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Flexibility and Growth: Modular Dust Collectors

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What is a Modular Dust Collector?

Industrial dust collectors are large air filtration systems that are sized to meet a specific capacity. While this may suit a company’s current needs and budget, it doesn’t prepare for future growth. In the next decade, a company may face the dilemma of having to purchase a larger unit. However, modular dust collectors provide companies with an opportunity to invest in and prepare for future growth

Modular dust collectors are compact industrial air filtration systems engineered to capture fine dust particulates, designed with a low profile for easy expansion, and are ideal for applications including welding, grinding, bulk powder, foundries and more. Applications with the following characteristics are ideally suited for this modular system:

  • Moderate dust loads
  • High filter efficiency required
  • Air temperatures below 250°F
  • Facilities with space restrictions

Benefits of a Modular Dust Collector

With so many options for cartridge dust collection systems available, it is crucial to understand the additional advantages offered by a U.S. Air Filtration, Inc. CleanFlo modular dust collection system.

Future Growth at Minimal Cost

Dust collectors are sturdy pieces of equipment that are designed to last for decades, but they also come with a high price tag. It is crucial to think about how this equipment fits into your company’s goals, both immediate and long term. A modular dust collector allows you to build upon your initial investment, instead of having to purchase an entirely new system.

For example, suppose a company invests $40,000 in a dust collector to handle four machines. As the company grows and production expands, an additional four machines are added, requiring the capacity of the dust collection system to double. The company faces two options to accommodate their expansion:

Option #1 Spend an additional $80,000 and get an entirely new dust collection system sized to fit their current needs

Option #2  Invest $40,000 in an additional module to expand their existing USAF CleanFlo unit, thus preserving their initial investment.

Flexibility. Modular, Low Profile Design Options for Easy Expansion

Modular dust collectors aim to provide flexibility to companies by enabling them to expand as their production needs grow. Companies can expand the capacity of their existing system without sacrificing much space, as the bolt-on design of these dust collectors helps keep the footprint small while providing the necessary performance. Since production downtime can be costly, the expansion of a dust collector should be taken seriously.

Replacing the entire system requires tearing down or removing the existing system, resulting in potential days or weeks of downtime. However, with appropriate preparation, a new module can be attached in a day, significantly reducing downtime and the impact on production.

Improve Air to Cloth Ratio

Combined modules improve air-to-cloth ratio while utilizing already-existing resources and reducing cost. 

Modular Cartridge Dust Collector Frequently Asked Questions 

Question: How do you add a module(s) to an existing CleanFlo collector?

Answer: The side panels on the CleanFlo cartridge collectors are bolted on to allow for quick expansion. Simply unbolt and remove the side panel, then bolt on the additional CleanFlo module. Reinstall fan(s) and any additional ductwork.

Question: Can a CleanFlo dust collector module be added to an existing dust collector from another company?

Answer:  The CleanFlo dust collector can be installed and run in tandem with the existing unit, but they won’t bolt together. Essentially you will have two small collectors working together instead of one large collector. This has some benefits and drawbacks.

Question: How long does it take to set-up a modular dust collector?

Answer: The CleanFlo cartridge dust collectors are designed to install quickly and easily. The lower section of the dust collector is shipped pre-assembled and simply needs to be anchored in place. The upper unit is then bolted onto the lower unit.  This can be done in as little as 2-3 hours. Take a look at the assembly video for additional information: CleanFlo Cartridge Collector Assembly Video

Signs You Need to Add A Modular Dust Collector

There are a handful of signs that may indicate a need for an additional modular dust collector. Some of the most obvious signs include: 

  • Reduction in airflowWhen you have a brand new set of filters, and velocities drop within a few hours, days or weeks, then you don’t have enough filter cloth in the system. As soon as you start building up a dust cake, that resistance will quickly cause air velocities to drop at pick up points, which obviously is an issue. The solution to this would be expanding, and adding a modular dust system which would double the filter cloth in the system.
  • Increase in Machines or Dust Load – Before adding machines to your facility, we recommend evaluating your current dust collection system to see if it can handle the increase in dust load. 
  • Poor Dust Collector Performance – Anytime you feel your dust collection system is not performing up to your standards or expectations, you have the option to work with an engineer and see if a system expansion can remedy that problem.

