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
#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.
#3Maintain 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 ourHow 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.
The past few years have been a roller coaster for the global supply chain, with natural disasters and pandemics causing major disruptions for manufacturers. These challenges directly impact manufacturers’ ability to effectively run production and positively impact the supply chain downstream.
In this article and latest “Filtered: On the Air” podcast episode, our experts Tim Keeter and Brent Bassett discuss supply chain issues and its impact on the dust collection industry, while also providing tips on how to alleviate some of the issues that manufacturers face in today’s supply chain.
The Future of the Supply Chain Delays
No industry was immune to global supply chain delays that have been impacting manufacturers the last few years. While some sectors did bounce back quickly, others are still in the process of recovering. Looking ahead, most of us learned that predicting anything has gone completely out the window. It appears things have improved, there are shorter delays, and more products on the shelves. As a result, we’re seeing less supply chain issues impacting consumers. But it’s still hard to tell as there are places around the world that are still recovering. At U.S. Air Filtration, we like to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. One takeaway from the last few years is that we can all be better prepared.
Industry Purchasing Trends
There are customers who have storage space, which has allowed them to update their purchasing process to include a back-up set of filters. More commonly, we see customers who try to order a month or two sooner than they normally would. But that may not always work out because some parts can have multiple delays. While an order may originally have a lead time of two months, there could be an additional delay for another month. One example would be for cartridge filters which consist of multiple parts. All it takes is one of those crucial parts of a cartridge filter to have a delay, and as a result the entire filter is delayed. In this scenario, planning ahead doesn’t always guarantee you’re going to receive your items on time.
How To Reduce Supply Chain Delays
Having a solid preventative maintenance plan is key. If you’re organized with your change outs, and know when they’re going to happen then you can order your things well in advance. One thing that U.S. Air Filtration can do for our longtime customers is help them realize their normal buying patterns. Oftentimes people just don’t know what those patterns may be. But if a customer has been ordering from U.S. Air Filtration for a number of years, we can look at those frequencies whether it’s every 12 months, or every 9 months which allows us to suggest a time to order with a little bit of a cushion.
In summary, a maintenance plan reduces the supply chain challenge because it allows a manufacturer to develop a predictable pattern, and understand the intricacies of their production. Some plants absolutely cannot run when filters clog, which means all production may stop if there is no cushion when ordering dust collector wearables. If you’re one of those clients that is going to shut down without your filters running at peak performance then you need to be able to plan ahead.
Some of the warning signs to look out for include a rising or high differential pressure. If your differential pressure is rising, your filters are getting clogged. If you know how often this happens, then maybe your filters typically last a year. This shows that your normal production schedule is pretty consistent and you could just order a few filters at a time. Knowing when that happens is key. But a lot of facilities will have a tough time because their production may change. They may run 24/7 for a couple of months on a big project and then slow down for a couple of months. So it’s a little less predictable for some people.
Due to the lack of predictability within manufacturing in general, some facilities opt to purchase a back-up set of dust collection parts. While some manufacturers are safe from unscheduled downtime with the availability of back-up dust collection parts, there are still a lot of companies out there that just aren’t equipped to store them. Another factor could be budget and timing.
Having a spare set of filters is always something the U.S. Air Filtration recommends, but we understand that there are challenges that come with this besides the storage issue. Here’s a few considerations with having to store dust collector filters
Contaminants or pests
There are a lot of considerations to make when you’re thinking about storing,100 filters versus 1000 filters. But, at US air filtration we have come up with a solution on how to solve these issues.
STOCK ‘N GO Program Solution
At U.S. Air Filtration we have developed the STOCK ‘N GO program to address most issues that companies are challenged with when stocking extra parts. How it works is, U.S. Air Filtration will fabricate filters ahead of time for customers and store them in our warehouse. This way when a customer is ready for them, we can ship them out just within a day or two of being notified. This takes away the stress and the headache from the ordering process and lead times, resulting in a streamlined purchasing process.
In summary, supply chain issues can have a significant impact within the industrial air filtration industry resulting in delayed lead times passed down to manufacturers. Implementing a maintenance program and having a set-up back of dust collection parts are our top tips to alleviate the challenges that manufacturers face in today’s supply chain environment.
At US Air Filtration, we understand the importance of reducing supply chain delays. We are here to help ensure that your dust collection systems are working at optimal levels, so you can focus on growing your business and meeting the needs of your customers. If you would like more information about the STOCK ‘N GO program, visit us here. You can also reach out at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]
Dust collectors may not be the most glamorous equipment in a manufacturing plant, but they are the workhorse of industrial manufacturing and play a crucial role in keeping the facility clean and safe. Without industrial dust collectors, the production of products like iPhones, watches, and cars would not be possible. However, not all dust collection solutions are equal, and choosing the wrong one can do more harm than good. At US Air Filtration, we are dedicated to helping you find the right dust collection system for your operation. One that will save you time, reduce expenses, and avoid unnecessary shutdowns.
In our first episode of “Filtered on the Air”, our experts discuss the importance of industrial dust collection systems and the different types available. Tara Brown, US Air Filtration’s Equipment Project Engineer, explains that dust collectors are critical for most industrial manufacturing facilities. Industrial dust collection systems ensure high-quality air for both workers and equipment, and may also be required to comply with air emission guidelines or workplace safety standards. Typically, the rule of thumb is if you need less than 500 cubic feet per minute of air volume then we would suggest a shop vac. If your machinery has a port of 3 inches or smaller, a shop vac would be just as effective.
