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GEA Westfalia Separator Group
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Cross-Flow Filtration –
Ceramic Membrane Elements and Membrane Filtration Systems

GEA Westfalia Separator Group develops, manufactures and installs ceramic membranes and complete membrane filtration systems. Thanks to cross-flow filtration with ceramic elements, a solution is now available from a single source for many application areas requiring the parallel employment of separators, decanters and membrane filtration.


Benefits to the user: intelligent technologies using centrifugation and membrane filtration, matched to each other, provide a significant improvement in process line efficiency – for example, in the following applications:


Food industry

  • Production and processing of dairy products
  • Clarification of fruit juices, wine and beer
  • Water treatment


  • Continuous contamination-free separation of biotechnologically recovered products from fermenters

Chemical industry

  • Catalyst recovery
  • Purification and recovery of raw materials
  • Recycling of solvents

Recycling technology

  • Water treatment
  • Recycling of cleaning baths
  • Oil-water-emulsion separation

Technology and function of the ceramic membrane elements

Where other filtration systems meet their limits, dynamic filtration with ceramic membrane elements opens new horizons.


The demands for maximum mechanical and chemical stability, coupled with the lowest possible flow resistance are met by using a support made of pure α-Al2O3 with a  macroporous structure. The membrane is applied to this support material and consists of at least one, but usually several, layers of highly porous ceramic, with a precisely defined texture. The layer with the finest porosity determines the filtration characteristics.


GEA Westfalia Separator Group offers an unrivalled broad, application-specific spectrum of membranes and element geometries. Membranes with rated pore sizes of 1 to 1400 nanometres are available. Ceramic membranes are therefore ideal for use in microfiltration and ultrafiltration.


The superb properties of such membrane elements are used successfully in filter systems from GEA Westfalia Separator Group worldwide:

  • Inert material
  • Acid and lye resistant
  • Solvent-resistant
  • Regenerative
  • Backflush no problem
  • Wear-resistant
  • Long service life
  • Reliable
  • Heat-resistant, steam-sterilizable

The ceramic multi-channel element

The body of the basic module, the ceramic multi-channel element, consisting of high-porous ceramic contains several round channels running parallel to its longitudinal axis on the surface of which the membrane is mounted.


The suspension to be clarified flows into the channels along the membrane, whereby a partial stream passes through the membrane as filtrate and is discharged by the carrier material. Due to the very high permeability, the pressure loss on passing through the carrier is so low that it is negligible compared to the pressure drop when passing through the extremely thin membrane.

The fundamental configuration of a ceramic membrane filter:

Configuration of a ceramic membrane filter from GEA Westfalia Separator

Complete membrane filtration systems

There is not just "one filter system" with respect to purpose, appearance or business considerations. There is a completely different set of laws for manufacturing of food products than for treatment of waste water or processing in the chemical industry. No matter how diverse the fields of application for our membrane filtration installations are: we develop the optimum solution jointly with our customers for the specific duty and in this way open up the economical advantages of ceramic membranes.


Over 1000 filter installations are currently in operation world-wide in a variety of sizes and for various applications – to the satisfaction of our customers.