The Fidas® devices are now used in many countries in Europe, Asia and in America in national environmental monitoring networks for fine dust measurements. Our most recent order for 44 units came to us from Ireland.
A few years ago, we were happy and satisfied if we managed to sell 20 to 30 of our welas® aerosol spectrometers in a year. Today, we are selling around 300 Fidas® units a year. Of course, the rerequisite for this success was certification, and through this approval for regulatory measurements. We were also able to demonstrate in practice that the very high availability of Fidas® that is required in the standard is indeed met in reality. This has also impressed our customers.
But we also had to learn to manage rapid growth. Production areas have been more than doubled in size, and many new employees have been hired. New production processes have been set up. We are now in the process of optimizing these processes.
To safeguard the future of the company, we have now also set up an Advisory Board with experts from the areas of Controlling, Marketing and Sales, as well as Quality Management. The Advisory Board, on which the daughters of company founder Leander Mölter are also represented, advises the Management Board.
the Palas® Management
Leander Mölter and Dr.-Ing. Maximilian Weiß
“Why does it rain or snow from a cloud, and why does it not just fall out of the sky as a whole?” Questions like this are what motivate physicist Dr. Ottmar Möhler, who works at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research in the department Atmospheric Aerosol Research. Here, Dr. Möhler heads the group “Aerosol Cloud Processes.” Clouds play a major role in shaping weather patterns, and research in this specialist field is of paramount importance in relation to climate research.
The research station of the Finnish Meteorological Institute in the Pallas National Park in the Arctic
Photo: Dr. Ottmar Möhler
In September, Dr. Möhler was able to take part in the measurement campaign as part of the 7th Pallas Cloud Experiment in the Arctic, together with Palas® Managing Director Dr.-Ing. Maximilian Weiß and Gerd Schaufelberger, Managing Director of Airclip GmbH. The main focus of this measurement campaign in the
north of Finland was on vertical profiling of clouds with unmanned aircraft and drones and ground measurements at the research station operated by the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), the Finnish counterpart to the German Meteorological Service (Deutscher Wetterdienst, DWD), in the Pallas-Yllästunturi National Park. Teams of researchers from Finland, Cyprus, UK and Germany carried out measurements with balloons, fixed-wing unmanned aircraft and flying drones in the different cloud layers. The HORUS multicopter from Airclip with the Fidas® Fly 100 aerosol spectrometer from Palas® was used to collect data on the size distribution and number concentration of particles under, in and above the clouds. At the same time, measurement data was also collected with another Fidas® Fly at the research station. The Pallas Cloud Experiment, which Palas® took part in under its own initiative, forms part of the European ACTRIS-2 research project, in which data is collected from research stations all around Europe on transient reactive trace gases, aerosols and clouds and made available for research.
Photo: Dr. Ottmar Möhler
strongly, the convection currents from below are reduced, because of which the so-called planetary boundary layer is formed at a lower altitude.” In Central Europe, this boundary layer forms at an altitude of around two kilometers, but it is less than one kilometer in the north of Finland, so this part of the world offers particularly good conditions for the measurements. “In some cases, the cloud base is also lower,” adds Dr. Möhler, “so that the station, which is not really all that high up, often finds itself in the clouds.”
For the measurements, particles were also collected on filters at the measurement station in the Arctic. From the data, a new method developed by Dr. Möhler and his group at KIT was used in the laboratory to filter out from the total collected aerosol particles the few ice-forming particles as a function of temperature. Afterwards, this data was then compared with the total aerosol amounts measured with Fidas® Fly in order to find out what proportion of ice-forming aerosols contributes to the formation of snow and precipitation. “The question is, how does the aerosol change further into the cloud, and are there different size distributions or amounts of aerosols under the cloud, in the cloud or above the cloud?” Dr. Möhler suspects that the larger particles in particular contribute to ice formation. In Karlsruhe, two students are currently working at the KIT Institute on an analysis of the collected filter samples. Dr. Möhler himself is evaluating the Fidas® data and will then amalgamate the data. On account of the fact that the “data and information are very new”, the results are due to be published.