Baghouses offer larger scale filtration and capture large to moderate sized particles with the use of a fabric bag and cage system. They are suitable for high-volume, high-temperature applications. Although, since they require a larger space they are not as compact as other industrial dust collection options. Industries that benefit from a baghouse system include, foundries, casting, mining and minerals and more.
Common Baghouse Advantages:
Walk-in plenums, and easy maintenance access for small or large projects.
Cartridge collectors use cartridge filters made of pleated filter media instead of the bag and cage system. The design of a cartridge collector allows the capture of fine particulates. and are more compact and suitable for smaller facilities. You can find cartridge collectors in industries such as steel, synthetics, or paint/powder booths.
Common Cartridge Collector Advantages:
Modular for easy expansion
Ease of maintenance design features allow for change outs in under 30 minutes
Designed with non-proprietary replacement parts that provides significant cost savings now and in the future
If a cartridge collector is the right solution for your unique application, get to the next step by taking our Cartridge Collector Sizing Quiz. Get a free engineering drawing of your recommendation and pricing immediately. Our cartridge collector sizing quiz is meant for commercial and industrial applications. Not for a residential or home shop.
Installation of bin vents are common on top of silos or large containers that displace air. Common industries that use bin vents can include asphalt, cement, agriculture, tank loading and more. The advantages of installing a bin vent are:
Common Bin Vent Advantages:
High Efficiency – Filter media removes 99.99+ percent of entrained particles.
Low Energy Requirements – Compressed air usage is minimized through precise matching of cleaning requirements and cleaning frequency.
Low Maintenance Requirements – No moving parts inside the collector. Pulsing system can be inspected without shutting down the collector.
Quick Installation – Welded housing is shipped ready to install for minimum erection costs. may be mounted directly to the bin or silo, or supplied with a hopper and support legs as a freestanding unit.
Choosing the Right Industrial Dust Collection System
At US Air Filtration our experts emphasize the importance of choosing the right dust collection system for your specific needs. Factors to consider include the volume requirements, dust characteristics, and the size and layout of the facility. In our podcast episode, U.S. Air Filtration’s Operations Manager, Tim, shares how you can avoid overpaying or underpaying for an industrial dust collection system.
In conclusion, dust collectors may not be the most exciting equipment in a manufacturing plant, but they are essential for keeping the facility clean and safe. At US Air Filtration, we have the expertise to help you find the right dust collection system for your operation. If you would like to contact an equipment specialist for more information, you can reach out at 888-221-0132, email [email protected], or schedule a one-on-one consultation.
Dust Properties – Learn the dust properties you need to be aware of to help you find the right filter media and type of dust collector.
Volume – Understand key variables for measuring volume or airflow requirements in your work environment in order to size your collector properly.
Air-to-Cloth Ratio – Learn why air to cloth ratio is important and how to find the right air-to-cloth ratio for your operation.
Dust Collector Styles – Learn about three most common dust collectors, their advantages and disadvantages.
Low Maintenance Design Features – Learn important dust collector design features that will help you save time and money in long term maintenance expenses.
When sizing a new dust collector, these factors, along with understanding the importance of can velocity, will allow you to avoid unnecessary difficulties that would prevent your system from performing at peak efficiency.
What is Can Velocity in a Dust Collection System?
Can velocity is the speed at which air moves from low in the baghouse to high. The higher the can velocity, the faster air moves up in the system. The right can velocity for your dust collection system will be based upon your application and the density of your product. At US Air Filtration our engineers calculate your can velocity based on a few different factors.
Agglomerating/non-agglomerating (stickiness of the material)
How to Calculate Can Velocity for a Dust Collector
In simple terms, the calculation is based on the area of the bottom of your dust collector’s filter bags. For example, if you have a dust collection system with 200 filter bags the calculation is the following:
Graphic Above: Dust collector housing ➖ area of the round bottom of the bags (qty 200) ➗ divided by volume
Impacts of Improper Can Velocity in a Dust Collection System
Low Can Velocity
Low can velocity can lower air speed. If left for an extended period of time, dust can begin to accumulate inside your duct work. This build-up of dust work can cause a decrease in airflow or suction at your pick-up points, thereby resulting in an insufficient performing dust collection system.
High Can Velocity
High can velocity can cause higher differential pressure and an increase in cleaning cycles of the pulse-jet cleaning system. This can result in filter bag abrasion caused by too much airflow through the dust collector housing and increased energy costs.
A dust collection system with a high can velocity may filter as you expect at first, but as time goes on, dust will continue to cover the filter bags. The dust collection system will not be able to drop the dust off the bag, therefore the permeability per bag will decrease, and you will lose airflow.
How To Solve High Can Velocity
Solving for an excessively high can velocity can be tricky. We recommend working with a U.S. Air Filtration engineer to help determine what the right solution would be for your particular problem and dust collection needs. In general, some of the solutions can include:
Industrial dust collection suppliers generally quote systems based on air to cloth ratios, but it’s important to keep in mind that air to cloth ratio and can velocity are related. Can velocity is a variable to consider depending on what type of material you have. For example, if your application includes very light material, we recommend paying close attention to the quotes you’re receiving. If one potential supplier has quoted you with a low inlet, high can velocity, and a price that is significantly less, then that dust collection system will have higher differential pressure, an increase in cleaning cycles, too much airflow through the dust collector housing causing filter abrasion, and ultimately be unable to perform as it was intended to.
