Packaging Industry Today

Inline Filter for Industrial Ink Production

The Self-Cleaning Russell Eco Filter integrates into existing pipelines to remove metallic contamination from printing inks.
Published 27 June 2018

Inx International relies on industrial filtration systems to achieve superior quality printing inks and prevent downstream machinery damage

Inx International is the American subsidiary of Sakata INX Corporation, a Japanese company that has been producing inks since 1896. As the world’s largest producer of metal decorating inks, the custom-blended ink is primarily used to print on the exterior of aluminium beverage cans.
After a series of problems during the production of its liquid ink mix, Inx International identified that contamination from the manufacturing process was entering the process stream. With the risk of the metallic contamination damaging expensive machinery, Inx International recognised that installing an industrial liquid filtration system could play a vital role in protecting equipment.
“Being proactive about filtration minimizes downtime on all our other production equipment downstream,” explains Bill Black, Plant Engineer at Inx International.
Because the ink is made in batches, Inx International was also seeking a filtration solution that would reduce waste and enable lean operation through improved productivity. The new unit needed to be operator friendly, so it could be easily dismantled and cleaned during colour changes with minimal production downtime.
To resolve these problems, Inx International installed a Self-Cleaning Russell Eco Filter® to ensure the purity of its printing inks. Russell Finex has a long history of addressing and solving challenges that occur in the ink and coatings industry, as well as extensive experience of working with customers to determine the appropriate use of industrial liquid filtration equipment.
Inx International now employs a fleet of six Russell filters, which play a major part in ensuring product quality as well as avoiding machinery failures further down the process line. “The liquid ink mix is fed through a filter with a 200-micron screen, to remove the metallic particles and other foreign contamination” explains Black.
The 46,000-square-foot Charlotte facility, specialises in formulating ink for metal decorating, that is an exact colour match to customer requirements. The ink is manufactured 24/7. “Every pound of ink produced goes through the Russell Eco Filters”, comments Black. Once packaged, the ink is shipped throughout the US and worldwide to major aluminium can manufacturers. The plant produces the ink that coats approximately 65% of the cans used around the world and 100% of the cans in the U.S.
The Self-Cleaning Russell Eco Filter® is an enclosed liquid filtration unit that integrates directly into an existing pipeline and a practical alternative to messy bag and cartridge filters. By means of a unique spiral wiper design, the filter element is kept continuously clean, which ensures optimum filtration efficiency and eliminates production downtime to for cleaning or filter changeovers.
“The machine is very simple to operate. It comes apart and puts together easy with no bolts or tools needed,” says Black. “The operators take out the filter element and clean the inside of the unit. On start-up, they just open the purge valve to flush out any contamination.”
The Self-Cleaning Russell Eco Filter® is available in a range of sizes to suit different flow rates. Inx International chose a short body filter design to keep the filtration surface area to a minimum, helping to reduce the time it takes to clean the unit during colour changeovers.
“Our material is solvent based and very viscous”, explains Black. “We measure our ink in poise, not centipoise, yet everything on the Russell filter holds up really well, from the motor to the gearbox”, adds Black. “On a maintenance level, there’s really not a lot of preventative maintenance involved with the filter. It’s really a good, solid system”.
As Inx International continues to compete in the decorative printing ink industry, the benefits of installing the filter system have surprised Black. “Overall, I think the filters work great. I appreciate the good local support and quick delivery of parts.” Black concludes, “We’re planning to expand the Charlotte plant sometime in the future, so I anticipate we’ll be adding another Russell filter to ensure ink purity and improve operation efficiency.”


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