Review – Microclene MC760 air filter – First impressions

Following on from dust strategy update

I’m quite paranoid about the effect of wood dust (including MDF dust) on my health and that of my family.

Bill Pentz has some good information on the subject here.

I ordered a Microclene MC760 from Poolewood Machinery (AKA Hallvalue Ltd) on Monday night and it arrived on Wednesday.

I’ve never used Poolewood before but they were about £20 cheaper than anywhere else, so I gave them a try and I’m very impressed 🙂

Microclene MC760 air filter

My decision to buy the MC760 was largely based on the claim on the manufacturers website of filtering down to 0.4 microns, however having discussed it with the manufacturer, I now realise that the filter is only 65% efficient at filtering 1 micron and below particles, so I’m thinking about modifying it to improve this.

Filtration

To achieve 1 micron filtering other filters and extractors use 2 or 3 layers of filters and I had assumed that the Microclene would be the same, but it only has a single filter made of a white fuzzy material which I can nearly see through in places. This is apparently a G4 filter.

Open MC760 showing single G4 filter

The best resource I found to explain filter ratings was this, which (assuming it’s correct) tells me that a G4 filter is 90% efficient at filtering particles of 5 microns and above in size. There is also some information on performance testing here.

I’ve contacted the manufacturer (next day response from Ron – see update below) and the supplier (immediate response from Terry – very impressed!) and I’m now investigating fitting a second filter behind the G4 one.

Update 27/05/2012: I have received a response from Ron at the manufacturer, Acrol Ltd.

He states that the filter is made by one of the best filter media companies in the UK and is made to the G4/EU4 standards and is actually above the standards for G4.

He repeats their claim that it will filter down to 0.4 microns, however he also states that EU4 means 65% arrestance rate at 1 micron and 90% at 5 microns, so both the alternatives listed at the bottom of this post claim better effectiveness out of the box.

I have continued to correspond with the manufacturer and I think I’ve arrived at a solution which will work for me, at the expense of airflow.

Fan inlet of Microclene MC760 air filter

MC760 fan inlet (behind G4 filter)

Everything else

Other than my concerns about the effectiveness of the supplied filter, the MC760 seems well made, with a thick steel body and a good paint finish.

The top has a handle, power input via a “kettle lead” socket and the on-off switch (the angled profile of the back panel can be seen in this view)

Top of Microclene MC760 air filter

It’s a lot more compact than I was expecting, but this is no bad thing given the size of my workshop 🙂

Despite its small size it’s pretty heavy and this adds to the feeling of quality.

The optional filter for airbrush work, the stand and the booth make for a very versatile filter and I’m glad to have resolved my concerns with it.

Update 23/10/2012: The filtered air is expelled from two slotted vents in the 45 degree angled portions of the back panel, allowing for the unit to be placed close to a wall without affecting the airflow.

Two mounting ears are provided (seen reversed below) for hanging the unit on two screws.

Rear panel showing angled vents and mounting ears

Alternatives

As far as I can see this is pretty much a straight choice between the Record Power AC400 or the Jet AFS 500 (or the slightly cheaper Axminster equivalent)

The Jet claims 98% effectiveness for 5 micron particles and 85% for 1 micron particles.

The Record’s bigger brother, the Record Power AC2 has 3 stage filtering and claims 99% effectiveness on 5 micron particles and 91% on 1 micron particles, so I would expect the AC400 to be less effective than that.

I’ve sent Record Power a message requesting the figures and will update this page when I get a response.

Update 28/05/2012: Record have responded to my query stating that the AC400 has two filters, the outer being capable of filtering 99% of 5 micron and above particles and the inner being capable of filtering 99% of 1 micron and above particles.

If this is correct then I don’t think there’s any reason to buy the AC1 or AC2, as the AC400 out-performs them both.

Update 02/06/2012: Record have revised their claims in relation to the AC400 after further questions. They now say the outer filter removes 98% of all particles from 1 to 5 microns and the inner removes 85% of particles below 1 micron

Things I like

  • Extremely compact
  • Very powerful
  • Good build quality
  • Very flexible – optional filters, stand and booth

Things I don’t like

  • G4 filter only 65% effective at arresting particles 1 micron and below

I’ll add

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11 Responses to Review – Microclene MC760 air filter – First impressions

  1. Martin says:

    Thanks for the review. How noisy is the machine? I love how compact the unit is and easily portable but don’t really want something that creates excess noise.

    • John says:

      Hi Martin,

      Sorry for the delay in responding – my phone wouldn’t let me reply for some reason.

      I wouldn’t say the Microclene is very quiet, but if I’m creating dust then I’m usually running extraction and power tools/machines and they are all louder than the air filter, so I don’t think it matters much to me.

      I certainly wouldn’t say I need ear defenders to work with it running on its own after the machines have stopped, but I sometimes do anyway as I’m quite sensitive to distracting noises.

      If I get a chance I’ll download a decibel meter app for my phone and see what it says – I doubt it’ll be massively accurate but it’ll give you an indication

      I hope this helps

      John

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  3. Jennifer Smith says:

    Thanks John. Yes, I have read all your posts. I’m on UKW so had seen them previously but thought I’d see what you thought now you’ve used it for a while. The extra filter obviously adds to the cost, but I agree that a smaller unit is preferable as I’d like one that can be moved around to where it’s of most use and sit on a shelf.

    Can the microclene be vented outside or is it just a big vent at the back?

    • John says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      It’s two vents – one either side in the 45 degree angled portions of the back.

      This means you can put it pretty close to a wall without ill effect, but it would certainly be non trivial to try and connect these long slotted vents to ducting for venting outside.

      I’ll add a photo of the rear to this post for you.

      John

  4. Jennifer Smith says:

    Based on your updates and the information on filtering that you’ve been given, would you still buy the Microclene or would you go for the Record AC400 as this seems to have better filtering out of the box?

    I do find it a bit confusing with the stated filtration as none of the manufacturer’s websites are 100% clear on what filtration you’re actually going to get. Microclene seem to be the only ones stating below 1 micron filtration but at 65% effectiveness it isn’t that good if the Record AC400 does indeed filter 85% of below 1 micron particles (which isn’t what they say on the website – just says filtration to 1 micron).

    • John says:

      Hi Jennifer,

      Part of the problem is that I believe all such figures are by weight, so the smaller the particle, the less significant it is in the sum of “all particles under 1 micron” and the lower 85% and 65% look in terms of confidence …

      If I was choosing again today I would be tempted by the AC2, which removes 99% of particles up to five microns and 91% of particles up to one micron in size using 3 filters.

      That said I’d be mostly swung by the timer and remote control, not necessarily the filtering. The size and weight would put me off (Size WxHxD: 605 x 310 x 865mm. Weight 29kg) and I don’t really have the headroom in my single garage to hang one from the ceiling.

      I think I made the right choice for me, but of course that doesn’t make it the best choice for everyone 🙂

      Hope this helps

      John

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