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What follows is an in-depth analysis of the health and safety benefits of Oneida's HEPA Media Cartridge Filters in comparison to older filter types (e.g. blended, spunbound, nanofiber, etc.). Oneida Air Systems is dedicated to providing our customers with top notch filtration that removes over 99.9% of the most harmful airborne particles ranging from 0.3 to 10 microns in size (PM-10 range).
Copyright © 2014 Oneida Air Systems
There is a common misconception that fine dust particles created from wood-working (e.g. sanding, cutting, etc.) are harmless as they originate from a natural product. However decades of research by organizations such as ACGIH, OSHA, NIH and NIOSH have proved conclusively that wood dust is a human carcinogen. Dust particles can also cause a wide array of other health issues such as breathing problems, allergic reactions, mucosal and non-allergic respiratory symptoms. Good dust collection requires a high quality filter that will capture at near 100% efficiency down to the finest particle. Experts agree that this prevents the most damaging respirable particles (PM 10 range) from returning to the air in the workshop where it can be inhaled. Once inhaled, particles in the PM-10 range get lodged deep down inside the tissues of the lungs where it very difficult for them to be expunged (see figure to the right).
We here at Oneida Air Systems have made it our mission to eliminate these problems by supplying top of the line Dust Collection and Filtration systems. Our goal is to filter dust down to below 1 micron in scale; eliminating harmful particulates before they ever reach your lungs. The key element in accomplishing this goal is through the use of filters that work at peak efficiency 100% of the time. In order to reach this goal most of our filters are manufactured with GE HEPA grade ePTFE — a GE quality certified product.
ePTFE is made by expanding polytetrafluoroeghylene resin into a three dimensional, web-like structure. This process creates billions of microscopic pores, which allow air to pass easily through of membrane structure itself Collects particulates as small as 0.1 micron on its surface.
Oneida filter media is quality certified by GE to meet or exceed Industry standards:
GE laboratories are equipped to perform a wide variety of testing, evaluation and quality control activities in accordance with internationally recognized standards (ASTM, ISO, AATCC , JIS and DIN).
Where standards have not been established, GE developed rigorous test protocols with stringent quality controls. GE also utilizes independent laboratories to perform third party testing and validation services. GE is ISO 9001-2000 certified, and an industry recognized supplier of ePTFE products.
In addition to mitigating the health concerns of fine airborne dust, having filtration that captures over 99.9% of the PM-10 range of particles reduces the chance of equipment failure and other workshop accidents. While most people keep their equipment clean of debris, particularly fine dust can easily escape one's notice. Not only can it settle and build up on slide rails and gears (causing machinery to jam and break) or cause electronics to malfunction, it can also coat the floors and tables of your shop; creating slipping and even fire hazards.
For example, imagine if 10 g/min of PM-10 dust went into both the Nanofiber Filter (with an IE of 92.46%) and the Oneida 18x20 HEPA Filter (with an IE of over 99%) for just 30 minutes. The Nanofiber filter would release 99.4% more particles than the Oneida HEPA Filter … That's 22.625g of dust for the Nanofiber Filter; enough to fill ¾ of a typical 1oz. salt shaker. Unlike salt this dust could be coating the inside of your lungs instead of your food.
See the results of WOOD Magazine's test below for real-world results further illustrating this point.
IE refers to the average initial filtration efficiency of a filter. If applied to the PM-10 Particle Range this value would represent how efficient the filter is, on average, at filtering each size particle in that range.
Single Stage Dust Collectors are common in many workshops but they have the downside of needing to collect all of the dust in the filter, leading to clogs. This is why a separator should be installed between the filter and the dust source. Oneida Air Systems produces numerous cyclonic separators such as our Super Dust Deputy product line. The separator works to collect the vast majority of particles and debris before it gets to the filter, allowing the filter to function more efficiently and last longer.
Though a separator will remove most of the debris generated by wood-working before it reaches the filter, having high quality, 2nd stage filtration is still necessary to remove the smaller and more harmful particulates. When it comes to choosing the appropriate Air Filter, Oneida Air Systems offers our innovative HEPA Media Cartridge Filter which removes over 99.9% of particles ranging from 0.3 to 10 microns in size (also known as the PM-10 Range of Particles).
Unlike many of our competitors, Oneida's HEPA Media Cartridge Filters are fully washable, easy to clean and have a balance of high filtration efficiency and low-pressure drop. Older style filter medias (e.g. nanofiber, cellulose, blended, spunbound, etc.) only reach peak particle efficiency after the filter has been "seasoned" for a period of time to develop a sufficient layer of very fine dust [filter cake] on the media. For the cake principle to work effectively, however, the particles must be pre-classified and very small. NOTE: General sawdust does not constitute an effective filter seasoning cake.
As previously mentioned, older filter types require a layer of filter cake, comprised of a thick buildup of dust surrounding the filter, in order to reach peak efficiency. However it is difficult to maintain this peak efficiency because the filter must still be cleaned from time to time. There is a significant suction loss once the filter cake is sufficiently thick. With older filter media types there is no way to have both peak filtration (i.e. HEPA certified) and maintain an effective suction level.
