“This year is my 25th anniversary with Boll & Kirch,” said Frank Zichel, who has recently moved into the position of head of the water filtration division, following a company-wide re-organisation. His new division is making in-roads into the marine market with seawater filtration.
For the last 60 years or so Boll & Kirch's fuel and lubricant filters have been regular fixtures on oceangoing vessels, and for many years the company has been supplying filters for ballast water management systems (BWMS). Following a restructuring, the company started looking into other seawater filtration applications in the marine sector.
Under Mr Zichel, Boll & Kirch will continue to embrace the land-based industrial sector, supplying filters to a wide array of applications, from steel to power generation; however, it will also take on the challenges and opportunities of the marine water filtration market.
“As a company, Boll & Kirch has always put the emphasis on water filtration in our industrial areas of activities,” said Mr Zichel. “This is where we come from.”
Therefore, having stepped into the marine market via ballast water filters, it is a natural step for the company to supply filters into other applications of the marine water filtration market.
“Let’s filter as fine as required, not as fine as possible”
According to Mr Zichel, seawater filtration is far more challenging than filtering fresh water for industrial applications. Freshwater is relatively stable, whereas the characteristics of seawater in a single location can vary depending on the time of year, the season, even the time of day.
“The type and level of contamination, as well as the biology in the water, makes it far more demanding,” he said.
Boll & Kirch begins by determining the individual requirements for filtration in a certain application. From there, the filtration solution is engineered according to the application’s requirements.
“There is a Boll & Kirch saying,” noted Mr Zichel. “Let’s filter as fine as required, not as fine as possible.”
He continued: “At [this year’s] SMM we had various discussions with OEM manufacturers of fresh-water generators who supply into the cruise ship market. The topic [discussed] is to replace sand filters with our automatic water filters, with the intention to reduce the footprint and weight of their systems. The capex is a little higher, but using our filters reduces water consumption. We are confident the payback will be reasonable.”
Boll & Kirch water filtration systems are also being used in the LNG sector, specifically for regasification. Some systems use seawater to heat up the LNG to regasify it for transportation into power plants. This requires an enormous volume of seawater, which must be filtered with robust and reliable automatic water filter technology to prevent the system from expensive downtimes.