Considering all the components involved in choosing the right dust collection system can be an overwhelming process. While it’s important to understand the impact of can velocity on both performance and price, our ultimate goal at U.S. Air FIltration is to provide you with the full service of designing and engineering the right dust collection system that will meet your specific needs and requirements. When you work with U.S. Air Filtration engineers for your next dust collection project, they will ensure you have the right air to cloth ratio and can velocity that will allow your system to perform safely, efficiently, and reliably for many years to come.
If you’re just getting started, you can request a free project consultation with a dust collector equipment engineer here. Get assistance with can velocity, CFM, volume, filter media, design spec recommendations, and more.
In a new dust collection project you have two types of costs; up-front and long-term. Up-front costs play a major role, but equally important are long-term operational costs which can add up significantly over time.
Upfront Costs of Baghouse Ownership
Cost of engineering and design
Baghouse system and parts
Long Term Costs of Baghouse Ownership
Stack testing: The frequency and requirements for stack testing will be determined by your state or local air pollution office. For example, if you are located in California you would refer to the AQMD office for the rules and regulations your facility needs to meet.
Energy Usage: This includes the energy costs to run the dust collector itself and all of its components. The dust collector component to consume the largest amount of power from a baghouse would be the fan, and fans can consume up 95% of the baghouse energy. Other costs include the compressed air being used to clean filters.
Cost Saving Tip: On-Demand cleaning improves dust collector performance while reducing energy consumption and labor costs. Learn more about on-demand cleaning for Pulse-Jet technology in this article here.
Replacement Parts: The 5 most commonly replaced parts on a dust collector are filters, pulse valves, timer boards, solenoids, and diaphragm kits. Beyond the replacement parts on the dust collector itself, you will also want to consider the replacement costs for the dust collector’s accessories. This may include:
Fan: With proper maintenance of the fan’s belts and bearing, a fan can typically last as long as the baghouse itself. For free access to a fan maintenance guide, head over to our PDF here.
Screw Conveyors: Being on the dirty side of a dust collection system, a screw conveyor receives a lot of wear and tear. This is the reason why a screw conveyor may wear out before the lifespan of a baghouse ends.
Duct Work: Abrasive atmosphere or dust can contribute to the erosion of ductwork.
Cost Saving Tip: Understanding the signs of a worn out dust collector part can help you identify any issues before they become larger problems. Learn more about the common warning signs in our video here.
Shipping: These are costs associated with shipping replacement parts.
Cost Saving Tip: Eliminate price increases and delayed lead times with automatic parts delivery that you have full control over. Get answers to the most frequently asked questions about parts delivery here.
On-Going Maintenance: One of the tips to maximizing the life of a dust collection system is implementing a preventative maintenance plan. Depending on your system, preventative maintenance checks can be weekly, monthly, semi-annual and annual. For access to a comprehensive dust collector maintenance guide with free PDF download, visit our article here.
Beyond preventative maintenance, there is a 22-point inspection which can ensure your system is running at its peak performance. To get more information on a 22-point inspection and what it includes, check out this article here.
Waste Disposal: Costs associated with removing and disposing of dust and debris.
Labor for Change-Out’s: There are multiple factors that drive the cost of labor for a change-out. Some of these include travel, number of filters being replaced, the environment of the dust collector, and more. When you choose to outsource this service to experts, it may include:
Repair or replace damaged solenoids, valves, or diaphragm kits
Any other repairs or troubleshooting needed on a baghouse – for example, vibration issues with a system after a filter change
If you are looking for more information on dust collection services and the commonly asked questions needed to determine cost, get full insight with this guide.
Highest Long Term Costs of Baghouse Ownership
Replacing dust collector parts like the filter cartridges, filter bags, the delivery cost for those replacement parts, the labor costs to switch out or maintain those parts, and maintaining inventory will be some of the highest long-term costs you incur. Filter replacements will be your highest maintenance item moving forward because, depending on your application, the lifespan of a filter can be anywhere from 1 year to 5 years.
Lifespan of a Baghouse
A properly maintenanced dust collection system in a non-abrasive environment can typically last around 20 years. On the other hand, the lifespan of a dust collection system in an abrasive environment is only between 5-10 years. An example of an abrasive environment can include a dust collector sitting outside of a plant, near the beach. In this scenario, you may start to see rust on the housing within 5 years.
How to Extend the Life of a Baghouse
We understand that getting the most out of your dust collection system is important. Below we are sharing our top tips that can help extend the life of your baghouse.
Benefits that Extend the Life of a U.S. Air Filtration Dust Collection System
To help further maximize the lifespan of a dust collection system U.S. Air Filtration offers the following benefits.
U.S. Air Filtration primes the inside walls of your dust collection system to add a layer of protection
Additional epoxy paint options can be added if required (additional cost varies depending on system size, paint, etc.). For example, a cement barge loading or transferring cement that may require a marine grade epoxy on their dust collection system.
U.S. Air Filtration fabricates our dust collection systems in 10 or 12 gauge, while other suppliers may provide a thinner 14 gauge to cut costs
Where applicable, heavier duty equipment may be provided as an option to lengthen the accessory’s lifespan. For example, a 5HP drive for a 20 foot screw conveyor instead of the typical 2 HP.
Dust Collection Cost-Cutting Steps to Avoid
If purchasing decisions are made solely based on the cost of equipment and not quality or application, you could end up spending less up front, but increasingly more over time. Some of the shortcuts to avoid on the front end are:
Improper Air-to Cloth Ratio: Air-to-cloth ratios may cut up-front costs but they also cut you short on static pressure. For example, baghouses with a 10:1 air-to-cloth ratio will give you inconsistent suction at your pick-up points, resulting in clogged filters and more frequent change outs. Ultimately you’re going to be paying more in the long run than you would have if a proper air-to-cloth ratio was considered. To get a better understanding of the importance of air-to cloth-ratio or how to calculate it, access our latest video here.