Drone pilot Gerd Schaufelberger with the Fidas® Fly 100 on the HORUS multicopter from Airclip
Photo: Dr. Ottmar Möhler
The cloud researcher was particularly impressed with the combination of the Fidas® aerosol spectrometer with the HORUS multicopter from Airclip. “It looked really professional, and I think it is exactly the right kind of development that the people who are developing flight systems are getting together with the people who develop the measurement devices so that both developments can be coordinated.” According to Dr. Möhler, all the participants benefited from the international exchange during the measurements in Finland. “There were absolutely no secrets, everyone was really open in the way they worked together, and we were all interested in developing these things for science because we understand that we can break new ground here.”
Further information can be found here: www.imk-aaf.kit.edu
Filter media test rig MFP 3000 HF
The MFP 3000 HF was developed at Palas® in order to meet the highest requirements for filter media testing. On this test rig, it was possible for the first time to determine the separation efficiency in a wide size range from approx. 20 nm to 20 μm.
In close cooperation with the largest filter manufacturer from Baden (Germany), Palas® has developed a new, intelligent testing concept for filter media. It meets the most stringent requirements not only in terms of measuring technology and climate control, but also in terms of occupational health and safety in accordance with the Machinery Directive.
The combination of the Promo® 3000 aerosol spectrometer (measuring range 200 nm to 40 μm) and the Palas® U-SMPS system (measuring range 5 nm to 1200 nm) in the MFP 3000 HF enables the clear and unambiguous determination of the separation efficiency of filter media across the entire size range that is relevant for the filter.
The dependency of the filter efficiency on the ambient conditions, relative humidity and temperature is also supported by the MFP 3000 HF in a straightforward manner. The wide-ranging temperature control from -10 to +50 °C and the control of relative humidity from 10 to > 80 % can be realized for inflow velocities of 4 cm/s to 2 m/s with the highest consistency. With individually controlled heating and cooling zones, it is possible to simulate effects such as particle condensation or icing.
The large selection of different test aerosols like DEHS, NaCl and KCl plus dusts (ISO A2 Fine and ISO A4 Coarse) round off the options for filter media testing in accordance with a wide range of standards and under the widest operating conditions.
This generator (LSPG 16890), another innovation from Palas®, can generate salt particles in a size up to 10 μm with the highest consistency. And this at the low aerosol concentrations that are required for filter media testing with small air volume flows.
In the past, the special requirements for salt aerosols (KCl) in accordance with the new ISO 16890 could only be realized on large complete filter test rigs with air volume flows between 800 and 5000 m³/h. With the new KCl aerosol generator, Palas® is closing the gap in demand for application in filter media testing for small volume flows up to 72 m³/h.
In addition to high dosing consistency, the LSPG 16890 also stands out with simple operation and ease of cleaning when using KCl solutions.
However, all conventional dilution systems share the problem that they are not able to dilute droplet aerosols in the required manner. The reason for this is that the conventional dilution systems act here as a separator for droplets larger than 3 µm.
This is why Palas® has developed a further dilution system in addition to the tried-and-tested models DC 10000, KHG 10, PMPD 100 and the VKL system in the form of the LDD (Large Droplet Diluter), which solves this problem.
The technical basis of this device is a well-known principle that has now been optimized for the first time for the dilution of highly concentrated droplet aerosols. With the aid of this system it is possible to dilute droplets with a size of 8 µm with a factor of 10 or 100 and to make them available for measuring devices.
Applications for this include, for example, the testing of oil separators in air compressors or oil separators that are used in crankcases in engine construction. Here, the particle spectrum of the oil mists can range up to a size of 8 μm. As they are present in very high concentrations, they need to be reliably diluted in order to make their particles measurable at all.