A new ultra-fine oil and fuel filtration system used in the shipping and commercial vehicle industries is now available in versions that fit farm machinery.


Made by German filter manufacturer Micfil, it filters down to 0.5 microns (0.5 millionths of a metre) and is designed to work with both engine oil and fuel.

The oil filter is positioned in a bypass line, while the fuel filter is sited in the main flow. There’s room under most tractor bonnets to accommodate them, says Micfil, or it can be mounted externally at the bottom of the cab. Most farmers would be able to fit the filters themselves, too.

OIL

Standard oil engine filters cannot take out water and particles smaller than 10 microns, points out Micfil’s Alexander Proch, and it’s these particles that cause a lot of the wear on an engine.

The Micfil filter’s 0.5 micron filter aims to catch the dirt, combustion by-products, and oxidation and abrasion by-products that other filters leave behind. That means less wear on engine components and potentially fewer breakdowns as the tractor gets older.

There is no need to try to take out particles smaller than 0.5 microns, he adds, since these have the effect of improving the load-bearing qualities and thermal resistance of the oil rather than hindering them.

Micfil oil filter elements are changed every 700-800 hours. The filter costs £400 and replacement elements cost £22 each.

FUEL

The fuel filter is essentially the same unit, except it fits in the main fuel line rather than in a bypass line. Micfil also offers a fuel optimiser, which, it says, uses an electrostatic charge to disperse the clumping of hydrocarbon molecules and improves combustion.

Micfil fuel filter elements are changed every 1000-1500 hours. The filter costs £400 (elements are £22 each) and the optimiser costs £300.

The existing standard engine oil filter could be left in place permanently, but Mr Proch suggests changing it after three to four oil changes. With the Micfil fuel filter installed, the existing fuel filters will last longer before they need changing. Mr Proch advises users to either change the standard diesel filter when they change the Micfil filter, or else leave the standard diesel filter insert out altogether.

* We’ll be assessing how good a job the filter does over the coming months. Two identical six-month-old JCB 3230s on Richard Ledger’s arable farm near Deal, Kent, will be used; one fitted with the Micfil system for both oil and fuel, the other without. The oil will be analysed to see how much it contains in terms of particles and contaminants.

* Micfil UK 01223 969771 www.micfil.com