Today we will be reviewing the amalgam separator that is most offered by the bigger Service Companies in the United States of America, the SolmeteX Hg5®.
Thank you for following us on this journey to learning how to read the User Manuals of the top six amalgam separators sold in North America. Our last segment started with the amalgam separator that requires the least amount of work, maintenance or inspection, the M.A.R.S LibertyBOSS.
Currently, SolmeteX offers six different models of their Hg5® series of amalgam separators. Over the years there have been some different user manuals, some with conflicting information. Today, we will navigate through many different versions of the SolmeteX users manuals to fill in some missing gaps, left out by new releases.
SolmeteX User Manual
Though SolmeteX has six different models of their Hg5® brand of amalgam separators, the installation instructions are all reasonably similar.
Below in bold are SolmeteX’s general recommendations for the installation of the Hg5®, Hg5® NXT, HG5® Mini and Hg5® Mini NXT. In italics are M.A.R.S’ thoughts on these recommendations;
• Place in an easily accessed location for replacement of collection container.
Most of the Hg5® amalgam separators require weekly inspections, having the system installed in a location that is accessible for both inspections and maintenance.
• Place between treatment rooms and vacuum source. DO NOT connect to outlet of separating tank or water ring pump.
Most amalgam separators are sedimentation based, requiring a particular flow rate to function properly. Installing almost any amalgam separator after a wet or dry vacuum system will significantly reduce the efficiency of the system.
• The Hg5® should be installed so that the outlet is higher than the tank or pump inlet. This requirement is specific to SolmeteX. M.A.R.S feels the location of an amalgam separator should be relative to the type of suction pump the office has and the location of the inlet pipe from the dental chairs that enters the mechanical room. If the inlet from the dental chairs enters from the floor, or close to ground level, it should not affect the function of an amalgam separator by having the system installed on the floor. If the inlet from the chairs enters the mechanical room from the ceiling, and the office has a dry-vacuum system, then installing an amalgam separator above the inlet to the pump’s air/water separator, would make perfect sense. Alternatively, if the office had the inlet from chairs enter the mechanical room from the ceiling, and they have a wet-vacuum system, the amalgam separator should be installed on the same level as the pump.
• Use provided inlet and outlet couplings. DO NOT glue plumbing to the Hg5® inlet and outlet.
SolmeteX supply Fernco flexible couplers for the inlet and outlet of the Hg5® systems.
• Securely mount or support the baseplate.
The Hg5® system has a six-pound aluminum plate with a 7” base for stability. It is recommended to have the Hg5® firmly secured to the floor or wall. Securing the Hg5® does double duty; 1) it stabilizes the system and 2) It minimizes the vibration from the suction pump, which can vibrate the filter pins out of place, causing the filter to fall. • If mounting to a wall, use the four (4) plastic standoff (included), one on the back of each hole in the baseplate.
• Write the installation date on the collection container.
It is important to note the installation date of an Hg5® filter, as it is required to change the canister every 12 months at a minimum.
• If attaching to the floor, the four (4) plastic standoff will not be required to be used.
Hg5® and Hg5® NXT
This is the installation portion of both the Hg5® and Hg5® NXT. As mentioned above, the installation instructs are very similar between each SolmeteX model.
Hg5® Mini and Hg5® Mini NXT
The SolmeteX Hg5® Mini and Mini NXT models were created for smaller, four operatory practices. The Mini stands slightly shorter (7.5”) than the original Hg5®, this system was meant to fit in smaller locations, like under sinks. The installation of these system remains the same as the regular Hg5® system.
Hg5® HV and Hg5® HV NXT
The High Volume models of the Hg5® is designed for Dental Practices larger than 10 chairs, but smaller than 20 chairs. According to SolmeteX Representative Brian Mergentime, the HV is not often sold, as it is rather expensive, requires a sturdy wall mounted installation, increased 3” suction lines and does not function as well as two Hg5® systems installed in a parallel.
Please note that there are some common mistakes made by Service Technicians, Plumbers, and Dentists when installing an amalgam separator.
The solids collector of a suction pump has nothing to do with amalgam separation; it is the last line of defense for your suction pump. It is meant to protect your pump’s warranty in case any material was to by-pass the amalgam separator.
If you are like many Dental Practices that have improperly located a solids collector in front of your amalgam separator, you should be handling and disposing of the solids collector as toxic waste, adding to your amalgam separator costs.
Had the amalgam separator be located before the solids collector, the material in the solids collector would be considered sewer safe, which saves Dental Practice on the disposal fees.
As anyone can imagine, a system installed backward will not function as intended. In the photo below a plumber was confused on the installation of the SolmeteX Hg5® and installed the system backward.
An easy way to avoid this mistake is to remember amalgam separators work on sedimentation, the inlet of every amalgam separator is at the top, and the outlet is at the bottom.
Due to the complexity and variety of the SolmeteX systems, this blog will be extended to three different segments. We just completed the Installation portion, next will be Inspection, Maintenance, and Troubleshooting.