Cheap Baghouse Material: Avoid suppliers that fabricate their systems with the bare minimum materials and construction.
At U.S. Air Filtration we do not have a cookie cutter approach. Every dust collection project is specific to the customer. Therefore, we recommend working with an engineer to customize a dust collection system that will meet the unique characteristics and needs of your facility. This is the best approach to getting the long-term performance you need out of a dust collector.
As factories and industrial plants resume production after a shut-down period, employers are faced with the responsibility of minimizing work hazards by instituting best practices and safety measures. This is where a dust collection start-up guide will help.
Starting up your dust collection system the right way will make sure your equipment is operating properly while also protecting the safety of your workplace and workforce. The steps in this dust collection start-up guide will also ensure your system is in good working order so you don’t have to worry about an unexpected shutdown.
To streamline your start up process and make it as hassle-free as possible, we’ve prepared a comprehensive checklist and action item notebook. These resources can help you address any issues promptly. Our guide is broken out into four sections:
Best Practices for Dust Collection Start-Up
Dust Collector Start-up Checklist
Action Item Checklist
Maintenance Questions to Consider
Part 1: Best Practices for Dust Collection Start-Up
Power Down & Lock Out
Before you begin start-up, maintenance or troubleshooting on your dust collection system, your first and most important step is to power down and lockout any machinery. Securing your baghouse for personnel entry can include locking down your rotary valve, locking your blower, or sealing off any adjacent baghouse compartments. Taking these initial steps provides a safe working environment and will
ensure that accidents are minimal.
Additional Watchman & Communication Plan
Designate an additional crew member as a watchman. They should be present to ensure safety procedures are being followed and can immediately assist should any complications occur. It’s important to let your team know what work is being done, where, and at what time. This allows others to re-schedule any work that could impede on a safe start-up of your dust collection system.
If you are working with combustible dust, make sure the dust levels inside of your system are well below being explosive. Perform all hot work, like welding, well outside of the perimeter of your dust collector.
A total shut down and lock out of your dust collector will minimize safety hazards, but you shouldn’t hesitate to formulate a retrieval plan should an emergency occur.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
OSHA requirements for protective gear will vary based on your application. Basic protection can include a hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, and a face mask. Before start-up or entry into your baghouse system, make sure that your crew is supplied with and compliant in wearing safety gear required for your application.
Do you need to adjust your preventative maintenance schedule? If COVID-19 has altered your production and maintenance schedule, consider what you need to adjust going forward.
Do you have the specs for each of your dust collector parts listed in one central location? If not, here is a sample spec template for Filter Bags and Cartridge Filters. Having this ready can help your dust collection supplier get you the right parts quickly, affordably and accurately.
For more complimentary dust collection maintenance resources, visit our blog with over 50 articles on dust collection design and maintenance. You’ll find additional help on the following topics and more.
About U.S. Air Filtration, Inc.
U.S. Air Filtration was established in 1987 to serve the needs of industries requiring air pollution control systems. We aim to meet and exceed United States EPA standards for air quality. Over the years, we have worked on projects ranging from $20,000 to over $3 million. Our Founder, Engineering and Sales Personnel has been active in the industry for over 30+ years.
To help our customers achieve peak production by providing exceptional service, products and expertise in air pollution control.
Our values are the foundation for our actions as leaders, colleagues, employees and citizens. At U.S. Air Filtration, our values incorporate our conduct towards our customers, our suppliers, our fellow employees, and the general public.
Understanding these variables can help you identify whether a standalone cyclone system is best for your application or if you need to pair your cyclone with a larger dust collection system.
How Does a Cyclone Dust Collector Work?
Cyclone dust collectors are small-scale stand-alone units that work to remove large dust particulates from the air using centrifugal force. The filtration process starts with dirty air being drawn into the cyclone dust collection system at a high speed. This high-speed motion works as a controlled “hurricane” inside of the cyclone. The “hurricane” motion allows larger particles to be pushed out and up against the cyclone walls. Then once the dirty air hits the walls of a cyclone, momentum slows down, which is enough to permit larger particles to drop out of the airstream and into a hopper beneath.
Dust Characteristics, Capacity, CFM, and Cyclone Dust Collectors
Understanding your Dust characteristics is the first step to understanding whether you need a baghouse, cyclone or both?
Cyclone dust collectors are ideal for applications dealing with large, coarse dust particulate. If your application contains a mixture of large and small dust particulate, you’ll likely need tofilter larger dust particulate out first with a cyclone and then direct the remaining gas stream to a larger baghouse that uses filters to handle finer particulate. This two-step filtration process helps prevent large particulate (e.g., wood chips) from creating unnecessary wear and tear on baghouse filters.
Beyond dust characteristics, dust loading rates and CFM are factors when considering which dust collection system is best for a specific application. Because cyclone dust collectors are small-scale units, their capacity to handle dust particulate is finite. General dust loading rates can be between a 5-to-30-gallon drum. In terms of CFM, most cyclones operate anywhere around 1000 CFM or below.
