Plastic manufacturer anticipates growth by investing in air purification

Growing your business will inevitably involve growing pains. A German supplier to the pharmaceutical sector had to comply with stricter government emission standards. They searched and found a solution to counter their increasing VOC emissions. Two Desotec Aircon V-XL filters ensured that the company easily abided by the set limits.

The company produces plastic components for the pharmaceutical industry. Continuous growth made it necessary for the plastic manufacturer to invest in substantial expansion, almost doubling its production. However, increasing their production also increased their emissions. Previously, the company managed to stay below the VOC (volatile organic substance) emission standards for e.g. ethanol and isopropanol, so the air flows did not need to be treated. However, the up-scaling of production meant that the company needed to search the market for a solution.

RTO not cost-effective

Enquiries with an external consultancy resulted in two possible solutions; the first of which was regenerative thermal oxidation (RTO). Since the customer's production process is discontinuous and the VOC concentration not high enough for an optimal return on the RTO, the company opted for an alternative with activated carbon filtration that scored better both technically and commercially. The decision to work with Desotec was made quickly: no supplier in Germany can offer such a system.

A thorough analysis of the air flows showed that two Aircon V-XL filters in series set-up were the ideal approach for a flow rate that was initially estimated between 15,000 and 45,000 m³/h and finally around 20,000 m³/h. The air flows of three emission points are centralised for treatment over the mobile filters. The greater part of the job is done by the first filter, while the second is mainly for polishing. As soon as the first filter is saturated, the polishing filter takes the place of the first filter and a new mobile filter takes over the work of the second.

The series set-up has been in use for more than two years and works very well. Initially, a filter change was required once a month, but the customer managed to optimise the production processes and reduce VOC emissions. It is therefore now sufficient to change the filter two or three times a year. This has ensured that the company can effortlessly remain under the limit of 50 mg C/m³ and is therefore very satisfied with the chosen solution. This recently resulted in a new contract for two years.


At DESOTEC’s facilities, all used carbon is analysed so the right measures can be taken for handling and removing the saturated carbon out of the mobile filters. All molecules that were adsorbed on the activated carbon at the customers’ site, are desorbed inside DESOTEC’s reactivation furnaces. These contaminants are then fully destroyed, in accordance with National and European legislationby an incineration and neutralisation setup. The entire installation and it's emissions are under continuous on-line monitoring, which guarantees that only harmless water vapour is seen exiting the chimney.