What is a Filter Press and How Does it Work?
A filter press is one of the oldest and most trusted pieces of dewatering equipment. It’s used for wastewater treatment across a variety of industries and applications. A filter press works by separating out solids from liquids, removing impurities, and suspended solids from industrial wastewater. This allows plant managers to easily handle and dispose of waste while returning clean water to their systems.
Filter presses separate liquids and solids. Specifically, the filter press separates the liquids and solids using pressure filtration across a filter media. Afterward, the slurry is pumped into the filter press and then dewaters under pressure.
Basically, the concentrate filter press design is based on the dewatering volume and type of slurry. ChemREADY is an expert in liquid and solid separation and offers a wide range of filter press types and capacities to suit specific application needs for trouble-free, economical dewatering.
The origin of the filter press dates to around the mid-19th century in the United Kingdom, where a rudimentary form of the press was used to obtain vegetable oil from seeds. However, it wasn’t until major developments in the mid-20th century that engineers were able to develop the world’s first automatic horizontal-type filter press.
It’s this long history of advancements that’s allowed the filter presses of today to achieve significantly lower energy and maintenance costs compared to their belt press and centrifuge counterparts. In fact, the total operating filtration cost for a filter press can easily be 1/6 the cost of what it would be for a belt press or centrifuge.
While there are many different styles of modern filter presses, the plate and frame filter press are one of the oldest and most tested types of dewatering equipment available. You can read more on this type of filter press, along with a more detailed comparison between different types of dewatering equipment, in our Water Facts blog on How Industrial Wastewater Pretreatment Works.
Filter presses are especially useful as the leftover solids are cheaper and easier to move than the entire slurry. With the clean water that filter presses return, plant managers can discharge that to their local municipalities, watersheds or use the water in their own closed-loop systems, creating highly efficient processes.
Without a filter press or similar pieces of dewatering equipment, a settling pond is often the first option for water treatment. Not only do ponds require a large amount of real estate to use, but they also lose their ability to clean water over time as the solids that you remove build up in the pond water. This gives ponds an unfavorable long-term ROI as dirty water will eventually start coming back into your process unless you dredge the pond or make a new pond. At ChemREADY, we advise the use of a filter press and other dewatering equipment over a pond in most applications.
During the fill cycle, the slurry pumps into the filter press and distributes evenly during the fill cycle. Solids build up on the filter cloth, forming the filter cake in the void volume of the plate. The filtrate, or clean water, exits the filter plates through the ports and discharges clean water out the side of the plates.
Filter presses are a pressure filtration method. As the filter press feed pump builds pressure, the solids build within the chambers until they are completely full of solids. This forms the cake. The filter cakes release when the plates are full, and the cycle is complete. Also, many higher capacity filter presses use fast action automatic plate shifters which speeding cycle time. Matec specifically designs their filter presses for fully automatic, 24-hour operation in a harsh environment such as mines or chemical manufacturing plants for wastewater treatment.