Tips for your Industrial Dust Collector Maintenance for Safety


A simple guide to properly adhere to the state policies

There are many industries employ the use of industrial dust collectors to ensure a safe working environment for the employed personnel. Furthermore, the product or service offered by the processing plant is directly affected by how well the industrial dust collector system works. This is heavily enforced by many state institutions who aims to take care of the welfare of employees as well as the consumers as mandated by law. Industrial dust, if not handled properly, can cause problems to operations that can easily be prevented if equipment is properly maintained. In this article, we will talk about ways on how to properly maintain industrial dust collector operations. Hopefully, this can help you save money and protect the welfare of your workers tasked to properly maintain the industrial dust collector.

Understand pressure capabilities inside the dust collectors

It is no secret how important it is to understand the pressure capabilities of the collector. It is not only vital in the specification and selection of vent sizing but as well as comparing venting vessel strength to the deflagration strength. Vent burst pressure is key to effective deflagration protection and to ensure that the system operates smoothly as designed.

Protect from Industrial Dust Deflagration

Deflagration is the subsonic combustion of industrial dust which can spread across the surface of the dust collector. It is imperative that, should the operations be subject to combustible dust, the industrial dust collector has to be equipped with significant deflagration protection. There are many ways to install this to an already working system but the most common one is venting or the installation of pathways that leads to vents. Sensors that are capable of detecting changes in pressure are installed across the operating surface area. When a significant amount of pressure triggers any of the sensors, a protection mechanism will automatically be deployed. Vents that would divert the fireballs from the combustion would open to allow the burst of flame as well as heat and towards a safer location.

The way that a flameless vent is usually set up is that is should consist of a casing that should include a panel of mesh capable of withstanding high temperatures. This mesh should be able to absorb flame and heat from any combustion that should happen at any given time. The installation is done on an explosion vent, deemed to be standard, that have dimensions and other attributes standardized through scientific experimentation.When the inevitable combustion occurs, the vent will open up while opening up the pressure and fire blast into the installed housing. While the layered mesh will then absorb the flame and heat. Which will allow to pass a part of the expected pressure blast to pass safely away from workers without disrupting operations. By doing this, the setup will allow traditional venting to be done indoors. Which is a welcome since there is a chance that it could otherwise put into danger personnel or ignite another explosion. Although this is a common method, there are other protection accessories that can be employed other than venting. You should try to cooperate with an expert dust collector professional expert to look for the best that would fit your needs and day operations.

Keep the ductwork protected

State institutions such as the National Fire Protection Association will demand for the protection for the installed ductwork and for safety operations upstream of the industrial dust collector. In order to keep the ductwork protected you have to equip the installed ducting with an isolation valve that is flow-activated. This should be able to protect downstream operation areas and other processes from the distribution of pressure and flame. This is done via the inlet duct whenever the deflagration will occur and in a dust collector keeping it away from any damage.

When deflagration is in progress inside an industrial dust collector, the pressure blast will shut the valve that will then prevent any passage of flames and smoke to areas up towards the valve. This valve will then latch on to the duct and shut. It can only be opened manually later after deflagration. Should the sensors be activated, the components of the valves may be destroyed and, afterwards only through a thorough inspection can the valve be returned back into service.

Keep industrial dust off the hoppers

There is good reason why an industrial dust collector’s hopper should never be used to store any of the industrial dust collected during operation. The hopper is designed to only funnel the processed dust to a storage bin and no other purpose. There are dust that can accumulated in a hopper which could create a fire or a deflagration risk which can turn into something disastrous. The industrial dust in the hoppers can also diminish the collector’s efficiency and performance simply by clogging the system and not allowing the pulse-cleaning from doing its intended purpose. The self-dumping hoppers can easily provide dust disposal while still being able to protect against any unwanted industrial dust leakage between the dust collector and hopper.

Comply with state regulations

The EPA or the Environmental Protection Agency and the OSHA or Occupational Safety and Health Administration will require that you disclose your emissions. They will look at the values if they are at or below their required thresholds. The important measure here is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value or MERV which is a rating scale that can provide a good indication of a filter’s initial efficiency. This is however not a measure to pressure drops, emissions while pulsing, energy performance or any other parameters that better reflect the dust collector’s efficiency.

There is a way for you to collect and measure a dust collector’s emissions effectiveness. And this is to test it according to the recently published ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 199-2016, Method of Testing the Performance of Industrial Pulse Cleaned Dust Collectors. Using these test measures, the  four key performance parameters: emissions, pressure drop, compressed air usage and emission reading can be tallied and presented to the authorities.

Use pulse-cleaning controls on the industrial dust collector

The way the dust collector’s cleaning function is designed is by working in conjunction with the filter design. There are selective cleaning controls that can provide an easy way to keep filters clean and are easy to do.

The continuous cleaning option fits better for porous industrial dust, such as silica and any kinds of minerals. It can also be used for high dust loading operations such as thermal spray, cutting plasma, or lightweight industrial dust such as fumed silica.

