Equipment protection filters can help companies save on downtime, repair and maintenance costs by reducing the buildup of debris in industrial cooling equipment.

Before Photo: Nonwoven polyester filtration media became unstable when covered in heavy debris or soaked with snow and rain.

Millions of dollars and thousands of work hours are spent annually on industrial cooling equipment downtime, repair and maintenance. Failure to provide effective air-intake protection to equipment and building fans, motors, condensing units and coils adds up to a costly loss of productivity in system operations.

Although many pieces of cooling equipment are equipped with protective fins and louvers on equipment air inlets, these devices do not offer enough protection to keep cooling systems running cleanly and efficiently. As a result, the need to hand-brush equipment fins clean of debris, flush them with water or cleaning solutions, and make frequent filter change-outs occurs all too often. Debris continuously drawn into the air intake insulates the coils; reduces the necessary airflow; and increases run times, compressor pressure and energy costs.

These changes in system performance increase maintenance expenses and decrease the life expectancy of the equipment. In addition, ventilation components are often located in constrained spaces or in awkward locations such as remote job sites, which makes periodic maintenance or emergency component failure repairs difficult and unusually costly.

One way to decrease system vulnerability is to reduce the buildup of dirt, cottonwood, leaves, grass clippings, bugs, construction and industrial debris by using durable equipment protection filters.

After Photo: Filters made with three-dimensional electrostatic media have saved Automated Packaging Systems Inc.'s Garfield Heights plant downtime and maintenance.

A Maintenance Challenge

Automated Packaging Systems Inc.'s plant in Garfield Heights, Ohio, recently experienced a significant savings in downtime and maintenance through this approach. Five years ago, the plant installed a $165,000, 200-ton York chiller to handle its 250,000 ft2facility, which extrudes plastic sheeting and tubing for consumer packaging. The facility also houses full-color printing operations.

Unfortunately the plant didn't have a choice in its neighbors. The facility backs up to a busy set of railroad tracks that showers the area with train soot, dirt and dust. Another neighbor has an access road that is heavily traveled by dump trucks and heavy machinery on their way to a nearby road-paving company, which creates its own mess digging up highways with stone and rock crushers, and then processing and transporting new paving materials throughout the area. Between the soot, rock particles and messy cottonwood trees, maintenance on the York chiller quickly became a time-consuming chore.

The original filtration solution involved aluminum mesh filters that were screwed onto the front of the air intakes. Taking the filters off for periodic cleaning was a tedious process, but worse yet, the metal mesh filters didn't keep the inside compressors and banks of condensers clean. Hand brushing and flushing with water and cleaning solution were still required.

The second filtration solution consisted of non-woven polyester filtration media. Unfortunately, this type of media became unstable when it was covered in heavy debris or soaked with snow and rain from the ever-changing Midwest weather conditions.

Unsuccessful air-intake filtration on the 200-ton York chiller at Automated Packaging Systems Inc.'s Garfield Heights facility created a substantial maintenance challenge.

After evaluating its options, Automated Packaging Systems chose PreVent filters supplied by Permatron Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill. The filters were custom designed and built to fit the enclosure exactly. The plant opted for a hook-and-loop attachment running along all sides of the filters to ensure a tight, secure fit.

The filters are constructed of a three-dimensional electrostatic media that blocks outside debris from entering the air-intake system. They also are ultraviolet protected and designed to stand up to extreme outdoor or indoor exposure, corrosive chemicals, high-velocity airflow, and industrial cleaning and maintenance handling.

Since installing the new filters in June 1995, the plant has saved a significant amount of downtime and maintenance. “The filters are easy to remove, rinse and reinstall. For a relatively inexpensive item, I am very pleased with the results that PreVent has provided,” says Jim Lang, senior electrician at the Garfield Heights plant. “Historically, when the maintenance crew came to do their regularly scheduled flushing and washing of the chiller, the fins were a mess. Now maintenance is a breeze.”

For more information about PreVent filters, contact Permatron Corp., Elk Grove Village, Ill., by calling (800) 882-8012; visiting; or e-mailing