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Common Industry Terms

March 2015

The filtration industry uses industry-recognized terminology to communicate various things relative to filters. What type of filter is it? How does it work? What components are included within the filter and what does that tell us? What are the performance levels of the filter itself? These terms help us to understand the characteristics of all filters, regardless of brand.

Here are a few common industry terms relative to filtration.

Filter Cartridge or Element
Filter media that may be, and usually is, cylindrical and is disposed of when it reaches a set limit or restriction as it removes contaminant and holds it. Cartridges may be of pleated paper, pleated wire screen, fiber packed or wound in a core or fibrous board material cut into discs and stacked atop each other to form a cylinder.

Spin-on Filter
A filter that typically includes a cartridge or element contained within a threaded canister assembly, which allows the filter to be attached to and removed from the filter adapter (adapter base).

Filter Adapter (Adapter Base)
A cast or machined device used to hold a filter in a position and to introduce oil into the filter. An adapter is used with spin-on filters as well as with shell-type filters. It includes a gasket sealing groove or surface, inlet and outlet ports and either a stud bolt or a threaded hole for attachment of the filter.

Filter Housings
Containers designed to hold filter cartridges and to direct the flow so that contaminants are permanently removed from the flow stream.

By-Pass Filter
A filter that is designed to accept a small percentage (10%) of the fluid in a lubrication system and pass it through a very restrictive media or centrifugal particulate separation. Typically, the fluid is sent to the by-pass filter and then directly back to the sump or crankcase. The fluid is said to have been “scrubbed” due to the restrictive small particle separation that occurs.

Full-Flow Filter
All of the oil that goes through this filter moves on to lubricate the engine. This filter removes the larger particles of contaminant that may be harmful to the engine from the oil. All oil is cleaned when a full-flow filter is used.. We will include additional terms in future editions of Tech Tips.