If you would like to learn more about our modular CleanFlo Cartridge dust collector, or if you are interested in finding out if your production line could benefit from the addition of a modular dust collector, please feel free to contact an equipment specialist at (888) 221-0312 or email [email protected]

The Negatives of Pulsing Bags Too Often

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The importance of dust collection systems in maintaining clean and safe working environments across various manufacturing industries is crucial. Understanding how these systems work and optimizing their performance can ensure employee safety and reduce maintenance costs and downtime. 

In this blog post, we’ll focus on pulse-jet dust collectors, one of the most widely used types of dust collection systems. We’ll explain how these dust collection systems work, address frequently asked questions about pulsing bag frequency to prevent dust build-up, and examine the costs associated with pulse frequency. Additionally, we will share tips for optimizing dust collection performance to reduce energy consumption and costs. 

Key Takeaways

  • Working principle of pulse-jet dust collectors
  • Factors that determine pulse frequency
  • The impact on energy consumption and financial costs when pulsing bags too frequently 
  • Strategies for improving dust collector performance

How do Pulse-Jet Dust Collectors Work?

A pulse-jet dust collector works by using a series of high-pressure air pulses to clean the filter bags. The type of dust collection system consists of a set of filter bags, pulse valves, a hopper that collects dust, and a pulse-jet cleaning system. As dirty air enters the collector, larger dust particles drop into the hopper, while finer particles are trapped on the filter bags. 

How Are Filters Cleaned? 

To clean pulse-jet baghouse filters, bursts of compressed air are periodically released and injected through a blowpipe over each row of bags via a venturi. The burst of compressed air helps the filter bags to expand and contract rapidly, effectively cleaning the filters and maintaining system efficiency. On-line cleaning also allows one row to be cleaned while others collect dust particulates. Collected dust can then be removed from the hopper and disposed of properly.

What Type of Applications Are Pulse-Jet Dust Collectors Used In?

Pulse-jet dust collectors are ideal for applications with fine dust particulate. They are commonly used in industries such as cement, pharmaceuticals, food processing, and mining. Pulse jet dust collector’s offer several advantages over other dust collection systems, primarily due to their ability to clean filters while in operation.

What Factors Determine Pulse Frequency?

Filter life depends on whether the wear and tear is from dust build-up or frequent pulsing. It’s important to determine which will cause more harm to your filters. If the dust is large and porous, there’s no need to pulse the bags frequently as it won’t restrict airflow, even when the bag is covered in dust. However, increasing the pulsing frequency when dealing with harmful dust such as lead prevents damage to the filter media and reduces costly replacements.

Pulsing Bags Frequently: The Impact on Energy Consumption and Financial Costs

For efficient cleaning and reduced wear on the filters, it’s best to use an on-demand cleaning system that pulses based on differential pressure rather than a fixed time interval. This ensures that the cleaning system is only activated when there is enough dust on the bag to cause a pressure buildup and increased resistance. 

With on-demand cleaning, the pulsing frequency is not dependent on shifts or production levels. Other cleaning methods may lead to filter wear and tear, using excess compressed, or inconsistent cleaning. It’s essential to have a cleaning system that’s optimized for your dust collection system to minimize costs and downtime.

Strategies to Optimize Dust Collector Performance

There are different strategies to optimize the performance of your dust collection system, common methods include on-demand cleaning and PTFE Membrane.

On-Demand Cleaning

On-demand cleaning is a highly recommended approach to optimize your dust collection system’s performance. This system works by measuring and pulsing off the differential pressure that occurs when dust cakes on the bags. The system is not based on a fixed time interval. Instead it activates when the differential pressure reaches a certain level.

