Industrial Dust Collector Operation – Doing It Safely

Written by on May 15, 2019 in Stuff with 0 Comments

Industrial collectors primarily rely on industrial dust collectors in ensuring that their work-related activities are carried out in compliance with the national regulations. Part of it is to make sure that employees and the rest of the people present in the area where the activity is conducted are kept safe from risks or potential danger.

What is an Industrial Dust Collector?

An industrial dust collector is a machine or a system that enhances the quality of air that is released from commercial and industrial processes. The concept is basic. From what its name suggests, a dust collector literally collects dust and other impurities, especially hazardous, from air or gas that is released out of an industrial activity and then a clean air comes out.

Considering the seriousness an industrial dust collector's role, it is downright important to look for and invest in the right one that will surely be able to function as required.

Dirty Air Filtering

The dirty air with dust particles in it navigates through the ductwork towards the duct collector machine. Then a set of baffles in the form of angled metal pieces slow down the speed of air. Consequently, this slowdown keeps the dust from hitting the filters at full speed until it reaches the dirty air plenum or the dust collector's side that stores the dirty air. At the bottom of this space, collected dust are dropped into a hopper or a drum.

Dust Capturing

Once the dirty air is filtered, it then passes through the cartridge filters of the dust collector. These filters capture the dust. Some may end up falling off while majority are bound to stick to the filters. At each of the filter's top, there are gaskets that seal the dust to the tube sheet to prevent the dusts from sneaking through.

Filter Cleaning

Filter cleaning is on a regular basis is important to make sure the filters work at an optimum. It is performed by blowing a pulse of compressed air into the filters.  This pulse travels reversely when compared to the regular airflow and blows the accumulated dust off the filters.

How to ensure a safe industrial dust collection system?

Dust collectors are supposed to keep workplaces and workplace safer. However, a lot of collectors in the market today differ from a safety standpoint. Hence, once you are able to spot the industrial dust collector that best addresses your requirements, it is as much important to utilize a safe industrial dust collection system as much as possible. Here are some safety practices to follow:

1) The higher the pressure rating is, the better.

There are dust collectors that are equipped with an explosion suppresion or venting system. With this, vessel strength plays an important role in sizing the explosion protection equipment. That said, it is always best to use a heavy-duty dust collector with a higher pressure rating as it increases the chances of sustaining against the impact of combustible dust explosion. The higher pressure rating also supports a cost-efficient and cheaper explosion protection system in compliance with the NFPA standards.

2) Protect ductwork at all times against explosion hazards.

This can be done with the use of valves and dampers as these two are designed to reduce the risk of explosion within the components. The thing is, nowadays, ductwork protection is usually neglected and overlooked. With the potential hazards being constantly present, looking into the matter deeper is highly advised.

3) Clean your hopper from time to time.

Do not let the collected dust sit in the hopper for a long time. Equip your hopper with a device that discharges dast into a storage container or a separate drum after it is pulsed off the filter when the cleaning process takes place. Not doing so can hamper the performance of your collector  with the system clogged up. Or worse, it can increase your chances of catching potential fire or explosion.

4) Using a PLC to control filter pulse-cleaning is highly discouraged.

PLCs or programmable logic controllers are famous for what they do but history shows that they are not appropriate to be used in pulse-cleaning of dust collector filter cartridges.

Pulse-cleaning naturally count on brief, high-energy bursts of compressed air to blow the dust off the surface. PLCs slows down the pulsing and can jeopardize the dust collector's performance.

To keep it working at an optimum, use a timer board instead as it is especially designed to filter pulsing.

5) Ask from your filter supplier a written guarantee of emissions performance.

EPA and OSHA require that emissions work at or below needed thresholds. To best predict a filter's air quality compliance, mass density efficiency ro the weight per unit volume of air is usually taken into consideration. To ensure this aspect, it would be best if you ask for a written guarantee of emissions performance from your supplier. This guarantee has to be stated as mililgrams per cubic meter or grains per cubic foot.

6) Your industrial dust collector's design should facilitate an easy and safe filter change-out.

A safe change-out means there has to be minimal to zero confined space entry. To exercise safety, changing the filters must not require workers to literally enter the dust collector machine. However, there are still collectors that will need entry during the filter changing activity due to inappropriate placement, inaccessible filters, or the hard to glide housing. This is highly risky in nature but it's something a company will have prevented as long as the right dust collector system is employed.

7) Minimize the frequency of filter change-outs.

As mentioned above, filter change-out is a risky process that needs to be laid out in a safe and less-service demanding manner. This can be inevitable if your company uses a non-pro safety dust collector. Nonetheless, the risk can be lessened with the help of extended-life cartridge filters which are known to reduce the frequency of needed replacement. With these filters, workers will be spared from being exposed to dust and other landfill impacts.

8) Employ effective fire prevention technologies.

In case there's fire, potential damage can always be lessened with the help of effective fire prevention technologies, e.g. flame-retardant filters, spark arrestors, preformated screens, or cyclone devices installed at the inlets of the dust collectors, and fire sprinkler systems.

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