How filtration technology improves sustainability in manufacturing

As the climate crisis intensifies, manufacturers are under greater pressure from governments and intergovernmental agencies to change the way they work. New regulations and voluntary standards continue to emerge, compelling manufacturers to reduce the amount of waste they produce, make their processes more energy efficient, and take steps to minimise their carbon footprint.

Filtration systems play a key role in helping manufacturers meet these regulations. Improving process filtration allows you to do more with less. You get greater lifetime value from your filters, which saves money and energy, plus all the marginal gains in productivity and efficiency an optimised process brings.

5 ways filtration supports sustainability

1. Preserve product quality

Contaminants and other harmful particulates can accumulate during manufacturing processes. And if this seeps into the product, it can affect the over quality which leads to unnecessary waste.

In industries like food and beverage or pharmaceuticals and healthcare, contamination from bacteria, sediment, or mould spores compromises final product quality. Depending on the contaminant, the consequences can range from a single ruined batch to nationwide recalls, all of which generate more unnecessary waste.

Filters remove these unwanted substances, helping you create consistent, high-quality products that are free from contaminants and meet relevant quality standards.

Improving product purity for specialist baby formula

A European manufacturer of specialist formula for premature babies optimised its filtration process to reduce temperature requirements during heat treatment. This preserves the natural benefits of the human breast milk it uses in its formula, which helps to protect premature babies from a common intestinal disorder.

2 . Conserve and recover resources 

Manufacturing processes are resource-intensive. Combined, US industries produce 7.6 billion tons of solid waste every year and consume an estimated 18.2 billion gallons of water every day. Filtration systems help manufacturers recover and reuse these raw materials.

Water treatment plants use sophisticated filtration systems to remove potential contaminants from water sources to improve drinking water quality, making it safe for consumption and preventing the spread of waterborne diseases. However, this also reduces demand for freshwater sources and eliminates the need for additional desalination or chemical treatments, which contribute to a manufacturer's environmental footprint.

Similarly, filtration systems enable manufacturers to recycle and reuse larger quantities of wastewater in non-critical applications, like cleaning and irrigation.

Manufacturers also use filtration systems to aid oil recovery during gas processing. For example, gas processing stations can use downstream coalescing filters to capture larger amounts of lubricating oil in reciprocating compressors. They can then reuse the captured oil in future processes, which helps to reduce operating costs and minimise waste.

In an industry dominated by replaceable products, we need to work hard to improve sustainability. Explore the challenges in our latest guide.

3. Improve process efficiency

It requires a massive amount of energy to power the world’s production lines. Manufacturing processes alone account for roughly a third of global energy output. Poorly maintained machinery exacerbates the problem as dirty, worn equipment requires more energy to produce the same output.

Correctly sized and optimised filtration systems remove unwanted particles from fluids and gases to prevent equipment fouling, minimise friction, and reduce pressure drops. This makes your processes more energy efficient, which helps to:

  • Increase production rates
  • Minimise operational downtime
  • Reduce your carbon footprint

Additionally, by enabling you to recycle and reuse more resources, effective filtration reduces the energy required for resource extraction and disposal.

Custom filter housings deliver smoother processes

Custom filter housings are essential for optimising API production processes. A bespoke filter housing design helped one multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation create smoother, longer-lasting processes. Not only does this save time and reduce costs, it helps to conserve energy.

4. Convert waste to energy

Filtration unlocks new waste-to-energy opportunities for eco-friendly manufacturers. Anaerobic digestion and pyrolysis, for example, lets you convert waste byproducts into viable energy sources, such as biofuels. These processes reduce your reliance on fossil fuels and minimise waste, allowing you to contribute to the growing circular economy.

Every little helps

Want to do more to minimise waste? Why not participate in the new schemes that take spent filters and use them in waste to energy programmes. This reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfill, which helps to minimise the impact manufacturers have on the environment.

5. Comply with environmental regulations

There are numerous environmental regulations designed to protect the planet from unsustainable manufacturing processes. These include the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of  Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directives, which aim to reduce electrical waste at landfills.

By helping you recycle more waste, optimise your processes, and conserve resources, effective filtration systems make it easier to comply with these regulations.

Improved efficiency improves the environment

The push towards greater sustainability in manufacturing processes benefits manufacturers and the planet. Using longer-lasting, correctly sized filters can cut the total lifetime costs of your filters by as much as a third. Championing sustainability also makes you a more attractive prospect to today’s consumers.

23% of consumers will pay a premium on goods and services if it supports efforts to reduce carbon emissions. As public awareness of environmental issues grows, climate-conscious customers will become even more discerning about what they buy and who they buy from.

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