When to replace a membrane filter

To guarantee the quality of your product, you must replace membrane filters before they fail. 

Membrane filters have tiny and tightly packed pores which makes them great for complex filtration processes or as a final filter in your filtration chain. But this also means that a filter can quickly become blocked when handling large volumes of material. 

To minimise disruption, you must know when to replace a membrane filter.

Signs its time to replace your membrane filter

Not sure when to replace your membrane filter? Look out for these three signs:

  • Flow rate changes
  • Steam sterilisation cycle limits
  • Failed integrity test

Is filtration management on your food and drink production lines good enough? Learn how to make it better in our guide.

Flow rate changes

In gas filtration processes, prefilters protect membrane filters from contamination. But in liquid filtration, this isn't the case. Commonly, membrane filters do some of the work of prefilters, not just taking out microorganisms but particulate/organic contaminants too. This can lead to blockages which, in turn, can lead to a rapid rise in differential pressure. It's important to change the membrane filter before you reach an exponential rise.

Close monitoring is a good idea, and historical data on your processes can give you a good indication of when to replace a membrane filter. You can also look at existing prefiltration and flow rates to get an idea of how soon the filter may need changing, as a flow rate that's too high can result in much quicker blockage rates.

Steam sterilisation cycle limits

When your membrane filter reaches the steam sterilisation cycle limit, you must replace it as soon as possible. It's always best to validate against your own processes rather than relying on the data published in manufacturer validation guides. Why? Because your process conditions can often differ and be more demanding than the 'ideal' laboratory test setup. It's always prudent to change before it reaches the maximum number of steam cycles.

A reliable filter supplier should take the time to understand your unique processes and provide solutions that work optimally.

Integrity tests

The biggest indication that you need to replace your membrane filter is when it's not performing to specification. If your filter fails an integrity test and isn't removing to specification, you should replace it immediately. Failure to do so could result in potential contamination of your final product.

With accurate product and process validation, this issue should never become a problem because you know that you've got the right solution for your process.

Why it's important to replace membrane filters before they fail

Membrane filters are typically used at the last point in a critical process. They guarantee the final product's quality, so you must change them before they fail.

Replacing membrane filters can be costly, so you'll want to get maximum value from each one. However, there could be serious repercussions if you don't change it before it fails. Your company could suffer reputational damage if you're forced to recall products due to contamination caused by an ineffective filter. 

Knowing when to replace a membrane filter is also important. If you don't change it in time, it could cause significant disruption to your processes and increase costs.

When to think about changing supplier

It might also be time to think about changing your supplier if you aren't happy with the performance of your membrane filters. Manufacturers provide performance guidelines based on a filter's performance in ideal conditions, but these aren't always representative of your individual process. It's essential to test the integrity of the membrane filters regularly and collect data to inform future decisions.

Established in 1985, Amazon Filters is one of Europe's leading filter manufacturers. We offer a range of microfiltration membrane filters for sterilising liquids and gases, suitable for critical applications across various process industries. The combination of membrane filter technology and our cartridge hardware delivers a dependable solution for all applications.

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