Friess is a company based in Germany, specializing in fluid treatment solutions for close to 50 years. It has a range of highly specialized and niche products providing solutions for various fluid treatment needs, focusing on optimizing fluid quality and service life. 

Interview with Oliver Benneck, General Manager at Friess GmbH.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Oliver Benneck: The company primarily deals with oil-water separation solutions, applying the solutions to a wide range of industries and applications. Two products are offered in this area: tube type oil skimmers and oil separators for industrial use. The oil separators are primarily used in metalworking and washing applications, removing tramp oil from coolant and washing liquid, increasing the service life of the fluids. The oil skimmers have a far wider range of application. Although also used in metalworking and washing applications, they are also used to remove tramp oil from waste water, cooling water and a wide range of other liquids contaminated with oil, grease or fat. 

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

O.B: We are always working on improving our existing products and adapting them to the needs of our customers, resulting in tailor-made solutions. 

Furthermore, we are working on research projects to improve on our portfolio of solutions. As these are currently still confidential, we cannot inform you about those projects at this time.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

O.B: Although our products all deal with optimizing and treating fluids in some way, the range of application is very large and our products do not usually deal with the same types of fluid. 

While our oil-water-separation systems, such as our oil skimmers and oil separators, deal with all sorts of fluids contaminated with oil, our magnetic filtration solutions are primarily used in the metalworking industry, due to the prevalence of steel, iron, stainless steel and other ferritic or magnetizable particles. 

Furthermore, our hydraulic oil filtration systems deal with another type of fluid entirely and filter and treat hydraulic and turbine oil. 

Our range of products therefore usually provides some kind of solution to every kind of manufacturing company, no matter what industry they are in.

As an example, our oil skimmers are widely used in machining applications to remove tramp oil from the surface of the coolant. This not only improves the quality of the workpieces, but also increases the service life of the coolant, as bacterial growth is reduced by removing the oil. However, the oil skimmers are not restricted to this application. Many other fluid systems have issues with tramp oil, such as cooling water and waste water. Our oil skimmers are especially cost effective in the treatment of waste water, as removing the oil with a physical separation process such as an oil skimmer is much cheaper than using chemicals to remove the free oils and fats. 

Our magnetic filters are primarily used in the metalworking industry to increase the service life of coolant by keeping it free of particles. This also benefits the quality of the workpieces, as cleaner coolant results in better surface finish. 

E.E: What is the state of the market where you are currently active?

O.B: High energy prices and geopolitical insecurities have taken their toll on the European market. However, as environmental investments are widely seen as necessary and frequently subsidized, our products are still widely sought-after as they are worthwhile long-term investments helping our customers lower their environmental footprint, while reducing production costs.

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

O.B: Environmental technologies are becoming more and more important as the general populace and governing bodies are fully adopting and supporting a switch to green and carbon neutral manufacturing. Therefore, investments into these technologies have been rising in the past years in all areas of industry as companies are adopting these policies to stay relevant in tomorrow’s manufacturing scene. 

E.E: What are the most innovative products marketed?

O.B: Our electrostatic oil filtration units provide a radically different approach to the filtration and treatment of hydraulic and turbine oils. Instead of relying on filter elements with a fixed pore size, our systems use electrostatic field forces to remove particles of all sizes from oils. This results in a far more thorough treatment of the oil usually doubling the service life of the oil and significantly decreasing failures and down-time in machines. 

These systems are used all over the world to reduce the need for new oil and thereby increase profitability. Additionally, these systems allow the company to greatly reduce waste oils making them environmentally friendlier.

E.E: What estimations do you have for the rest of 2023?

O.B: Despite the difficult overall economic situation, we managed to increase sales by 10% in 2023. This shows the need for innovative environmental solutions by manufacturing companies. Inquiries from new customers for such solutions have been at an all-time high this year, resulting in an exceptional year for us.