Common Applications for Cyclone Dust Collectors
Applications for Stand-Alone Cyclones:
Woodworking applications with only large dust particulate
Agricultural applications with only large dust particulate
Applications for a Baghouse or Baghouse and Cyclone System:
Mining & Minerals
Industrial Equipment and Machinery
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Cyclone Dust Collector
Cyclone dust collectors are designed as a simple steel structure with no moving parts or filters. Because of this simplicity, the main advantages and disadvantages are:
Advantages of a Cyclone:
Low up-front investment. There are a wide variety of models, but generally you can find a cyclone dust collection system ranges anywhere from $500-$3000.
Long-term cost savings on maintenance and repair
Paired with a larger baghouse, can increase the efficiency and life of filter bags or cartridges
Disadvantages of a Cyclone:
Low dust loading rates
Limited CFM capabilities
Low efficiency at capturing fine particulate
Unable to process sticky materials
Application use is limited
Benefits of a Cyclone with a Baghouse Dust Collection System
In specific cases, an engineer may determine that your plant can benefit from pairing a cyclone with a larger dust collection system. Typically, processes that have a mix of large and small particulate are the ideal candidates for this type of setup.
A cyclone could be implemented as a pre-filtration system to eliminate any large, coarse particles that could damage a dust collector’s filter bags or cartridges further downstream. The result is an increase in the performance of a dust collection system and the service life of the baghouse filters. In certain cases, cyclones can also help to reduce dust loading into a baghouse with a high inlet entry. This method reduces internal velocities (e.g., can velocity) resulting in improved efficiency and increased filter life.
To determine whether your application would benefit from a combination cyclone and larger dust collection system, some questions you may be asked include:
What’s the size of your particulate? Is it big? Small? Mixed?
How much dust are you filtering out in a given work shift?
Could your dust collection design incorporate an end inlet as an alternative? While there is no cyclonic action with an end inlet, the attributes are similar. An end inlet helps bring in the dust high, but as it hits a baffle, it redirects the air directly downward. In this scenario, heavy particulate hits the baffle, then slows down and drops out. Then rest of the air is kicked down below the bag, allowing your system to still have can velocity. The disadvantage to an end inlet is these types of baghouses tend to be considerably larger because there must be space for air to hit the baffle.
Even in similar industries, plants will have different requirements and variables from one another that will determine the right dust collection solution. To get beyond the basics, we recommend speaking to an engineer who can help with your specific application and needs.
To summarize, cyclones are limited in their capabilities. In certain conditions you could add a cyclone to be helpful and reduce dust loading on larger systems, but cyclones alone are not typically adequate for most industrial applications.At U.S. Air Filtration our engineers can help determine if the dust collection system you’re looking for would benefit from adding a cyclone. Our goal is to do what we can do to help save you costs, while also ensuring we are designing a solution that will perform long term.
A critical part of the dust collection design process is where to position your baghouse inlet. The purpose of the baghouse inlet is to draw dirty, dust laden air into the system so the air can be filtered. In this article, we will focus on the design factors that help determine a system’s inlet placement (high versus low), can velocity, and the advantages of a high inlet versus a low inlet baghouse.
Dust Collection System Design Factors
When designing a dust collection system, we consider your dust properties and the characteristics of your work environment carefully to identify the best solution. Below are the five most critical dust collection design elements.
During the design process, we consider two primary characteristics that influence baghouse inlet placement:
The amount of dust you are bringing into the collector
The heaviness of the dust
When you have a large amount of dust and that dust is heavy, a dust collection system may benefit more from a low inlet design. When heavy dust enters the unit at the bottom of the system, the natural force of gravity will pull the dust down. Conversely when you have light to medium dust loading and very light dust, a dust collection with a high inlet design would typically be best.
However, even in similar environments the dust loads, work environment, and space can vary drastically. Our best recommendation is to work closely with your U.S. Air Filtration equipment specialist. Understanding all the details and nuances to your specific project will allow us to make the best design recommendations.
Can Velocity and Dust Collection Design
Can velocity is the speed at which air moves from low in the baghouse to high. The higher the can velocity, the faster air moves up in the system. We calculate can velocity based on your CFM, the size of the collector, and your space restrictions.
During the design process, your equipment specialist can help determine if there will be a high enough can velocity that would require a high inlet. A high inlet will eliminate or counter can velocity. This way, dust can drop or if the dust is heavy enough, the dust will overcome upward air movement and drop out without issue.
CFM, space restrictions, and dust loads are all straightforward questions. But depending on the answers provided there can be different results. Here are two different scenarios that could occur during the design process that require two different inlets.
Baghouse Inlet Scenario 1:
No design preference for the inlet.
No space issues
In this case, it’s possible for a customer to have a system that’s designed to hold 700 filter bags, 8’ in length, with a low inlet. This scenario is possible with just about any type of dust. All that is needed to drive that air to cloth ratio down as low as possible, is to eliminate as much can velocity as you can. As a result, your dust collection system will work as intended with a low inlet design
Baghouse Inlet Scenario 2:
No design preference for the inlet.
Yes, there are space constraints.
In this example, if there is only a 15’ by 15’ space to install a dust collection system, the system must be taller and require longer filter bags of 12’ to adequately handle the dust load. filter bag. By design, there will be a much higher can velocity even though the same air to cloth ratio is being used. This is because the filter bag is longer, the dust collector is thinner, more vertical rather than wider, and shorter. These factors all increase can velocity. Because the can velocity is higher, a high inlet would be required to allow better dust dropout.
High versus Low Inlet Dust Collector Design Advantages
When considering a high versus low inlet for your dust collection system, there are certain design advantages that are considered based on dust type and application. There are additional costs for a high inlet baghouse. If your project will allow for a low inlet design, then that’s the route we recommend. Our goal is to help you avoid spending more money than necessary both upfront and in long term maintenance costs.
