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LifeTec™ Liquid Filters for a Natural Resource

Industry: Spring water

Problem: The producer's water needs to meet certain requirements and be bottled at the source to be classified as "naturally clean" water.

Solution: Incorporating Donaldson's LifeTec™ depth and membrane elements for pre, fine and sterilization filtration into a fast, extensively digitized and customer-specific production process.


In the natural course of a mountain stream, flowing and falling distances should have a particularly activating and vitalizing effect on the biological forces of the water. Following this model, the “Lebensgut Quelle” in Fulda/Germany is naturally enriched with oxygen throughout its flowing distance, before passing through the newly-developed Donaldson LifeTec liquid filters in the bottling plant.

For water to be recognized as spring water, it must be “naturally clean”, and may only come from underground water resources that meet certain requirements. It may be filtered, but unlike mineral water, it should only be bottled at the source. Due to this prerequisite, the bottling plant was set up in 2005 by the Fulda W-E-G Foundation, close to the 270 m-deep source used by Lebensgut, with the aim of obtaining a characteristically alkaline water. A prerequisite for this was the construction of a patented water tower. In the tower, the spring water flows very smoothly over the 41 cascading granite slabs, and therefore loses a significant proportion of gases stored in it, and is enriched with oxygen. Via the next seven flow forms, it enters a buffer tank. The spring water is then filled into bottles at a low pressure of 2 bar, through the LifeTec pre and after filtration systems.

Fig. 1: The new clean room production facility for Donaldson LifeTec liquid filters in Germany.

Karl Sickau, Director of Lebensgut Quelle, and developer of the bottling plant describes how the water is obtained: “By flowing through the special flow forms, the water is converted back into its natural form. It is low in sodium, suitable for a low-salt diet, and has a pleasantly neutral taste. We are convinced that we can obtain very vitalizing, healthy water, which has a positive effect on the body’s acid-alkaline balance.“

The growing numbers of customers who buy Lebensgut water are clearly also convinced. One particularly convinced consumer of this oxygen-containing, alkaline water is the largest organic bakery in Germany - and possibly in Europe - Herzberger in Fulda. Thanks to the high oxygen content, bread becomes looser and more voluminous, tastes better, and stays fresh for longer.

Fig. 2: Karl Sickau, Director Lebensgutquelle (left), with Donaldson Sales Engineer Thomas Karollus close to the bottling line.

The new Donaldson LifeTec depth and membrane filter elements for pre, fine and sterilization filtration, which are used by Lebensgut Quelle ­and have also been used increasingly by other European companies in the drinks industry in recent months ­differ significantly from previous filter designs, due to their considerably more stable PP filter element cage, the diamond-shaped sections of which not only optimize the static, but also improve flow conditions.

With the new clean room production (Fig. 1), which was developed last year in Donaldson's Research & Development and Manufacturing Plant in Germany for several million euros, a fast, extensively digitized and customer-specific production process is possible, which permits large batches and 1-item lots. 

Karl Sickau is not dependent on 48-hour delivery, as he always has two sets of liquid filters on hand. However, many users have already noted the importance of fast order processing, irrespective of the filter media, the desired retention rate, and the connections of the different filter housing types. The new 'single piece flow' clean-room production makes this possible.

Fig. 3: The 30" LifeTec pre filters (1.2 micron) in the open process filter housing; behind a closed filter housing with 30" LifeTec afterfilters (0.2 micron).

For 9 years, Lebensgut Quelle has successfully worked with liquid filters made by Donaldson. Karl Sickau says (Fig. 2): “Because we have always been satisfied with the performance of the cartridge filters, we were one of the first companies to test the new LifeTec filter as it came off the clean room production line in Haan, Germany. We are very satisfied with its performance."

"The high stability of the filter cage of the 30-inch elements is remarkable. We are now more certain than ever that by inserting the filter elements into the multiple filter housing (Fig. 3) and due to the daily sterilization cycles with hot steam, no damage can occur. The filtration performance and filter integrity are so impressive that we only replace the filters after over 100 sterilization cycles. That saves us time and money.“

Why Donaldson?

Food and beverage production safety regulations are constantly evolving to address commercial and consumer demands. Organizations subject to regulatory reviews or audits are under even greater scrutiny to understand and comply with the latest certifications and requirements. Donaldson’s LifeTec line of process filters use materials suitable for direct and indirect food contact according to the Food and Drug Administration Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, and European Community 1935/2004.

As a recognized leading provider of filtration solutions for sterile air, gas, liquids and steam used in the food and beverage industry, Donaldson is committed to helping its customers protect their operation and reputation with an extensive product portfolio, advanced filtration technology, and unrivaled customer support.

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Important Notice 
Many factors beyond the control of Donaldson can affect the use and performance of Donaldson products in a particular application, including the conditions under which the product is used. Since these factors are uniquely within the user’s knowledge and control, it is essential the user evaluate the products to determine whether the product is fit for the particular purpose and suitable for the user’s application. All products, product specifications, availability and data are subject to change without notice, and may vary by region or country.