For 20 years, Filtersafe founder and chief executive officer Etai Dagan has been working to make a better filter for the ballast water treatment industry
Etai Dagan is a man of many surprises. He grew up on a kibbutz, which is a style of commune living that has just about died out.
A second surprise is that he founded Filtersafe quite late in life, having spent most of his adult life in Australia working in agricultural engineering. Although ballast water treatment seems to many of those involved since the IMO started the process in 2004 as having been a long time in the making, it is a relatively recent development in engineering terms.
“I am not an engineer,” he said, “I am a technician.” It was his reputation in a previous career in agricultural filtration in Australia which led to a marine engineer group approaching him about a new product – a filter for ballast water treatment systems on ships.
He set up Filtersafe in 2006 to concentrate on creating filter solutions specifically for the ballast water treatment industry. “What we produce are not filters modified to fit ballast water treatment systems. These are filters especially designed to cope with the demands of filtering ballast water,” he said. This concept had been proven through the years and other filter manufacturers followed developing filters specifically for the ballast water treatment industry, he said.
The key factor is the filters are designed from the outset to handle the turbid, sediment-laden waters found in many ports around the world. The company offers a range of filter sizes to match the flow rates and capacities of the ballast water treatment systems being offered by the company’s clients.
The filter itself is made from stainless steel and the company is not afraid to change the specification of the stainless steel itself if it offers a better level of performance. The stainless steel is woven in layers to create the filter.
Accompanying the filter is a Filtersafe’s only cleaning system that maintains the required pressure – a drop in pressure can lead to a halt in cargo loading operations. Filtersafe ballast water products are certified to D-2 standard, and the filter is approved by all the major classification societies. Type-approval to IMO and US Coast Guard standards gives the filters global coverage.
One message Mr Dagan felt had not been broadcast enough, was the need to correctly position the filters when installing ballast water treatment systems. This is the major cause of problems with filtration. It is not the filtration unit per se that is at fault, but not paying enough attention to installation, or as is often the case with retrofit installations, not following the specific engineering instructions.
This is counter-productive when specifying a ballast water treatment system with a high-end Filtersafe filter. A lot of careful study and expertise in working with stainless steel has gone in the filter. Filtersafe has very specific quality control and high engineering standards and the location of the factory plays an important role.
Filtersafe’s Israel factory (there is another one in Hong Kong) is located in northern Israel on the Tefen Industrial Park, which is a key research and development centre and home to a high-precision machine tool manufacturer. Having access to a company that can design and make specific production process machinery provides the quality stainless steel manufacturing ability Mr Dagan required.
Mr Dagan told Ballast Water Treatment Technology that the company has been asked to use its expertise to develop tools for other industries, such as desalination and irrigation and while this is an interesting project, the core business will remain the provision of stainless steel filters for ballast water treatment systems.
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