However, in certain situations it may be worth investing in a high inlet. These situations include:
When you are worried about the dust not dropping out of the airstream
If you are afraid you are going to lose suction over time
In these cases, it may be worth spending the extra money to design a dust collection system with a high inlet, to avoid these issues. You will also have the added benefit of avoiding additional maintenance problems down the road.
Additional Baghouse Inlet Options
What if your application has light dust, but high dust loading? An additional option in this case would be an end inlet. This helps bring in the dust in high, but as it hits a baffle, it redirects the air directly downward. In this scenario, heavy part particulate hits the baffle, then slow down, and drop out. Then it kicks the rest of the air down below the bag, so you still have can velocity. However, we reduce the amount of dust in the airstream so much that can velocity is not as much of a concern as if it was just a standard low inlet baghouse. The disadvantage to an end inlet is those baghouses tend to be considerably larger because you must have space for that air to hit the baffle.
The Design Process with U.S. Air Filtration
At U.S. Air Filtration, our V.P. of Engineering, generally recommends a low hopper entry or side entry inlet baghouse with a full blast height plate/drop-out box plenum, if the particulate from the process is highly abrasive and/or has a bulk density of greater than 70 lbs./CF. (I.e., Sand, silica, glass, etc.) If you have questions regarding this exception, please contact U.S. Air Filtration’s engineering department for further explanation.
At U.S. Air Filtration, we understand that a dust collection project may just be one piece of a larger project for you. Our engineers are here to help solve your concerns and design a solution that best fits your application and facility. If you need to speak with an equipment specialist, please feel free to contact us at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]. If you’re just starting your dust collection project, access our “Dust Collector Purchasing” article for more information on design considerations, airflow, air-to-cloth ratio, and more.
CFM is a measurement of airflow related to air conditioning, heating and ventilation environments. In dust collection applications CFM measures the amount of air per minute that can be moved from a space.
If you’re not familiar with how to calculate dust collection CFM, the process can be intimidating. In this article we will help you understand our approach to calculating CFM requirements for you. Along with the questions you should be asking your dust collection engineering firm to identify the optimal solution for your plant.
Dust Collection CFM Questions to Consider
Where is your dust being created?
Are you using taps or hoods at the points of dust creation?
One of the first questions we ask is, “Where is your dust being created?” This allows us to understand where your pick-up points are, and how many of those need to factor in when calculating your CFM.
Methods of Dust Collection
Once we understand where the dust is being created, then the next question becomes, “What’s the best way to collect the dust at that dust creation point?” Three common methods are:
Many facilities include source taps at every machine. If there are no taps, then a hood or a smaller pickup point can be added. For example, a hood can be added above a table to capture dust if there is a need to constantly maneuver around the table.
If there is movement happening around the machine in different ways (e.g., leaning over a machine) then there may be a need for an articulating arm. An articulating arm allows a way for the hood or pick up duct to be as close as possible to the actual creation of the dust. As U.S. Air Filtration helps you calculate the right CFM, we will work together with you to gather these details machine by machine.
What’s Needed to Calculate CFM?
You may not know the CFM you need, but here are the things you can provide that will allow us to help solve that for you.
How close can we get to the machine?
For example, if the machine has a six-inch tap, then we would know that would require a six-inch duct. Generally, when the machine is designed, your pickup points are also designed with the intention to efficiently capture dust.
Blueprint of your facility or a roughly drawn layout
This helps us understand the distances between the machines, walls, and where the dust collection system will be placed.
Photos of your machines. This helps us identify if you are using taps or hoods.
If there are no taps, how are people using the machine?
Is the machine stationary?
Does someone need access 360 degrees around the machine?
If there are no hoods, what is the size of the machine or table that’s creating dust? This helps us properly size a hood and with those dimensions we can look at velocity at the hood.
Then, depending on the weight of the dust, we get a better understanding of the specific velocity needed to move the dust and the duct size that’s required. These two factors together can help us get to the right CFM for your dust collection project.
Dust Collection Source Capture versus Room Capture
In the case of a grinding application, you may do all your grinding in one room and want to ventilate the entire room itself.
While the initial calculations and process to ventilate one room may seem easier, it’s not necessarily the best in terms of cost. Our recommendation is to get as close as you can get to the source of the dust, which allows you to move less air. This can mean a smaller system, which can lower the price tag of your project while also capturing dust more efficiently.
For an everyday example, let’s say you have dust all over your kitchen floor and you don’t want to vacuum every square inch of it. Then your option would be to try and suck the dust up through a hood. That requires you to pull a large amount of air very quickly, which in turn requires much greater force from the fan to capture the dust. In contrast to that, if you have a vacuum and a hose, then you can pick up everything closely using a very small amount of air and suction requirements.
While it may be tempting to “just ventilate the room”, keep in mind that every CFM comes with a price tag. Moving 100,000 CFM versus 10,000 CFM is going to be more costly. The details that go into calculating your CFM may be cumbersome at first, but it will save you from spending a considerable sum of money in the long run.
Negative Impacts of Miscalculating CFM
When designing a dust collection system, it’s best to err on the high side of CFM rather than the lower side. It’s very difficult is to make a dust collection system larger once it’s in place. It’s much easier, if necessary, to damper the fan down or add a smaller fan.
