So Many Choices. Where to Begin?

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Photo credit: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Selecting the right type of filtration equipment to use in liquid and solid separation is its own kind of sleuthing.

With such a wide range of equipment available, and only several basic principles of solid/liquid separation (pressure, vacuum and centrifugation), there are many considerations to weigh in determining the best, most cost effective, and efficient choice for a given situation.

Making this choice also requires you to be extra careful when working with suppliers who only offer one type of filtration equipment. The solution they offer may be “made” to work, but may not necessarily be the smartest choice.

No matter what, you’re going to need to carry out your own basic evaluations of possible or probable solutions and to establish which routes not to follow.

Where to begin?

There are several factors to consider before determining the best starting point:

  • Batch or Continuous Process 
  • Quantity:  Amount of slurry / liquids / solids to be filtered
  • Type of discharge: dry solids, wet solids, or concentrated slurry
  • Operation:  Automatic or manual
  • Product:  solid or liquid or both
  • Review the entire upstream and downstream process:  reactor cycle time, crystal sizing/breakage, solids handling, drying time, and other parameters.

Having gathered all of this information, the engineer is now in a position to get started. Yes, that’s right, get started. But this challenge is part of what makes process engineering fun every day, right?

We also have to find pleasure in the fact that the filtration equipment market is always evolving. As the world’s population grows, there's increased need cleaner energy, improved water & food and advanced health care, all of which require us to continually improve filtration and separation technology.

This new blog aims to help by being forward-thinking about trends in the filtration market space, innovation, and business leadership. Let me know what you think!

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Elementary, My Dear Process Engineers!

Back in 2013, I encountered an article on Maria Konnikova's book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes. Businessweek had it in their MasterClass section in which they scan the book so we "don't have to." Yet I was intrigued enough to want to read the entire book (and you should too). Solid-liquid separation (SLS) may not have the glamor of investigating blackmail and burglary, extortion and espionage or murder and mayhem, yet I was struck by the similarities between process engineers and Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson.
I have spoken widely and published articles purusing my idea that mindfulness, astute observation, and logical deduction are among the attributes we share with the famous fictional duo.

Cover image from
Cover image from

In my newly released practical guide to Solid-Liquid Filtration, I argue SLS process engineers have several similar attributes to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson. For example, we:

  • Know there is no benefit to jumping to conclusions.
  • Benefit from working with others to recreate events.
  • Apply problem-solving skills such as occasional silence, employing distancing and learning to discern the crucial from the incidental.

Since most university curricula don't cover solid-liquid filtration, many engineers are left clueless as to where or how to begin. With this blog, I'll be drawing on my over 30 years in the industry, to help provide engineers with a framework to analyze and think about process filtration problems. I'll also be sharing my thoughts on other interesting reads and my experiences working with BHS Filtration and our European counterpart BHS-Sonthofen GmbH I'll be focusing on the accurate and unbiased facts -- just as Sherlock himself would want me to do!

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