Oneida's HEPA Cartridge Filters work at peak efficiency right out of the box and will return to this level of filtration after repeated cleanings.
On older style filter media such as Cellulose, cellulose synthetic blends, and spunbond materials peak particle efficiency is reached only after the filter has been in use for a period of time and develops a sufficient layer of fine dust on the media "filter cake".
The big downside of this older technology filtering is the efficiency of particle capture is dependant on and varies with the thickness of the filter cake. Consistent particle filtration efficiencies are unreliable. After filters are cleaned this process starts again.
Filtration specifications are tested in lab conditions with "test dust" which is very uniform and creates a consistent "filter cake". Real-world woodworking dust may not reproduce a cake like the test environment.
Technological advances in filter media ePTFE Laminates have produced efficiencies near hundred percent on the smallest particles. They achieve higher peak efficiencies Without having to accumulate filter cake. This means they are reliable and consistently efficient; when brand new, in use, before and after cleanings.
Some manufacturers conduct tests to demonstrate how quickly a layer of filter cake can be produced and how quickly their filters can reach peak efficiency. However, in a normal wood-working environment, creating this uniform layer of dust buildup is difficult, wasteful and ultimately less efficient than some manufacturer's test would suggest. When conducting these filtration tests these companies use a special, uniform testing dust; particles generated by day-to-day carpentry are much larger and more varied in size than any kind of test dust. With the exception of those produced by the finest sanding equipment, general sawdust particles are too large to fill the gaps in the filter media's fibers sufficiently enough to increase the filtration rate.
This issue is further compacted when a separator is not put in place to keep wood chips and flakes from getting to the filter. On a cyclone system it takes a very long time to season the filter with enough fine dust cake. If your system has a cyclone then typically four 20–35 gal barrels (depending on the dust collected) will be collected to generate two pounds of fine dust in the filter. While the filter is being seasoned it will continue to allow the smallest particulates back into the work space.
In most situations your air filter would need to be cleaned well before 4 inches of pressure loss was reached; on most small [dust collection] systems a loss of 4 inches of SP might equate to a reduction of 1⁄3 to 1⁄2 the total airflow. With older filter media types, such as Blended, Spunbond or Nanofiber filters, cleaning the filter also means that you're removing the layer of filter cake. With the filter cleaned you'll have to go through the buildup process all over again and you'll have to do this every time you clean the filter.
With Oneida's HEPA Media Cartridge Filter you'll never have to worry about generating filter cake, meaning that you'll have peak filtration from day 1.
Each filter purchased on the open market by an accredited 3rd party lab and was tested with the same experimental setup and variables. Below you can see the data for how efficient each filter was on an initial load (i.e. before a layer of filter cake could be established). In the time it takes for the older filter types to build up a layer of filter cake a large amount of fine and very fine dust particles are released back into the air. Our HEPA Media Cartridge Filters function at peak efficiency right out of the box. This working potential remains constant over the course of filter cleanings because here at Oneida Air Systems your health and safety are paramount where our filters are concerned.
We've made PDF files of our results available below. For further inquiries please contact us directly.
|Particle Removal Efficiency (%)|
|Particle Size Range (μm)||Oneida Air Systems 18x20 HEPA |
|80/20 Blended |
|0.30 – 0.40 μm||99.9%||15.2%||26.6%||69.8%|
|0.40 – 0.55 μm||99.9%||17.4%||27.1%||79.8%|
|0.55 – 0.70 μm||99.9%||19.5%||29.3%||85.9%|
|0.70 – 1.00 μm||99.9%||24.5%||32.9%||90.9%|
|1.00 – 1.30 μm||99.9%||28.1%||36.1%||94.1%|
|1.30 – 1.60 μm||100%||31.3%||38.7%||95.1%|
|1.60 – 2.20 μm||100%||36.7%||44.1%||96.6%|
|2.20 – 3.00 μm||100%||49.2%||54.1%||98.4%|
|3.00 – 4.00 μm||100%||63.5%||65.4%||99.3%|
|4.00 – 5.00 μm||100%||80.0%||78.0%||99.7%|
|5.50 – 7.00 μm||100%||91.7%||89.1%||99.9%|
|7.00 – 10.00 μm||100%||97.6%||96.2%||100%|
The big downside of older filter technologies is the efficiency of particle capture is dependent and variable on the thickness of the filter cake; consistent peak particle efficiencies are unreliable. To develop a layer of filter cake that is sufficient for healthy particle removal it can take numerous work loads for the dust collection system to capture enough dust.