Correcting for a larger than needed dust collection system involves adding more filter media. Upfront costs are slightly higher, but your system will work well, and you’ll be able to remove dust out of the way as you intended. The reverse isn’t true. If your system is too small, it’s very difficult to add filter media. Getting the dust out of your facility will always be an uphill battle. So, to reiterate when in doubt error on the high side.
If you underestimate CFM, you won’t capture the dust that you need to capture.
The system will not work the way it was designed. Therefore, you will spend a large sum of money on maintenance expenses due to increased wear and tear..
If you overestimate CFM, the dust collection system will work just fine, but long term you will pay 20%-30% more for a system.
Advantages of Working with USAF
One of the advantages of working with U.S. Air Filtration is that we have a team of engineers with over 40 years dust collection experience who can gather the details you provide and calculate the numbers to get you to the right CFM.
Calculating CFM and designing a system is a complex engineering process. We do all the leg work for you, so you don’t have to.
If you would like to speak to an engineer about your specific project, contact us at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]
To download a free PDF version of this Dust Collector Filter Bags Guide simply click this link here.
Choosing the right filter bags for your dust collection system is critical to ensuring long term, reliable performance of your collector and the safety of your employees. Our guide will help you understand your facility’s unique dust properties and provide an overview of various filter media, construction, and treatment options available.
We’ve organized our dust collector filter bags guide into these key topics:
Top Factors to Consider for Dust Collector Filter Bags
Understanding Your Dust Properties
Common Filter Media
Filter Bag Finishes
Filter Bag Construction
Understanding Dust Properties
Choosing the right filter media for your dust collection system is critical to achieving peak performance while reducing system wear, plant downtime, and extending filter life. The first step is to consider the properties of your dust particulate and review the following:
Product – What you are filtering? Does your product contain a moisture or oil? Products with moisture content greater than 25% are not suited for a dry dust collection system (baghouse, cartridge collector or bin vent). Products containing hydrocarbons, including oils, may require the application of special treatment to your filter media for optimal
Temperature – What is your typical operating temperature? Max temp? Media temperature ranges for dry dust collection can typically be sorted into three categories listed below:
< 275°F – Polyester filter media performs very well for ambient airflow temperatures in this range.
Between 275°F and 400°F – Aramid filter media is the optimal choice for temperatures in this
Between 400°F – 500°F – Fiberglass filter media is the most economical option for high-temperature applications; however depending on the type of dust, another filter media may be a better
Once you understand the temperature of your work environment, you can narrow down your filter media options and in many cases, apply a special treatment to the media to further improve performance. Treatment application can be an efficient way to minimize costs before considering a more expensive filter media.
Does the airstream or dust contain chemicals that could damage the filter media? Are their acids or alkalines in the airstream? Often when certain compounds are combined during processing, a chemical reaction can occur, which may require a specific media treatment or coating on your filter bags to protect the bags from accelerated wear.
How abrasive is the dust being filtered? Consider the hardness of the material that’s being filtered along with the shape of the dust. The velocity of your airflow can also make your dust more abrasive. If you are designing a new dust collection system, it’s important to engineer the ductwork, fan size, and unit placement to ensure the airstream is not entering your dust collector too quickly or too slowly.
What size dust particulate are you collecting? Depending on your emissions requirements, your application may require a special membrane. This will apply if your particulate is very fine.
Is Your Dust Combustible?
Combustible dust can be defined as any fine material that has the ability to catch fire and explode when mixed with the proper concentration of air. Examples of combustible dust include wood , food products such as grain, sugar, flour, starch, metals, rubber, chemicals, pesticides, plastics, and more. To protect your plant and your employees from the risks of a serious explosion, carefully consider OSHA and NFPA guidelines and be sure to review your state and local regulations for proper identification and management of combustible dust.
Implement and maintain OSHA’s set of standards regarding combustible dust. When you adhere to OSHA’s set of standards, you are creating a safe work environment, avoiding property and economic loss from an explosion, and avoiding regulatory fines.
Make sure you are meeting codes outlined by the NFPA (NationalFire Protection Agency) . The NFPA publishes a list of guidelines that will help you minimize injury or death from combustible dust. The following regulatory codes are related to the most combustible types of dust (e.g., sugar, wood , fine aluminum):
664, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities
484, Standard for Combustible Metals
61, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities
Dust testing may also be performed to assess the properties of your particulate and ensure proper filter selection and performance. This option may be ideal for new facilities and large applications . If you have an existing plant and many of your filter bags have failed prematurely with no consistent pattern, and there are no signs of workmanship error, it may be necessary to perform laboratory testing to find out if changes in the airstream could be compromising the bags.
Common Filter Media
Polyester media is an economical option with excellent filtration properties and is widely available. This makes polyester the most common filter media used across many industry applications. Polyester has an operating temperature limit of 275°F and comes in both needled felt and woven medias. Both needled felt and woven polyester can be treated with several finishes and membranes to increase the efficiency and filter bag performance in varying operating conditions.
Aramid, also known as Nomex, is used in applications with high temperatures and has excellent filtration and abrasion properties. The operating temperature limit for aramid is 400F which makes it a great choice for applications such as asphalt batch plants, furnaces, and dryers. Both needled felt and woven aramid can be treated with several finishes and membranes to increase the efficiency and filter bag performance in varying operating conditions.
Fiberglass is often used in baghouses with temperatures ranging up to 500°F. Since fiberglass media is typically woven, the efficiency of a plain fiberglass media is lower than most felts. However there are several different membranes and finishes that can be added to fiberglass to increase filter efficiency and performance in harsh baghouse conditions. These finishes and membranes make fiberglass a versatile media for applications with high temperatures. You’ll see Fiberglass media used in industries such as energy, cement/ concrete/aggregates, and agriculture. Different membranes, coatings and finishes can be added to fiberglass media to increase performance in certain applications. This makes fiberglass a versatile media for applications with high temperatures.
