The Helix 5000 protein skimmer from Orphek was first announced and revealed at MACNA but there’s been a whole lotta tinkering on the design in the intervening months. While the shape of the body and the pump are highly reminiscent of the RLSS skimmers from a couple years back, a handful of notable features help the Orphek Helix 5000 stand out.
Initially the Helix 5000 was a complete cone skimmer with a nifty ‘Helix’ part of the diffuser plate which encouraged the erupting bubbles to take on a circular path. along those same lines Orphek is upping the ante with an internal impeller, both above and below the diffuser plate. Again in an effort to put a real spin on the air water mixture in order to increase contact time, the impeller below the bubble plate is pushed by the flow of the incoming water, which is now offset from center to really leverage angular momentum.
The real trick here is that the impeller below the bubble plate pushes another impeller above the bubble plate, but the topside wheel is skirted with a stainless steel spring which, in theory, helps to further chop up the fine air bubbles. Simply put, the Helix 5000 invest heavily in reducing turbulence and increasing contact time, all in the name of superior foam fractionation.
Our cone, DC, and DC-Cone skimmers work pretty well as it is, but Orphek could be on to something – it kind of reminds us of the ‘Dynamo’ concept first employed by Planctonite, albeit in a very different way of making the water spin. It would be rather easy to test the same protein skimmer with and without the secondary spring wheel impeller but seeing as the Helix 5000 is still spankin’ new, it’ll be some time yet until we see the evidence to support the added efficacy that the spring wheel purportedly brings.
Orphek is beginning to ship Orphek 5000 skimmers in the U.S. but the pricing is till just a few days from being determined at the retail level. [Orphek]