Learn how to lower your dust collection costs while promoting a safe work environment. Our comprehensive guide covers everything from energy-efficient designs to preventative maintenance plans. Get the knowledge and tools you need for long-term cost savings.
Dust collection systems play a critical role in ensuring efficient production and workplace safety. Without the dust collector operating properly, production may slow or halt altogether, costing a company thousands per day. However, maintaining the system can be costly and time consuming if not done properly and regularly. Fortunately, there are multiple strategies to reduce the time and cost of operating your dust collection system. In this blog post, we will review five effective ways to minimize your operating costs and maximize efficiency.
The points outlined below offer benefits to companies large and small, with dedicated maintenance crews or a single superman holding everything together.
#1 Preventative maintenance plan
The most important thing anyone can do to ensure their dust collector runs efficiently and cost-effectively is to implement a preventative maintenance plan. Performing regular preventive checks and maintenance helps you avoid significant issues that can be costly and time-consuming to resolve. A preventive maintenance plan, at the very least, guarantees that you examine common wear points to address any potential problems before they escalate into major issues. Benefits of a preventive maintenance plan
- Daily monitoring of differential pressure gives you a sense of when to change the filters. This enables you to find replacement filters without incurring rush or expedite fees, and schedule the work for a convenient time that minimizes production disruptions.
- Fix the small things before they cause larger/expensive issues
- Reduce down-time by scheduling maintenance to all items that need attention at one time.
#2 Understand how your dust collection system operates and what happens when things get out of alignment.
We understand that the dust collector is typically the final piece of equipment in a lengthy production line. Which means that changes or problems with upstream processes may, or may not, have a big impact on the dust collector. Understanding your dust collection system and its weak points will help you prevent, quickly identify, and address problems caused by upstream issues.
For example, a Nomex (Aramid) felt filter bag has an operating temperature of 400°F, with surges to 445°F. If you have a temperature spike in the production process causing temperatures in the baghouse to exceed 400°F, it will reduce the life of the filters. They may not fail immediately, but the media will be weakened and more susceptible to tearing. Understanding this, you may keep a closer eye on the baghouse to catch bag failures or move up a scheduled changeout to prevent unplanned downtime if bags start to fail.
Changes in temperature, dust loading, moisture levels, and other factors can significantly impact the performance and wear and tear of your dust collection system.
Understanding how these variables affect your dust collector can also help prevent issues, additional maintenance costs, and costly shut-downs. Making changes to upstream processes to increase filter life or reduce dust collector issues is one cost-effective way to extend filter life and reduce overall operating costs.
#3 Maintain the pulse cleaning system
It’s important to ensure that the pulse jet cleaning system on your dust collector is operating properly to keep the filters clean and the system running efficiently. Doing so helps extend the lifespan of your filters, reduces maintenance costs, and minimizes downtime. Failing to do so may result in blinding of filters, excessive compressed air consumption, and reduced suction at pickup points. Maintenance can include:
- Ensuring that valves open and close properly and without any problems.
- Confirming that valves and fittings do not have any leaks.
- Checking the pressure regulator and control panel to make sure the settings are accurate.
- Ensuring that the on/off times are set correctly. If pulsing On-Demand, verify that the high and low limit settings are still appropriate.
#4 On-Demand Cleaning
On-Demand cleaning is a great, and fairly easy way, to reduce operating costs and wear on your dust collection system. An on-demand cleaning system monitors the pressure drop (or differential pressure) in the dust collector and turns on the pulse cleaning system, only when needed. This reduces the amount of compressed air used and reduces wear on the filters and pulse valves. Reducing compressed air consumption can have significant cost savings when combined with longer filter and diaphragm life.
The on-demand cleaning system uses a pressure module or photohelic to read the pressure drop across the filters. The “high-limit” and “low-limit” are set on the timer board and tell the timer board when to start and stop the pulse cleaning. As pressure builds and hits the “high-limit” the cleaning system kicks on and pulses the filters. As the filters are cleaned the pressure will gradually drop until it hits the “low-limit”. Once the “low-limit” is reached, the cleaning system turns off, conserving compressed air until the pressure builds up to the “high-limit” again and the cycle starts over. To learn more about on-demand cleaning, you can watch our How Does On-Demand Cleaning Work with a Timer video.
#5 Perform fan maintenance
It is recommended to include a weekly and monthly check of your fan as part of your preventative maintenance plan. While fans may be easy to overlook, improper maintenance can lead to significant problems. The fan is the heart of the dust collector and, therefore, needs to be kept in good working order to ensure optimal performance. Fan maintenance can include the following:
- Weekly: Belts, unusual noises
- Monthly: Grease bearings and check all lubrication points and for improper sheave alignment, proper tensioning of v-belt drives.