On-demand cleaning offers several benefits, including prolonging the lifespan of bags or cartridges and reducing the need for costly replacements. Additionally, it reduces energy consumption and costs by ensuring that the cleaning system is only on when necessary.

PTFE Membrane

Pulsing bags too often with a required filter efficiency may reduce the filter’s effectiveness by not allowing the filter cake to build up. However, solutions such as using a PTFE membrane can improve the efficiency of filter bags.

Adding PTFE to a bag creates a filter cake that enhances the performance of the bag and dust collection system. PTFE membrane contains microscopic holes that allow air molecules and vapors to pass through while inhibiting dust particles. By keeping the dust on the surface of the bag, particles don’t embed into the fibers, preventing bag failure from plugging up. PTFE membrane bags usually last twice as long as standard bags before wearing out. 

Benefits of PTFE Membrane

  • PTFE filters have twice the lifespan, reducing maintenance costs and plant shutdowns, and increasing production.
  • PTFE bags provide more consistent airflow and can cut out dust collector emissions by up to 800%.
  • PTFE membrane bags clean easier due to their slick surface. This results in less bag pulsing, reduced wear and tear on bags and system, and lower energy costs.
  • PTFE membrane can improve performance in higher moisture or sticky dust environments.
  • The extra cost of PTFE membrane easily pays for itself through longer bag life, reduced maintenance costs, lower emissions, and reduced wear and tear.

Our Approach to Dust Collection 

At US Air Filtration, we provide a personalized experience to all our partners. When starting a new dust collection project, we take the time to understand each partner’s specific needs. We don’t offer a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, we listen and work together to solve problems and find the right solution. We believe in providing a real person to talk to, not a recording or automated system. 

We understand that every project is unique and requires a specific approach. For help with your air pollution control needs, contact one of our knowledgeable team members at 1 888 221 0312, visit our website, or email [email protected]

5 Ways to Reduce Dust Collection Operating Costs

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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.

Dust collector maintenance guide

#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.

Baghouse filters

#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.  

Guide to Dust Collection Can Velocity

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Dust Collection Can Velocity

When considering the right dust collection solution for your facility, we’ve previously mentioned 5 factors that need to be considered: 

  1. 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.
  2. Volume – Understand key variables for measuring volume or airflow requirements in your work environment in order to size your collector properly.
  3. 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.
  4. Dust Collector Styles – Learn about three most common dust collectors, their advantages and disadvantages.
  5. 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.

Dust Collection Manufacturing Facility

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. 

The different dust characteristics and operating factors that help us understand can velocity are:

  • Particle size
  • Bulk Density
  • Agglomerating/non-agglomerating (stickiness of the material) 
  • Loading rates

Dust Collection Manufacturing Facility

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:

Dust Collector Can Velocity Calculation

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:

  • Increasing the size of your dust collector
  • Reducing the airflow.
  • Lowering your volume
  • Possibly a baghouse conversion, but in certain cases this may only lower your air to cloth and not remedy a high can velocity
  • Inlet placement


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. 

Long Term Costs of Baghouse Ownership

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Costs of Baghouse Ownership

Industrial dust collection systems are vital to maintaining efficient plant production and ideal working conditions. Dust collection systems designed to filter airborne dust and debris can range from small bin vents to complex and customized turnkey baghouse systems. There are several factors that play a role when choosing the right dust collection system for your facility. These factors, along with assessing up-front and long term costs of baghouse ownership will help guide you to the dust collector that can handle your filtration needs, while offering long-term cost-saving features.

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
  • Fabrication
  • Shipping costs 
  • Installation
  • 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.

Costs of Baghouse Ownership - 5 Commonly Replaced Dust Collector Parts

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: 

  1. Changing filters
  2. Seal minor air leaks
  3. Repair or replace damaged solenoids, valves, or diaphragm kits
  4. 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.

  1. Eliminate or reduce the unscheduled shutdowns by maintaining inventory levels.
  2. Your compressed air source should be dry and oil free, otherwise it can interfere with your pulse bounce
  3. Use the right air-to-cloth ratio

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.