P84 media has a high temperature rating of up to 500°F. This filter media handles acids better than fiberglass and also results in less abrasion to the filters due to filter media flex.
Teflon (PTFE) is one of the highest performing filter medias available for a wide range of applications and is also the most expensive. It bears well against chemical and acid resistance, high temperatures, and moist heat. Teflon membrane can also be applied as a treatment on other filter medias to further extend filter life and reduce system wear.
For more information on other media types in the dust collector industry (e.g. PPS, Acrylic, and Polypropylene) access our Fabric Characteristics Chart below.
Filter media fabrics can be made from both natural and synthetic fibers, although synthetic fibers are more common today. As we have seen in the previous section, different fibers provide each media with different performance characteristics. Most medias today are pre-shrunk and include some type of finish to improve media performance. Finishes for felt and woven bags can be different as we will see below.
This process is the scraping of the filter surface across metal points or burrs on a revolving cylinder. Napping raises the surface fibers, creating a “fuzz”, that provides a large number of sites for particle collection by interception and diffusion. Fabrics used for collecting sticky or oily dusts are sometimes napped so they can provide better collection and an easier cleaning process.
Coatings , or resin treating , involves immersing the filter material in a resin which can add certain characteristics to the filter media. For example, fiberglass threads can be coated with Teflon to prevent abrasion during bag cleaning and silicon graphite to aid in acid resistance.
In each baghouse style there are a variety of filter top and bottom configurations that can be used. Some top and bottom configurations are meant for a specific baghouse style, and other configurations can be used across multiple baghouse styles.
Pulse jet baghouses collect dust on the outside of the filter and clean filters from the inside out with a jet or pulse of clean air. Dirty air enters the baghouse and is forced to pass through the filter bags to exit the baghouse. As air pass through the bags, dust is filtered out and collects on the outside surface of the filter bags. This buildup of dust on the outside of the filters is known as a “filter cake.” The filter cake aids in filtration by trapping smaller particles as the dirty air passes through the filter cake and bag. Pulse jet baghouses offer a wide range of filter media, making it an excellent fit for most applications.
Reverse-Air or Shaker
In a baghouse using reverse air or shaker cleaning systems, the particulate is collected on the inside surface of the bag. The dust-laden gas enters the dirty side (inlet) of the collector and flows up through the bag. The particulate is filtered by the dustcake and the fabric, and clean air exits through the outside of the bag. Shaker and reverse air bag top and bottom designs vary by cleaning system and original equipment manufacturer.
Reverse air and shaker style baghouse both collect dust on the inside of the filter bag. Reverse air baghouses reverse the flow of air through the baghouse in order to clean the filter bags while shaker style baghouses clean the filter bags by moving them back and forth in a shaking motion. The buildup of a filter cake is important with these style collectors as it greatly aids in filter efficiency.
Both pulse jet and reverse air/shaker style baghouse come in a number of different bag constructions and understanding the requirements of your specific baghouse is important to ensure proper filter bag fit.
Dust collector air-to-cloth ratio is a critical measure to ensure your collector is performing efficiently.
Air-to-cloth ratio, also known as air to media ratio, is a measurement of the number of cubic feet per minute of air passing through one square foot of filter media.
Generally, a lower air-to-cloth ratio, the more effective your system is at removing dust from the work environment. When determining an appropriate air-to-cloth ratio, there are several factors to consider, including application, type of dust, moisture levels, inlet loading, etc. If the air-to-cloth ratio is higher than recommended, some common issues can arise, including increased differential pressure, frequent filter changeouts, and varying or reduced suction at pickup points. These issues are a result of not having enough filter media to handle the air flow and dust load effectively. As the dust cake builds on the filters, the airflow is restricted and slows, resulting in a decrease in air velocity and suction. From there it becomes a domino effect: air quality decreases, filters clog quicker requiring more changeouts, pulse valves see increased wear, and facility production may be impacted.
Why is the right Air-to-Cloth ratio important?
Ensures dust collector is running efficiently
Minimizes operating costs
Maximizes filter life
To meet air quality goals and requirements
What are the negative effects of an improper Air-to-Cloth ratio?
Increases maintenance which can impact production
Reduced air velocity resulting in poor ventilation at pickup points
Download the chart below for a summary of recommended Air-to-Cloth ratio for a variety of industrial applications.
Dust Collector Filter Bags Additional Resources
Filter Bag Media Quiz
Finding the right filter bag can be overwhelming, confusing and time consuming. There are so many options and it’s hard to know which will work best for your application. Or if there is a better option out there that will get you better performance.
To get you to the right solution, take this interactive filter media quiz. You’ll immediately receive:
Recommendations on the best filter media options for your unique application.
Filter media characteristics chart with media specs and pricing.
No obligation price quote for your filter media within 24 hours.
Selecting the right dust collector filter bags will keep your employees and your operation safe and at peak performance. We hope this information is a helpful resource for you. For tips and troubleshooting guides, check out our article on dust collector maintenance.
If you have specific questions about your application and filtration needs, call today at 888-221-0312 or email us at [email protected]One of our dust collection specialists can assist you with your dust control challenges. If you have an upcoming dust collection project and need assistance, read Dust Collector Purchasing Guide or contact one of our equipment specialists at the number above.