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Tuesday, February 16, 2021 

Israel-based Filtersafe has announced the removal of 316L grade stainless steel from its ballast water management system (BWMS) filters, switching to 904L grade stainless steel at its manufacturing facilities in Israel and Hong Kong, which produce filters for around 25% of the global BWMS market.

Filtersafe is introducing technology upgrades to boost the quality, durability and turnaround time of BWMS filters, without impacting filter affordability. Filtersafe supplies is products to leading BWTS manufacturers including De Nora, Ecochlor, Evoqua, ERMA FIRST,  SunRui, Techcross, TeamTec and Wärtsilä.

Until now, 316L steel has been widely used across the global maritime industry as the material of choice for BWMS filter screens. However, the alloy is prone to early pitting corrosion, which can compromise the overall effectiveness of the filter and the entire BWMS. In contrast, 904L steel is up to 82% more durable, meaning it can more effectively support the longevity of filter systems, as well as lowering maintenance costs. To guarantee the quality of steel used in its filters, Filtersafe has invested in two x-ray fluorescence (HHXRF) analyzers that will enable the company to carry out positive material identification (PMI) testing on every metal alloy that enters its manufacturing facilities. Other upgrades that form part of the company's US$10m investment include a FS laser cutting machine designed to improve repeatability in the manufacturing process, thereby minimising the margin of error and further reducing the possibility of filter screen corrosion.

Mark Riggio, Head of Marine, Filtersafe, said: “With ballast water regulations maturing and the global maritime industry shifting its focus to operational compliance, the critical role of filters within the overall BWTS has really come to the fore – with ship owners increasingly understanding that a strong and robust filter is critical to overall system reliability. As the core material used to build filters, stainless steel should be viewed as a key factor in determining a filter’s long-term performance; it is the first critical building block from which ship owners can realize greater value from their BWTS. By being the first manufacturer to transition away from 316L grade steel, the typical steel used in maritime applications, to 904L we hope to elevate standards across the entire industry, and deliver a more efficient balance between filter durability and affordability. At the same time, we’re making a huge effort to introduce new technologies and systems that instil quality across the entire filter supply chain, from start to finish, creating better value for BWMS manufacturers, as well as ship owners and operators.”

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