What comes to mind when you think of speed? Maybe your mind calls up images of Formula 1 races, or those time lapse videos that show dizzying light displays as the highway buzzes by in milliseconds. You might even picture those comical visuals of someone’s cheeks puffed out as they are spun in a commercial centrifugal device, whether it’s a movie about military training or a scene from an amusement park.
In the industrial world, centrifuges are a little different. Yes, they have rotary chambers that spin at high speeds, and these chambers toss heavier or denser particles to the sides of the basket or bowl. This spin-and-toss mechanism allows solid particles to be separated from liquid ones, so centrifuges are ideal for filtration services. Water-based filtration applies in industries like construction, mining, and manufacturing. Let’s look at its oil-based version.
All cars, boats, planes, and motoring devices are powered by fuel. Actually, that’s not entirely true. Some modern vehicles use electricity or solar panels. Still, most cars need petroleum-based fuels, lubricants, engine oil, coolants, and similar products. These oils often operate at high temperatures. Spark plugs are used to ignite fuel, and any contaminants could cause a fire or damage your engine parts.
It’s therefore important to filter these oil products at various stages. Before being loaded into a gas tank, fuel has to be cleaned to remove water droplets and organic particles like fungi or bacteria. Effective centrifugal oil filters include IC-45 and OC 20 to OC 50. They have inbuilt sensors that flash lights and sound alarms when water is detected, because water is harmful in itself, but it also breeds biogerms.
In the automotive industry, used oil can be programmed for filtration after a pre-set number of passes through your equipment. In cars and trucks, the oil chain passes through a filter after every loop, though only 5% to 10% gets filtered. The rest returns to the fuel system unfiltered. That minimal cleaning percentage is adequate for prolonged engine life.
Vegetable oil is an important FMCG in itself, but it’s also the basis of many other manufacturing processes. It’s used to cook, both domestically and commercially, but it’s also added to products like pet food. It can be used as preservative for products like tuna, and is an important component for spreads like margarine, peanut butter, or even Nutella. Vegetable oils are fat products which remain liquid at standard room temperature.
Food grade oils include shortening (for crumbly pastries), and oils used to carry the flavour of your food (many spices and seasonings can dissolve in oil, which makes it the main taste transporter in your food. Oil can also be used as a sort of lubricant, preventing your ingredients from clumping or sticking together. These oils have to be filtered to ensure bacteria and mould doesn’t grow in your food while it’s on the shelf.
In such cases, oil-based additives work as a preservative, helping your food products last longer. They can be used to treat wooden furniture and boats, as insulators in electronics, and as components in lubricants and biofuel. Oil centrifuges are used to clean this oil, both before insertion and after use, for recycling and safe disposal. Used vegetable oil is biodegradable, but its contaminants rarely are, so filtration is essential before disposal.
Beauty and cosmetics
In restaurants, vegetable oil used in deep fryers can quickly pile up. It needs to be filtered before it’s poured out. Large food chains can arrange to have their oil collected and centrifuged to remove food particles. The used oil can then be re-packaged as yellow grease. This grease is used for biofuel and beauty products.
Vegetable oil is a key component for make-up, soaps, perfumes, skin care products, and similar brands. The oil used in these items must be completely purified because contamination can cause rashes, infections, and worse – law suits. Centrifuges are therefore a key part of the production process – both for the oil itself and for the products it will be added to. Vegetable oil is extracted from seeds mechanically or using solvents.
Some vegetable oils are hydrogenated and/or deodorised using steam treatments. This lightens the oils and removes impurities. However, the oil is will need centrifugal filtering afterwards to make sure all the water was extracted. Otherwise, it could foster the growth of fungi and bacteria in your vegetable oil.