Sales of large dewatering and process filter equipment and media will continue to prosper and grow by $2 billion to more than $5.5 billion in 2011, according to an online report by McIlvaine Company (www.mcilvainecompany.com), titled “Liquid Filtration and Media World Markets.”

McIlvaine divides the solid/liquid separation market into the following categories: sedimentation and centrifugation, liquid macrofiltration, cartridges, and cross-flow membranes. Liquid macrofiltration includes bag, drum, disc, and sand (multimedia) filters. It also includes tubular and leaf filters, as well as backwashing filters, filter presses, belt filter presses, and vacuum belt filters.

All segments of the market are on the rise, according to McIlvaine. The mining industry is a big user of disc and drum filters, as well as filter presses. The present rate of activity is very high, as mining companies attempt to expand facilities to help alleviate the worldwide shortage of many metals. Suppliers in Africa report activity levels at twice those of a year ago. Coal mining is also expanding to meet the huge growth of coal-fired electric power generation in China and elsewhere.

These same coal consuming power generators are also creating new demand for filtration equipment to dewater gypsum. The sulfur in the coal is trapped in the generator stacks by scrubbers, which react limestone with the sulfur to produce gypsum. Belt filters are the leading technology for dewatering this gypsum prior to shipping it to the wallboard plant.

The chemical industry is a major user of recessed chamber filter presses and bag filters. This segment is enjoying high growth in Asia, according to McIlvaine.

Granular media filters are the most common technology for purifying municipal water supplies. Despite some competition from membrane filters, McIlvaine says this segment is also growing robustly. The massive movement of rural Asians to urban environments has created a huge demand for municipal waste treatment.

A number of new Asian suppliers are now competing with the international companies. Due to its large internal demand, China will be the key battleground. Ultimately those suppliers who are successful in China will have the most leverage to gain in the international marketplace. As a result Andritz, Siemens, and the other major international suppliers are aggressively pursuing new business in the Chinese market.