Th on-demand cleaning option can be chosen for most dust types. Using this setting, you can monitor the pressures across the clean-air section while also checking the air filter section of the dust collector. This keeps the operation set to a smaller limit of pressure to activate and keep the cartridge from cleaning. This mode uses the least amount of pressurized air and provides the maximum filter cleaning efficiency and extends the life of the filter to lower expenses.

The last option available is downtime cleaning which allows interval pulsing at the end of a plant operation. It can also be set to be done after completion of a batch process or right after an upset condition which may limit the filter’s performance. When the cleaning period is done, the unit will turn off completely without any needed intervention. This is a vital feature because when you overclean the cartridges of the industrial dust collector during operation, you can cause shorter cartridge life, higher emissions, and higher energy costs because of the overuse of the pressurized air.

Install safety monitors

Another important improvement that you can do to your system is to install your collectors with a safety monitoring filter. In the simplest of sense, these are a secondary bank of high-efficiency air filters that should be able to prevent any of the collected dust from re-entering the workspace. This holds true especially if there is a leak in the dust collector’s primary filtering system. The installed safety monitoring filter must be put in use when the dust collection system recirculates air back into the factory environment.

It is always good to know that there are ways for you to be able to figure out when is the best time to replace a filter in a dust filter system and this is by simply checking if the airflow is above or below what the manufacturer prescribed. Doing this would be a good way for you to be able to pay attention. So that the company will not have to worry about any future damages since they can clean it on time. Ultimately, it would be a great idea to allow yourself to buy a system that will  have a place where you can read the airflow or at least a warning when it does get too messy. This way the workers can take care of it right away before anything untoward happens to the system.

Ensure safe filter change-out

In a perfect world, the staff should never need to enter the industrial dust collector to change the filters or for whatever reason. The dust collectors that do need entry during service will not only put workers’ lives at risk but will also require businesses to petition for confined space entry permits and you have to monitor for gas. To make sure that changing filters is done in the safest way possible, these filters should be placed for ease of access and slide in and out of the case readily.

The simple, heavy-gauge, quick-open, doors can give you access to a quick cartridge change-out setup and this does not require entry into the dust collector itself. You should look out for doors that have a limited lock-out capability for worker safety and any potential delay in operations.

Properly time changing of the filters

While it may be a simple safety requirement, it is quite vital to change filters especially when airflow through the valves reaches a differential pressure maxima. The changing should be done as prescribed by the manufacturer. While there are also times when the pressure drop around the collector is adversely affecting the capability of dust collector operation which may also call for changing. The dust collection system will ultimately try to capture the dust, which will allow it to escape into the facility. There are some long-life cartridge filters available in the market designed to operate for three years or, in some cases, longer between change-outs. But, for any of the heavy dust-loading uses, filter replacement could be more frequent than usual.

Stop fires before they start

Some applications can generate spark and can cause fires which should be taken care of accordingly. The market has a lot of features and technologies which are available for you to choose from. There are retardant resistant filter media and spark arrestors in the mold of drop-out boxes, perforated screens and also cyclone devices mounted at the inlets of collectors. Even fire sprinkler installations can also be needed with some implementations.

You also have the choice of installing cartridges vertically mounted that can help limit deflagration and fire by lowering the heavier loads of industrial dust on the attached filters by the kind of orientation. Inversely, especially with mounted systems aligned horizontally, the industrial dust can become trapped at the filters. In these situations, the filter life can shorten, and thus allow for the dusty surface to spark or ignite and raise the working pressure drop of the filter elements.

Compensate with safety accessories

Sometimes, even the most effective of setups can still cause accidents that cannot be easily foreseen. In these cases, an industrial dust collector’s safety efficiency and performance can be improved by having additional safety equipment. OSHA approved railed platforms for safety or caged ladders can be installed to avoid any slips and falls when the workers try to access the collector for use. These are simple yet vital installations to ensure the safety of the workers. The lock-out or tag-out doors can easily prevent any injury that is caused by an accidental opening of locks during a pulsing cycle. It can also avoid any exposure to toxic industrial dust that the industrial dust collector’s operation may bring. The place where the extremely toxic dust is being kept should be a bag-in or, otherwise bag-out containment system. This may be necessary to keep the workers away from the used filters whenever they perform a change-out.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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3 years ago

Dear Sir, We have a high D.P pressure even at low loads any ideas?

Mindy Jollie
3 years ago

That’s a good point that if you don’t change the dust collection filters regularly, it can escape into the facility. I imagine some kinds of dust are especially toxic for workers to consume. If I worked somewhere with dust, I would need a good dust collecting system to protect my asthmatic lungs.

Environmental Filter
3 years ago

Great article! Industrial dust collection is such an important industry. You have some nice key points as well. Various industries and applications benefit from dust collector technology. They create safer and more breathable environments for not only the workers who work there, but the people around those facilities as well. 🙂