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The market for filters used for separation of larger particles from liquids (macrofiltration) will grow from $4.4 billion in 2006 to $5.1 billion in 2009, according to the latest forecast in Liquid Filtration World Markets, an online report by the McIlvaine Co.
This segment of filtration includes the big filters, which capture large quantities of particles primarily larger than 1 micron. This includes belt filter presses, leaf, tubular, belt filters, bag filters, drum filters and granular media filters. It also includes automatic backwash filters.
There are several areas of high growth within this market place. The use of belt filters for gypsum dewatering at power plants employing scrubbers is growing at double-digit rates. Both the U.S. and China are investing heavily in these scrubbing systems and the associated belt filters, which help turn a pollutant (SO2) into wall board.
The entire automatic backwashing filter segment is also enjoying rapid growth. Originally, these filters were only capable of removing particles larger than 50 microns. However, the development of sintered metal media has opened up a large market in the 1 to 50 micron range. These filters are used for a variety of purposes including purifying irrigation water in the Israeli desert, purifying chocolate in Hershey, Pa., and purifying bilge water from ships in Antwerp, Belgium.
The growth in belt filter press sales is primarily in Asia. China is the largest purchaser of belt filter presses for sewage sludge dewatering. As much of Asia develops its secondary waste treatment capability, the market for belt presses will be strong.
Bag filters find large use in the chemical industry. They compete with cartridge filters and have the advantage of being able to separate large amounts of solids without blinding.
Filter presses are also used in the chemical industry. They are able to deliver a relatively dry product due to the high pressures that are developed.
Granular media filters are the traditional devices for purification of drinking water at large municipal plants. However, they now are encountering competition from membrane systems. Nevertheless, the world market for these filters will grow from $858 million in 2006 to $990 million in 2009.
The five leading markets for liquid macrofilters are municipal wastewater, municipal drinking water, chemical processing, mining and food.