In this test an accredited 3rd party lab ran five consecutive loadings of test dust through the Nanofiber Cartridge Filter (a total of 766 grams of dust) at 500 CFM and measured its filtration efficiency rate for each load. As seen in the graph to the left it took over four loads to reach a healthy particle removal rate. The analysis shows that even after five loads the Nanofiber Cartridge Filter #C1425C still did not reach the same level of filtering efficiency that Oneida's HEPA filter had initially. Furthermore the pressure drop increased with each consecutive load, finishing at a total suction loss of 4.00 inH2O.
|Particle Removal Efficiency (%)|
|Particle Size Range (μm)||Initial Load||1st Load||2nd Load||3rd Load||4th Load||5th Load|
|0.30 – 0.40 μm||69.8%||92.8%||98.7%||99.0%||99.4%||99.6%|
|0.40 – 0.55 μm||79.8%||96.2%||99.2%||99.4%||99.7%||99.8%|
|0.55 – 0.70 μm||85.9%||98.0%||99.5%||99.6%||99.9%||99.9%|
|0.70 – 1.00 μm||90.9%||98.9%||99.7%||99.8%||100%||100%|
|1.00 – 1.30 μm||94.1%||99.4%||99.8%||99.8%||100%||100%|
|1.30 – 1.60 μm||95.1%||99.6%||99.9%||99.9%||100%||100%|
|1.60 – 2.20 μm||96.6%||99.7%||99.9%||99.9%||100%||100%|
|2.20 – 3.00 μm||98.3%||99.8%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|3.00 – 4.00 μm||99.2%||99.9%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|4.00 – 5.00 μm||99.7%||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|5.50 – 7.00 μm||99.9%||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
|7.00 – 10.00 μm||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%||100%|
In the average wood shop it is unlikely that peak filter efficiency will ever be achieved with older styles of filter media because:
Because of this it is important to recognize that filter cleanings can be very important when considering older styles of filter media (e.g. Spunbond, Blended, Nanofiber, etc.). In our tests we took the Nanofiber Cartridge Filter #C1425C and compared its initial particle removing efficiency to how it performed after a full cleaning.
As the tests show, cleaning the filter lowers the filter's particle removal efficiency rate down to nearly base levels. These results are indicative of how the filter would perform after routine cleaning.
|Particle Removal Efficiency (%)|
|Particle Size Range (μm)||Initial Efficiency||Initial Efficiency After Cleaning|
|0.30 – 0.40 μm||69.8%||78.9%|
|0.40 – 0.55 μm||79.8%||84.2%|
|0.55 – 0.70 μm||85.9%||87.7%|
|0.70 – 1.00 μm||90.9%||90.7%|
|1.00 – 1.30 μm||94.1%||92.5%|
|1.30 – 1.60 μm||95.1%||93.9%|
|1.60 – 2.20 μm||96.6%||95.3%|
|2.20 – 3.00 μm||98.4%||96.8%|
|3.00 – 4.00 μm||99.3%||98.3%|
|4.00 – 5.00 μm||99.7%||99.3%|
|5.50 – 7.00 μm||99.9%||99.7%|
|7.00 – 10.00 μm||100%||100.00%|
Although filters are required to meet industrial regulatory air-quality standards, those that remove over 99.9% of harmful airborne particles in the PM-10 Range allow you to work longer and safer in the shop without discomfort.
In May of 2013, WOOD Magazine published a study analyzing the filtration efficiency of various dust collectors by popular brands. They "seasoned" all of the filters by sucking up dust generated from a drum sander repeatedly being used on a 12"x48" MDF sheet (in order to replicate long term use). A digital particulate meter was used to measure the number of airborne particles (larger than 1 micron in size) after each MDF sheet was passed through.
As seen in the chart to the right, Oneida Air System's dust collector outperformed the rest of the competition thanks to its patented cyclone design, high-quality, american made components and HEPA Media Filter.
|MERV (MERV rating)||Minimum efficiency reporting value. A measurement scale designed in 1987 by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to rate the effectiveness of air filters. The MERV rating scale ranges from 1 to 16 with higher ratings corresponding to a greater percentage of particles captured on each pass.|
|CFM (CFPM, ft³/min)||Cubic Foot per Minute. A measure of volumetric flow.|
|Cake Layer (Filter Cake)||The fine layer of dust buildup along the inside of an air filter. Acts as a filter itself in that it helps to trap small particles from passing through. However the cake layer is removed whenever the filter is cleaned, effectively lowering the filtration rate.|
|Seasoning||A term used to describe the process of "breaking-in" a filter (i.e. using the filter in a work environment to generate enough dust buildup on the filter to work as an effective "cake layer".|
|ePTFE||Expanded polytetrafluoroethylene. A synthetic fluoropolymer with numerous applications to its hydrophobic properties and extremely low coefficient of friction.|
|PM-10||A range of Particulate Matter for air quality. The PM-10 standard includes particles with a diameter of 10 microns (μm) or less.|
|HEPA||High-efficiency Particulate Absorption; a type of air filter that conforms to EPA standards of removing 99.97% or particles with a size of 0.3 μm or larger.|
|Wide Pleat Spacing||A component of Oneida Air's filters that allow for easy cleaning and improved lifespan in comparison to tighter pleat spacing in air filters.|
|Cellulose, Blended, Spunbond||An older style of filter media reliant on a layer of 'filter cake' to capture the finest of particles.|
|Particulates||A substance consisting of separates particles such as dust, soot, sand, smoke and other atmospheric pollutants.|
|ASHRAE||The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.|
|Filter Media||The main component that an air filter is built of. A large array of filters exists such as ePTFE, Nanofiber, Cellulose, Blended, Spunbond, etc.|
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