Separ of the Americas

Filter manufacturers often have been tasked with providing filters as components for fuel-injected systems. Separ of the Americas, however, has taken the process one step further by replacing entire inefficient systems with new technology.

“Our attention to the filter is not just the filter, but as a system,” says Dan Bigelow, general manager and COO of Separ of the Americas.

“We’re not just focused on a filter media, but the whole thing as a filtration system,” Bigelow continues. “We’re making it more effective instead of separating it out of one.”

Separ of the Americas LLC, a subsidiary of Willibrord Losing Filter-Technik, was established in 1995 and has headquarters in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., from where it caters to clients throughout North and South America. The company serves as a distributor of Separ Filter-brand diesel fuel/water separators, and it supports the industrial and marine industries.

Originally designed by Willibrord Losing, founder of Willibrord Losing Filter-Technik, the Separ 2000 series offers a system for the separation of water and particulate from diesel fuel. Water and particulate matter can result in high wear and tear of fuel pumps and injectors, reduced reliability and expensive engine repairs, according to the company.

Smart Filters
Bigelow says Separ of the Americas is developing filter systems with more monitoring and built-in communicators that will alert operators to problems. In the past, when a fuel filter clogged, the engine would not have enough power to continue operating, yet operators would not know what the exact problem was until the machine was entirely shut down for a diagnostics check.

With monitoring and related communications, however, Bigelow says operators now always know how the filters are performing and when they are due for service.

“This is letting operators know how its filters are working so it doesn’t impact their workload by having an engine go down,” Bigelow says. “If they’re alerted beforehand, it is better than a normal service center.”

Separ of the Americas also has released a new automatic duplex switching filter.

This system consists of two filters so when one filter is clogged, it automatically switches to the second filter. A monitoring system also alerts operators when either filter is ready for service with a “traffic light” system of green, yellow and red color codes.

Bigelow says his company’s R&D is driven by the market as well as the OEMs themselves. Separ of the Americas is regularly approached by manufacturers who seek to partner in the development of the systems for improved fuel efficiency as well as to meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations.

“With the newer tier 4 and tier 5 engines, the (engine) manufacturers are coming back to us to say the fuel has to meet a certain ISO spec before it enters the engine,” Bigelow explains.

“That spec has gotten tighter and more challenging every year,” he adds. “There needs to be cleaner and dryer fuel going into the engine, so that comes back on filter guys coming back to meet ISO spec, and that’s when monitoring comes into play.”

Pressure Packed
Bigelow says the most difficult aspect of working with high-pressure systems is the challenge of not allowing any loss of power or restrictions to the engine while cleaning the fuel much more efficiently at a higher flow rate.

To check for this, Separ conducts full testing and live demo testing whenever the company prepares for a new product launch to determine whether a system can handle the wear and tear as well as its plumbing.

“We need to have the best plumbing to have a good path to the engine,” Bigelow says. “These fittings are needed so we have a nice, clean install.”

Bigelow says Separ’s longstanding partnerships with various OEMs again come into play in these situations, and everyone reaps the benefits as a result.

“At the end of the day, our customers are getting a rock-solid product,” Bigelow adds. “We’re able to make our product better, and we’re able to make their product better.”

A Filtered Future
Separ of the Americas expects to experience growth in the United States in the next few years of roughly 20 percent over the previous three. Bigelow also says the company intends to expand its facilities in Fort Lauderdale, and it also is considering opening a warehouse in the Midwest to keep up with the demand in that region.

“The need for our filters is just going to increase with the biodiesel fuels,” Bigelow says.

He adds that trends like this can only mean good things in the years to come for Separ of the Americas. With filtration becoming a larger part of many customers’ operations, Separ of the Americas stands to benefit from the growing demand for such products.

“The increased need for filtration is more so than ever it was in the past, so our future is looking pretty bright,” Bigelow says.