The air surrounding us comprises 78% nitrogen, 21% oxygen and 1% various gases and solid particles. This last component listed comprises such elements and compounds as noble gases, carbon dioxide, fine particles, salts and gas emissions from motor traffic and industry. Although one percent sounds like very little, it does determine whether the air quality is considered healthy or unhealthy.
Although the operation of a filter may appear very simple in theory, filters are in fact highly complex products. The filter fibres have to allow sufficient air to pass through – without offering too much resistance – while also trapping harmful particles. This is the strength of good filters.
Filters protect people
A human being inhales and exhales some twenty kilograms of air daily. Twenty kilos! This is quite an impressive figure, particularly when one considers that a human being also consumes around one and a half kilos of food and two and a half kilos of water. People are inclined to pay close attention to what they eat and drink, while government bodies also issue dietary recommendations. It therefore appears only logical that we should devote greater attention to the quality of the air we breathe. How might airborne substances affect our performance and health? And what can we do to ensure the optimum quality of the air that we breathe?
Fine particles are hazardous to human health
During the past few years, increasing attention has been drawn to the hazards of fine particles; air pollution in the form of particles which are smaller than 10 microns. Busy roads, industry, combustion engines and the bioindustry are major sources of fine particles. The human body is poorly equipped to deal with fine particles. The nose and windpipe act as natural filters for relatively large particles – larger than 5 microns. However, smaller particles can penetrate deep into our lungs, where they may cause substantial damage to health. Children, the aged and people with respiratory complaints are particularly susceptible. The concentration of fine particles in the air can vary greatly from region to region and from one country to another.
Sick building syndrome – source of problems
People in the western world spend around 70% of their time indoors. Countless health problems can consequently be attributed to ‘indoor conditions’. Air quality in the workplace is sometimes also far from perfect. This can cause sick building syndrome (SBS). Almost three quarters of cases of SBS can be attributed to the dust particles present within the premises. Common symptoms of SBS include listlessness, concentration and respiratory problems, headaches, drowsiness, skin and eye irritation and fatigue. Adequate air filtration is a relatively simple means of combating SBS and protecting people from its harmful effects. AFPRO Filters’ range of appropriate products enables us to vouch for the air quality. Our sales staff are equipped to provide a suitable solution for a healthy indoor or outdoor climate in any circumstances. These applications are widely used in business premises, hotels and conference centres.
Filters protect your operating processes
Apart from protecting people, filters can also be used to guarantee the progress of operating processes. The applicable filter requirements naturally vary, depending on the type of operating process in question. AFPRO Filters can nevertheless provide a suitable filter, whatever the process. Many of our products are ultimately destined for the nuclear industry, in gas turbines, in the field of semiconductor manufacturing and the pharmaceuticals sector.
The nuclear filter industry plays an essential role in the global supply of energy and the military sector. Air filtration systems perform crucial roles in nuclear plants, such as power stations, fuel processing plants, research facilities and waste management. These nuclear air filters comply with the most stringent environmental standards, in terms of the requirements applicable for the minimisation of radioactive air pollution.
The primary function of an air filter inlet system is to protect the gas turbine and other rotating machinery from pollution present in the ambient air. Dust particles (> 5 µm) can cause erosion. Fine particles (submicron) contaminate the vanes, which has a detrimental effect on the performance of the gas turbine. A wellbalanced filter system is therefore crucial to optimum output.
Highly stringent standards are applicable in this industry. The products, which are often manufactured in cleanrooms, are highly susceptible to disruption. The slightest level of pollution in the air – comprising even the most minute particles – can significantly raise the percentage of rejects from the production process. Prefilters, fine filters and HEPA filters ensure that the air present in the cleanroom is of the highest quality.
Poor air quality during the execution of production processes in the pharmaceuticals sector can have far-reaching consequences. The contamination of drugs can affect their efficacy or render them altogether ineffective, which could naturally prove hazardous to health. The use of superior quality filters is therefore crucial if the production of medicines in a manufacturing plant is to proceed without complications.