Fractured vacuum tales: If filters clog on woodworking machines, fix them
November 7, 2018 | 6:48 pm CST
Replacing the 18 fractured filters on this CNC machine takes about an hour, and saves thousands of dollars.

Photo By Mike McClaran, President, Better Vacuum Cups, Inc.

I recently visited a shop in North Carolina and found some very interesting maintenance procedures.
First, let's note that the word "filter" can be used as either a noun or a verb: a filter filters. If you have a fractured filter, well, it cannot filter any longer.
In this particular case, rather than address a broken CNC woodworking machine vacuum component, they upped the power to overcome the blocked intake. 
The filters as shown in these pictures are all fractured, letting bigger particles of dust into the system. On this particular CNC machine, there are 24 filters per rail with 8 rails. Most of these filters were fractured.
Rather than fix the fractured filters, this customer thought the answer - as Tim "The Tool Man" Taylor would say, was to add MORE POWER! 
They decided to more than double the CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air moving through, and to increase horsepower to make up for the difference in clogged vacuum lines. I’m guessing this is costing the customer an extra $15 to $20 per day, or around $4,500 per year.
Now as it turns out, for about $800 in parts (at left are BVC brass filters WK15F), or just 18 percent of the cost of that annual energy waste, these filters can be replaced with new ones, like these on the left. The process takes about an hour overall.
So my point here is to clean and or replace filters when needed.
Think about just how many filters you do have on your CNC machine(s), vacuum pump filters, electrical cabinet filters, inlet airline filters....the list goes on. There are quite a few probably clogged and fractured. 
So get out there and do some spring cleaning. Then go ask your boss for a raise, because you just saved him about $4,500 per year, every year. 

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About the author
Mike McClaran