Quality Filter Cleaning

By Liz Moucka | September 28, 2010

Cylindrical cartridge filters from trucks and heavy construction equipment are replaced on an average of once a month. At this rate, filters for one truck can take up approximately 37.2 cubic feet in a landfill in one year's time*. Imagine how much landfill space could be eliminated if the filters for an entire fleet could be cleaned and reused nine or 10 times.

That is the claim by Mark and Carolyn Butzow of Florence, Texas. Unlike many other green initiatives, Sonic SystemTM filter dry cleaning actually saves the user money up front. Cleaning costs about half the price of a new filter. Instead of purchasing a new filter every month, the equipment owner can rotate two filters for each machine for a year-and-a-half to two years. An additional benefit comes into play, according to Butzow.

"A filter is more efficient once it has built up a pre-coat of fine dust," Butzow explained. "That can take eight to 10 hours of operation for a new filter. But a clean, recycled filter already has its pre-coat, making it better than a brand new filter."

Quality Filter Cleaning Service

Mark Butzow's background is in field service installation and repair of air conditioning in heavy equipment. One year went into formulating filter-cleaning plans and waiting for the system to be manufactured and delivered.

The filter-cleaning equipment is manufactured in California by Sonic Dry Clean, Inc. At present, only six of these systems are in operation in the United States. The Butzows took delivery of their Sonic System in December 2007 and have already experienced success in accumulating customers and filters among the Texas Hill Country stone and aggregate quarries. They operate their business under the name Quality Filter Cleaning.

The System

The machine can clean most sizes of cylindrical filters for trucks and heavy equipment. The filter must be round and have a minimum 3.5-inch outside diameter, a maximum diameter of 20 inches and maximum height of 37 inches.

"The technician changes the oil and filter, places the dirty filter in a bag and box, and we pick it up and bring it to our shop," explained owner Mark Butzow. "We clean it, inspect it, repackage it, and deliver it back to the customer."

The cleaning system uses extreme vibration and blown compressed air in a vacuum chamber. No water or chemicals are used. After most of the dust is shaken and blown out in a mechanized operation that takes about eight minutes, Butzow inspects the filter with a 500-watt halogen light bulb to look for pinholes in the filter. He also checks the air flow and inspects the gaskets.

"A green dot means it's still good; a red dot means it was rejected. Then we deliver it back to the customer."

Most of Butzow's customers at presents are Texas Hill Country quarries that run fleets of earthmoving equipment and haul trucks. Their feasible service area for pick-up and delivery is about 150 miles from Florence, a small town 46 miles north of Austin.

Other Sonic System™ filter-cleaning services are in business in Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Washington.

* Calculated for a standard truck tractor filter at approximately 3.1 cubic feet in uncompressed state. 

Click here to see video of the filter-cleaning machine in action.