UK manufactured Filtermist centrifugal oil mist collectors are trusted by many of the world’s leading manufacturers to protect people from exposure to harmful airborne metalworking fluid particles.
The company's CEO James Stansfield, who has worked for Filtermist since 1998, explains how the core product has grown from originally being assembled in the company founder’s home, to a name synonymous with effective oil mist extraction around the world….
First made in the 1960s, Filtermist oil mist filters have undergone several design improvements over the past 50 years - resulting in their current position as a recognised industry leader in more than 60 countries worldwide.
Filtermist’s founder, Jeremy Lywood, first had the idea for Filtermist after being impressed by the American crude oil mist filtration systems he saw whilst working at the Ford Motor Company factory in Dagenham.
The very first ‘Filtermist’ units were made in Jeremy’s kitchen at Hoccum House near Bridgnorth (which lent its name to Hoccom Developments, as the company was first known), where he would hand drill every single perforation in the internal drum. The funds he gathered through selling a unit would be put towards manufacturing the next one.
Demand for Jeremy’s product led him to form an official company in 1969, and with the help of investor Martin Thompson, Jeremy secured the rental of a building within the nearby Stanmore Country Park industrial estate and formed Filtermist.
Whilst there were other products on the market made overseas which used electrostatic technology or replaceable cartridges, it is widely believed Filtermist was the first UK-based company to assemble and build this type of centrifugal oil mist extraction unit.
How Filtermist oil mist collectors work
As with many ingenious inventions, the principles of the Filtermist are elegantly simple. A perforated drum with specially design vanes rotates at high speed, oil mist is drawn into the unit and impacts on its vanes at high velocity. Special drum pads assist the coalescing process and filter out stray solid particles. Centrifugal force pushes oil to the unit’s outer case where it drains back to the machine for re-use or collection, and clean air is returned to the workshop through the top of the unit.
Honing the design
The original Filtermist units were cylindrical due to the nature of the internal drum. Over the past 50 years a number of different designs have been trialled including a horizontally mounted cylindrical unit, a cylindrical unit with a square Afterfilter, and a version - known as the compact range - which saw the unit located inside a cube shaped case, aiming to make the unit more aesthetically pleasing when mounted on an ‘angular’ machine tool. However, the original, vertically mounted cylindrical design has proved time and again to be the most effective, and indeed most recognisable and iconic, for centrifugal technology.
The introduction of the FiltermistXcel2 range in 2005, developed alongside The Defence Evaluation and Research Agency (DERA) at Porton Down, saw a radical design change in the shape of the apertures in the top of the unit. The previous incarnations all had circles cut out of the steel casing to allow the filtered air back into the workplace – these circles were replaced with the current teardrop shaped design and the diaphragm was changed from horizontal to concave to improve the flow of air past the motor.
It was around this time that the silencer pads were also upgraded to provide more effective sound absorption.
All Filtermists contain ‘drums’ with specially designed vanes which both assist the coalescing process and create the suction, thus creating an ingenious combined fan and collection device. These drums have been tweaked over seven different iterations of the unit to reach the point of maximum performance offered by the latest product ranges.
As manufacturing technologies advanced, Afterfilters were introduced as an optional extra to provide an additional filtration stage to capture fine smoke particles in the early 1980s.
The design of the Afterfilters has seen various changes in terms of shape, material, volume of material and the type of casing - the current range ensures customers can benefit from up to 99.95% filtration efficiency if required.
Official Filtermist Afterfilters are designed to perfectly fit the Filtermist unit, ensuring an aesthetically pleasing solution that retains the compact nature of the units on their own.
Whilst Afterfilters are still sold as an optional accessory in most global regions, in some territories such as the UK, Canada and Italy they are included as standard with all unit sales.
S Fusion and FX Fusion
Filtermist introduced its ‘Fusion’ solution to effectively remove submicron particles generated in high spindle speed and high-pressure neat oil applications with the launch of S Fusion in 2016 followed by FX Fusion in 2019. Both Fusion solutions combine a hi-tech patented synthetic self-draining media filter with Filtermist’s proven centrifugal technology - offering an effective alternative to other products in the high-pressure coolant market.
The first F Monitor was launched back in 2013, followed by the F Monitor 2 and 2+ six years later. The original dual monitoring system was designed to monitor airflow and time - using a traffic light warning system to alert machine operators if the system needed servicing.
The newer model, which is Bluetooth enabled, also monitors temperature and vibration – making it even easier to identify if the extraction system needs attention.
F Monitors can be retrofitted to the entire Filtermist range to provide the machine operator with a visual indication that the unit is working efficiently.
Just as many everyday objects have been improved and developed over time yet retained their original essence, Filtermist oil mist collectors have evolved over the past 50+ years into the seven current models which are trusted by many of the world’s leading manufacturers to effectively remove oil and coolant mist, fume and steam from workshop air. With over 300,000 units in the field in over 60 countries, and a global service and support network second to none, Filtermist units are a tried and tested solution for cost-effective oil mist control in factories around the world.
As the saying goes, “why reinvent the wheel?”
Please contact us to find out more about why Filtermist has been the oil mist filter of choice for many multi-national manufacturers for more than 50 years.
*Hear more from Tony Dale here: https://youtu.be/DIRSRsmai9w