In its performance tests, PACCAR Parts found that the FSX diesel particulate filter cleaning machine got filters 9% cleaner than the next best performing machine. A two-stage HEPA filtration system called SootSucker 2 captures ash from each DPF, eliminating the problem of dust settling back on the filters.
There may come a time when every fleet has a diesel particulate filter (DPF) cleaning machine in its shop. But for now, it’s still a pretty rare piece of machinery.
Bison Transport believes it’s among the first fleets to invest in its own DPF cleaning equipment. It chose the FSX cleaning machine, which has earned a reputation as the cleaner of choice among most OEMs and their dealers.
We visited Bison Transport’s Mississauga terminal to see a filter cleaning first-hand. Demonstrating the technology was Mark Irwin, regional maintenance manager with Bison. He said before the fleet could even begin operating its DPF cleaning machines, it had to upgrade its facilities to accommodate its newest toy.
“We initially thought we’d just have to do a quick and simple installation, but it turned out to be a little more complicated than that,” he said. “We had to increase the shop air, we needed a 160 cfm air compressor for the shop and with the additional air requirements, we needed additional power requirements. So there was a little bit of infrastructure required.”
The cleaning process begins with an evaluation of the filter’s current condition, using the FSX Trap Tester. The tester measures the volumetric efficiency of the filter before the cleaning takes place, Irwin explained. The Trap Tester subjects the filter to roughly the same amount of airflow the filter would experience while on a truck travelling down the road at 60 mph. This stage also involves a pin test, which measures 17 different areas of the filter to measure the thickness of the ash in the filter core, Irwin explained.
Next, it’s time for the cleaning itself. The filter is placed in the FSX cleaning machine where it sits on a turntable. Streams of high-volume air are blown into the filter core from both the top and the bottom, which is aimed at removing the ash. Plumes of black ash are seen billowing from the filter during the cleaning process. An ash vacuum, as Irwin describes it, collects the ash and deposits it into a pail. It will then be disposed of along with the company’s waste oil.
Once the cleaning has been completed, the filter goes back to the Trap Tester to ensure it was properly cleaned and is ready to be placed back into service. If the cleaning didn’t restore the filter to acceptable OEM levels, it is then placed into a kiln and baked for eight or nine hours, which is followed by a three-hour cooling down process, Irwin explained.
Now that Bison has a better understanding of particulate filters and their requirements, the company is establishing a preventive maintenance program.
“We’re anticipating the first cleaning to be around 400,000 kms and the second cleaning will be around 300,000 kms,” Irwin said.