Avoid Filter Press Failure! Clean Your Filter Press Plates!

With proper maintenance a filter press can have a very long life. Many of the issues our service technicians see, both on our shop floor while refurbishing used presses and on-site during field service, are preventable by simply cleaning your filter press plates.

Skipping regular cleanings might not seem like a big deal, but over time solids build up can do some serious damage to a filter press. Below are examples of what can happen if you aren’t regularly, and properly, cleaning your filter press plates.

1) Sidebar Corrosion

This was a used filter press that we purchased to refurbish and re-sell. As you can see, it came to us in pretty rough shape.

Upon inspection we noticed corrosion on only one sidebar.

filter press pre-refurb

filter press pre-refurb

The steel sidebar on the operator side was extremely corroded and while the sidebar on the non-operator side was rusty, it had nowhere near the amount of damage as the operator side. Here is what we concluded:

The operator cleaned the filter plates with long spatula from operator side of filter press. Because of size of press, the operator was unable to reach bottom corner of filter press plates on the operator side to clean them sufficiently.

Solids began to build up on on the area of the filter plates that was being missed. In time the plate stack was unable to fully clamp on operator side causing corrosive slurry to squirt out between the filter plates. The slurry that was hitting the side bar caused severe corrosion of the steel and fatigue cracks. It’s also very likely the press was leaking from the bottom. Leaking slurry is dangerous not only because of the damage it can do to a press, but also the potential damage it could do to the operator.

2) On-Site Catastrophic Sidebar Failure

Filter press sidebar failure is caused by solids that build up on the bottom of the filter press plates. In the following case, the solids build up caused a very severe case of uneven load pressure. This pressure caused crack propagation and eventual catastrophic failure of the sidebars.

Our service technicians were called to take a look at filter press photographed below, following sidebar failure.

filter press sidebar failure (2)

Sidebar has broken away from filter press

filter press sidebar failure (1)

Sidebar broken away from filter press (close up)

filter press sidebar failure (3)

Crack in the steel

filter press sidebar failure (4)

Deformed shifter railing

Our advice: Be sure your operator is cleaning all sides of the filter press plate around the filter cloth. Build up on any area of the plate will cause fatigue and eventual failure.

Filter plates should be clear of filter cake after every cycle. If a scraper is needed to clean them off, the operator should take care to clean off the entire plate. Pay close attention to the bottom of the filter plate as gravity often causes solids to build up there. Hard to reach areas might be inconvenient to clean, but you’ll be glad you did. It is also important to keep the sealing faces clean of sludge. Periodic rinsing with a high pressure power washer is also recommended.

Filter plates should always be power washed and cleaned when it is time to change your filter cloths and/or gasketing. It is very important to keep the filter plate clean under the cloth.

M.W. Watermark offers a filter cloth change and installation. We would take care of removing your old filter cloth, cleaning your filter plates, and installing new cloths.

If you have any questions about how to cleaning your filter plates and cloths, please contact our Sales and Service Team; they will be happy to assist you: 616.399.8850.


© Copyright 2014 M.W. Watermark

Avoid Filter Press Failure! Clean Your Filter Press Plates!

4 thoughts on “Avoid Filter Press Failure! Clean Your Filter Press Plates!

  • December 3, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    Hi nice read about avoiding plate press failure I have brought a side beam press for my sand and gravel operation in the uk what are the main things to keep on top of as I don’t want a failure of any kind.

    • December 3, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Thanks, Trevor. If there is any concrete present in the slurry, we recommend that you keep the press full of clean water when it is not in use. You don’t want your filter cloths to set up hard. Proper filter cloth maintenance is also crucial as sand/gravel slurry can be abrasive. If you wear holes in your cloth, the aggregate flowing into the discharge can wear the plastic out on the discharge eyes of the plates.

      As we mentioned in this post, make sure to keep your filter plates clean around the sealing surface so the press stays square when it clamps up. Power wash your plates and cloths regularly to avoid cake build up on the plates.

      Lastly, keep in mind that the pumping of the sludge varies based on the percentage of the solids of the sludge.
      • When pumping low solids at a fast rate the abrasiveness can prematurely wear out the cloths, plates, and pipes.
      • Or, pumping high solids without prefilling with water and closing the bottom filtrate eyes can cause plate breakage due to uneven filling of the chamber, this can cause differential pressures in the plates.

      If you have any other questions, or are ever looking to replace your filter cloths, please feel free to give us a call: +1-616-399-8850 (1-877-4-WATER-1). You can also reach us via email: service@mwwatermark.com.


  • March 13, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    We have 2 new J type filter press’s on location, we are starting to see cracking and separation of the center section of the filter plates, we have an additional 6 older J press’s and they are not having this issue, the older plates seem to be a solid plate and the new press’s appear to have a 2pc plate (center plastic welded to side frame) is this a problem that is being seen in other locations, average operating pressure are all the same *70psi for finishing pressure.
    are these just cheap plates or is there something we can do to stop this.


    Harvey Penley
    Sandling Industrial Services

    • March 14, 2016 at 9:53 am

      Harvey, Thanks for your inquiry. I’ve passed your question along to our Aftermarket Sales Team. A team member should be following up with you shortly. Thanks again!


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