
- Pigment and Dyes
- Sulfuric Acid Production
FFP Systems Inc. has the capability to design and build filtration systems to meet our clients’ industrial requirements. We have a comprehensive filter press catalog that features technical data to help guide new consumers to form an idea of the type of filter press they may need for their process. The catalog considers the capacity and dimensional data for filter presses as well as operating pressure guides. Scroll through to find out more.