VFA Solutions is a small but innovative company from Schiedam The Netherlands that developes and produces air purifiers for mainly industrial applications. As an engineer I did a wide variety of interesting projects in my full time position at VFA (still doing). In this article I will discuss a few of them.
The PMC (Particle Mass Cummulator) is a 10.000m3/h air purifier developed for warehouses, industrial plants, distribution centres etc. When I started at VFA this was my first assignment.
I came to work at VFA just at the time they wanted to broaden their scope to bigger and more industrialized markets. The Aspra PMC started as a concept that would be the biggest product so far for VFA, and would combine knowledge from previous projects done by my colleagues. Before the development of the Aspra PMC my colleagues engineered and build a batch of prototypes for the agricultiral sector, which I used as a starting point for the Aspra PMC. I had to solve many of the early prototype issues, make it suitable for a slidely different sector by adding the capacity of extra fine filters, and make out of the whole damn thing a real sellable product! In the end I came up with a total redesign 😉
As can be seen in the picture above the Aspra PMC has a fan on top, a fine grid and a brush ring. The working principle behind the Aspra PMC is called the 'ASPRA-technology'. The PMC is in that respect quite similar to smaller products VFA has, however the PMC utilizes a seperated filter for course dust with an unique self cleaning brushing mechanism (bigger particles) combined with a seperated filter for fine dust. The main promise of the PMC is to clean large volumes of air at minimal operating costs.
The Aspra technology consists in principle like any other filter system of a fan that pushes air through an air filter. The main difference between an Aspra filter and a regular Hepa filter is that within an Aspra filter particles are made extra 'sticky' so they get cought more easily.
Basically the smaller the particle you want to catch the smaller the pore sizes of a filter has to be. Filters have different classes depending of how fine the pores are. However filters with smaller pore sizes require more powerful fans, or in other words consume more energy. The extra energy required is especially for industrial applications significantly. The Aspra technology utilizes therefore ionisation technology so even smaller particles can be caught with bigger pores. This works by adding a static charge to particles, so particles get littarly attracted to the filter medium. With this the Aspra technollogy is really suited for applications where large volumes need to be filtered efficiently; hence the PMC !
The first version I created was tested at a boulder center in Delft. In the boulder center they use oxidised magnesium for extra grip during climbing. Imagine a room covered with layers of magnesium dust. It is everywhere. And although with the use of the PMC not all the dust goes completely away, when the PMC is turned off they encounter a real differences. So in other word the PMC has been quite an success for the climbing business!
The second batch of Aspra PMC's for a distrubution centre with of course many small and a few big improvements.
For the Aspra Agro I kind of re-engineered it back so it could be used for a chicken farm again, but of course with many new improvements. (reverse-re-engineering? 😉) This time for the most sustainable chicken house in the world: Kipster !
I see Kipster as a playground for chickens, and is in many ways the future of the modern and animal friendly chicken house. Interestly enough they were also interesed in the air purification of the future... my design 😉 ... brag brag. It is not entirely my design of course. But still, it was very cool to participate in a meaningful project like this. Even more awesome is it when you see the end result of this in a regular supermarket.
The Lidl supermarket sells Kipsters eggs in the Netherlands in blue boxes. I sometimes buy them. They are on average a bit smaller but the taste is very good.
In a chicken house it is normally very dusty. The dust is mainly created by chicken shit....yeah it is what it is. Especially in a chicken house where chickens can flutter around dust is everywhere. The dust (...) is not good for the chickens themselves, for the farmers and also for surrounding residential areas. Besides that governments are implementing more and more regulations about emissions for chicken houses. Thus the Aspra Agro is an interesting development for the sector.
Basically the Aspra Agro is the Aspra PMC without its surrounding construction. They both share the same components. The version you see depictured above has two plastic bags that agregate the collected dust.
During its initial phase we improved uppon some points. It is by the way quite bizar to be un such a chicken house.. especially for such a city boy like me.
More chicken shit! The BMC project is as far as I know the next level regarding chicken shit. And hopefully also the final level, oeps 😉 So we have 100.000.000 chickens in The Netherlands, and they all poe. Let that sink in....
BMC is a company that basically collects nationally all the chicken shit and burns it. It produces on the end of the process more energy than it requires. By doing so it earns money from the energy, the farmers have to pay, and I even believe they are subsidised by the goverment. So that sounds like a proper business model to me! This legal money press machine stinks however in a totally different extraordinairy terrible way! Luckely for me and my colleagues VFA Solutions created a solutions for them (...), yikes.
With VFA Solutions we implemented two huge airfiltration systems on the roof. It has multiple stages inside. I helped with the basic layout of the system and one of the filter stages.
Indoor Air Quality sensor
The latest relevant project I did for VFA Solutions was engineering an air filter system for a parking garage. This building is located in Zwolle, The Netherlands. It is in the city centre where the municupality wanted to reduce the fine dust emmissions.
Inside the parking garage two main shafts are situated with large fans that extract the polluted air from the garage into the city. Especially on peak hours or when older vehicles enter the building the fine dust is too high. The municupality decided therefore to implement a solution by VFA Solutions 😉
I had to come up with an air filter that could be retrofitted inside the existing air shafts and that would require minimal pressure-drop.
On the photos you can see the shaft fans mounted on the floor and the filter system mounted as a floor above them. The filters can be opened electrically for emergency purposes and the ionisation part bellow can be opened manually for maintanance.
And that's it! These are the projects I did for VFA Solutions I thought to be mention worthy.