According to the United Nations, water shortages will affect two-thirds of the world’s population by 2025 if current consumption patterns continue.1 CERAFILTEC, a manufacturer of innovative water filtration solutions, is helping to address this looming potential crisis with a unique new water filtration module molded from SABIC’s NORYL™ FE 1630PW glass-reinforced polyphenylene ether (PPE) resin.
CERAFILTEC’s new filtration module features an all-advanced resin design. It securely houses multiple high-performance silicon carbide (SiC) flat sheet membranes that can quickly and effectively filter a variety of water sources, including seawater, freshwater, industrial wastewater and even hot water. NORYL resin provides best-in-class hydrolytic and dimensional stability and chemical and high-temperature resistance, and is certified for potable water applications under NSF/ANSI Standard 61. These critical properties enabled CERAFILTEC to replace previous modules that required corrosion-prone steel framing with a fully injection molded design.
Finding the SABIC material was a turning point for CERAFILTEC and its chief executive officer, Kay Gunther Gabriel, because it made module design feasible using one single advanced resin. During material validation, application development and mold trials, SABIC provided the comprehensive documentation, data and technical support that ultimately enabled CERAFILTEC to inaugurate a new module production facility in Germany in less than a year. Today, the company is supplying a top-quality, durable and reliable product to customers and partners worldwide to help solve the clean water supply challenge.
Improving performance, lowering costs
Before learning about NORYL resin, CERAFILTEC designed filtration modules using less-robust plastics such as polyurethane (PU), which tended to distort, deform and swell under exposure to water and weight. This approach required high-grade steel framing to stabilize a soft plastic material and allow for multiple modules to be stacked in towers and other configurations without shifting. A lack of stability could have caused the ceramic membranes to crack and result in leakage.
However, steel is susceptible to corrosion, raises costs and restricts design freedom. Therefore, CERAFILTEC sought a material solution that could eliminate the need for the steel framing. The company also wanted this material to be as robust as the ceramic flat sheet membranes to align with their anticipated lifespan.
According to CERAFILTEC, the use of NORYL resin enabled them to achieve:
- Seven-fold reduction in cost compared to the plastic and steel frame design, thanks to the efficiencies of high-volume, high-speed injection molding. The savings helps CERAFILTEC offset the higher costs of its SiC flat sheet membranes versus polymer membranes, and be more competitive.
- Extended life of the CERAFILTEC module up to 20 years, which is twice the lifetime of the plastic and steel frame design and matches the lifespan of the ceramic membranes
- Ease of assembly and operation because all process functions are integrated in the module. This factor helps to drive market adoption.
- Temperature extension for hot water applications, enabling the module to work in a broader range of conditions
- Material compliance with potable water regulations to accelerate approvals
- Corrosion resistance specifically required in seawater applications
Glass-reinforced NORYL FE1630PW resin is characterized by excellent dimensional stability and creep resistance, low mold shrinkage and low water absorption. It has been rigorously tested and shown to meet major European and global directives for potable water systems, as well as Germany’s KTW regulation, the European and UK Water Regulations Advisory Board (WRAS), France’s Attestation de Conformite Sanitaire (ACS) and the global NSF/ANSI Standard 61.
Replacing traditional copper, stainless steel, ductile iron and brass with SABIC’s NORYL resin and other thermoplastic materials can facilitate revitalization of infrastructure used for potable, process and wastewater, and reduce system costs through greater efficiency and longer use. These materials can offer industry manufacturers greater design freedom, enhanced performance in harsh environmental conditions and system cost reduction.