Ocean Carrier Review
Pacific Northwest Ports
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Reusable oil filter technology cuts costs, meets EPA and IMO regulations
With ship fleets facing spiraling fuel prices and new tougher environmental regulations from the EPA and IMO, fleet managers have had to look for new technology to control costs and emissions. One of the most promising areas to considerably cut spending while meeting all EPA and IMO regulations is reducing maintenance costs and waste production/disposal with reusable lubrication filter technology.Traditional disposable filters have an important disadvantage: high replacement, disposal, inventory, and environmental cost. Every oil change, oil filters must be replaced, the old filters disposed of, and the spare filters inventoried in a space-restricted marine setting. All lubricant and air filters must also be regularly replaced, with disposal and inventory significantly adding to maintenance costs.
In a ship, there are many engines: not just propulsion engines, but up to 30 diesel engines on large ships that can run generators and pumps on a 24/7 basis. All of these engines use filters, and replacement costs can spiral exponentially’as can disposal costs. While some try to stretch the time each filter can last, failing to replace them when needed can hurt performance, horsepower, fuel mileage, and engine life. With fleets of ships, these costs can add up, and over 10 years can reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
‘The trend in the marine industry is away from disposable filters due to their high replacement, disposal, inventory, and environmental costs,’ says Bob Story, Vice President of Story Electric Co., a fleet, marine, and industry supplier based in Paducah, KY, whose marine customers primarily transport commodities up and down the Mississippi River.
‘For my marine customers, the cost of oil filter disposal is now several times the cost of the disposable filter itself,’ says Story. ‘River boats don’t stop when they take on fuel, supplies, or remove waste. Third-party boats tie onto them while they’re in motion, remove the old filters, then a disposal company is paid to dispose of the waste. The fleet ends up paying the price.’
A growing number of fleets, including some of Bob Story’s customers, are discovering that innovative, reusable filter technology can really cut the cost and complexity of filter maintenance.
‘As part of a push toward reusability and sustainability, an energy company that uses tugboats to push coal up the river chose an FTG cleanable, reusable oil filter to reduce their environmental impact and save money,’ says Story. ‘The ROI can be rather quick, particularly in working fleets with high disposal costs.’
Instead of a traditional, disposable filter media enclosed in a metal canister that ends up in a landfill, Filtration Technology Group (FTG), a Cerritos, Calif.-based manufacturer of custom lubrication filters and a global supplier of quality filters and fittings, offers full-flow, cleanable, reusable filters that are designed to last the life of the engine or beyond. The reusable filters replace lube oil and other filters with a cleanable stainless steel wire cloth filter, and are available in configurations that spin directly onto existing mounting heads, or in remote-mount models well-suited to space-constrained, below deck, marine applications.
The cleanable, reusable filter technology was first developed, tested, and manufactured by Parker Hannifin’s Racor Division almost a decade before they turned the technology over to FTG, a full-service Racor distributor, which has independently manufactured it for the past several years. Parker Hannifin Corporation, a $13 billion, global company, is the world’s leading diversified manufacturer of motion and control technologies and systems.
‘The idea was to reduce the continual cost of filter replacement, waste disposal, and inventory,’ says David Cline, Oil Filtration Product Manager at Parker Hannifin Corporation’s-Racor Filtration Division in Modesto, Calif. ‘The cleanable, reusable filters reduce the waste stream by 100% because there are no longer any dirty oil filters to dispose of.’
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