The Hidden, Ongoing Costs of Disposable Media Filters in the Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals Processing Industries

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Liquid is a main ingredient in the processing of chemicals, and efficient and effective filtration can improve your bottom line. From industrial chemicals to polymer processing, fluid clarity and purity are essential in the pursuit of high-quality finished products.

Traditionally, chemical engineers have opted for disposable media filters such as bags or cartridges due to their lower initial cost. While initial cost may be lower for small batch operations, this is seldom true for continuous operations that require a costly, redundant filtration system - including piping, valves, support, and service connections - to maintain production.

Moreover, there are significant hidden costs associated with disposable media filters. When users purchase disposable media filters they often fail to account for the true costs of doing so.

Hidden costs:

To begin, there's the ongoing disposable filter purchase price, which typically runs at least $3 per bag or cartridge per day, plus the ongoing cost of waste disposal.

For non-hazardous waste, disposal is already $400-$800 USD per drum, while that of hazardous waste is approaching $1,000 per drum.

It's not unusual for the typical pharmaceutical company or other fine-chemical based manufacturer to produce up to 20 drums per year of filter media for disposal, not counting the cost of treating or eliminating any run-off process fluids.

Beyond this, there are significant labor costs involved with transporting, handling and storing disposable filter media, as well as with replacing it.


For just a small 30-gpm cartridge filter with six 10-inch cartridges, the operator must:

Remove 16 separate parts including the cover, compression seals, cartridges, and seal plates.

The operator must reassemble all 16 parts with proper alignment to ensure good seals.

Then someone must haul away the spent filter media.

There's also a housekeeping cost for cleaning any spillage from disposable media, along with increased emissions, safety risk, and liability.

Then there's the potential cost of disposable media rupturing or overflowing (as bags sometimes do), contaminating product or machinery downstream and slowing production.

Finally, add the cost of buying, maintaining, and cleaning workers' protective clothing for replacing disposable media. As well as the extra time and labor required to fill out MSDS forms and other paperwork required for items hauled to landfills or incinerators.

This is where automatic filtration and separation products can make your operation more efficient, and most importantly improve the finished product quality.

by Ask Filter Man

Click on this link for a simple method to determine whether a change is worthwhile for your applications:

For questions about industrial filtration, please visit the Ask Filter Man forum at

If you would like to discuss this filtration solution with one of Ronningen-Petter's highly-trained Applications Specialists, please contact us at

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Linda Stacy
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