DOE-Funded Research Leads to Quick Commercialization of Advanced Filtration System
November 12, 2003
Engineered Machined Products, Inc. (EMP), has introduced an Advanced Filtration System that incorporates high-capacity fine filtering (2-micron filtering) to superclean engine oil and dramatically extend the oil change interval on diesel engines. The research behind the system was performed under a subcontract from Argonne National Laboratory, funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, FreedomCAR and Vehicle Technologies Program. The EMP-DOE-Argonne effort was particularly notable for its quick concept-to-commercialization time of less than three years.
The Advanced Filtration System (AFS) is an auxiliary advanced engine filtration system consisting of an electric oil transfer pump, a replaceable/recyclable filtering cartridge, a self-indexing system to continuously advance in clean filtering medium, and a housing to enclose it all. This system operates independently of an engine's main lubrication system and applies a continuous filtering method to the engine oil. The reel-to-reel configuration enables the filtration device to automatically replace used or dirty filtering medium in a controlled and continuous fashion. The AFS provides greatly expanded oil filtering and contaminant retention over a set service interval. As a result, the filtering operation can remove the large amount of soot introduced to the lube oil by exhaust gas recirculation (EGR), a pollution-reduction technique used in many heavy-duty truck engines.
The reel-to-reel principle is based upon the monitoring of the pressure differential between the upstream side and the downstream side of the filtering medium. When a high pressure differential exists because of the buildup of particles on the filtering medium, the system sends signals to the transfer pump to cease oil flow to the filter, and to the self-indexing system to advance clean filtering medium to the oil flow from a supply reel. Simultaneously, the self-indexing system ejects the dirty filtering medium from the oil flow to a take-up reel. The transfer pump then initiates oil flow back through the filtering device. The process repeats until a desirable pressure differential is achieved. When the recommended service interval is reached, the filtering cartridge can be removed and replaced with a new cartridge.
Two key features distinguish the AFS from similar products. First, it uses an electric transfer pump to take fluid from a reservoir and transfer it to the filtration device. This allows the filter system to function independently of the system it is protecting. In addition, the pump allows for automated draining and filling of oil during servicing and provides the capability to pre- and post-lube the engine. Second, the system's unique "reel-to-reel" filtering method automatically exchanges used or plugged filtering medium for new or clean filtering medium as needed. This filtering method allows for an unlimited supply of filtering medium as well as more efficient use of the filtering medium.
With the AFS, trucks that typically average five to six maintenance intervals per year related to oil and filter changes (at an average cost of $180 per service) will now require only one or two oil changes per year, resulting in an annual average per-truck savings of $540-900. Across the entire U.S. heavy-duty truck fleet, the savings could add up to more than 30 million gallons of lube oil per year.