Costs of Baghouse Ownership - Air to Cloth Ratio

  • 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.

Costs of Baghouse Ownership - How Much Does a Dust Collector Cost


Baghouse vs Cyclone Dust Collector


Choosing the Right Dust Collection System

There are two common approaches for using cyclone dust collectors, as a stand-alone system or as a pre-filtration unit paired with a larger dust collector. This article includes information on:

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.

US Air Filtration Baghouse 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.

Baghouse Dust Collector for an Industrial factory

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:

  • Woodworking (all)
  • Agricultural (all)
  • Mining & Minerals
  • Recycling
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Paper Products
  • Chemicals
  • Rubber Plants
  • Food Manufacturing
  • Bulk Powder
  • Industrial Equipment and Machinery
  • And More!

Food on a conveyor belt at a food manufacturing plant

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:

Questions to Consider:

  • Do you have a dust analysis or DHA (dust hazard analysis)?
  • 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.

High Inlet versus Low Inlet Baghouse Design

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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.

Dust Collection Design Factors

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.

Dust Collection Assembly

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’re concerned the bags won’t clean properly
  • 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.

Baghouse Design

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

Baghouse Design

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.

Guide to Calculating Dust Collection CFM

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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 Collector Purchasing Guide

Dust Collection CFM Questions to Consider

  • Where is your dust being created?
  • Are you using taps or hoods at the points of dust creation?
  • What type of dust are you working with?
  • What are your dust characteristics?

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

How Much Does a Dust Collector Cost

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:

  1. Tap
  2. Hood
  3. Articulating Arm

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.
    •  Tap
      • If there are no taps, how are people using the machine?
      • Is the machine stationary?
      • Does someone need access 360 degrees around the machine?
    •  Hood
      • 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

Dust Collection CFM

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

The Dangers of an Undersized Dust Collector

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

U.S. Air Filtration Dust Collection Engineering

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]

Top 3 Reasons Filter Bags Fail

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When calculating the life expectancy of your filters, there are multiple environmental factors that come in to play. Filters can last anywhere from a few weeks up to 5 years or more, but it really varies. The top factors that can influence filter life are:

But what if your filter bags fail sooner than expected? Here are a few reasons they may be failing prematurely.

  1. Dust Characteristics
  2. Poor Fit & Installation
  3. Undersized Dust Collector

Why are my filter bags failing?

Dust Characteristics


Standard dust collection systems are designed for dry dust environments. If you have over 20 percent of moisture or oils in your process (e.g., working with fertilizers or concrete) you may need to consider a different type of filtration system. If you continue to operate with uncontrolled moisture, the physical properties of your dust may change due to the increase in water content. Certain types of dust can then become sticky or heavy which would cause your dust cake to build quickly, affect the ability of dust to fall off during cleaning and thereby creating a scenario where your filter bags fail prematurely. An excess of moisture can also cause excessive dust build-up in your duct work, rotary valve, and inside the dust collector’s walls. Common industries that deal with moisture are:

Industries with Moisture

  • Chemicals
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Cement

Abrasive Dust

When considering how abrasive your dust can be, consider the hardness of the material being filtered along with the shape. If material is abrasive, a filter bag media with the ability to resist the additional wear and tear is generally recommended. Different types of filter media more resistant to abrasive dust are:

Filter Bag Media Used with Abrasive Dust

The velocity of your airflow can also make your dust more abrasive. Highly abrasive dust may require your housing to be fabricated in stainless steel, titanium or other costly materials that are able to withstand long term wear.

Filter Bag Fit & Installation

Baghouse Filter Installation

Filter Bag Fit

To help give your filter bags better life expectancy, make certain to have the proper bag to cage fit. Filter bags with the correct flex allows the precise amount of momentum to happen when the filters hit the cage. Filter bags with insufficient flex are too rigid and can prevent dust build-up from properly falling off during the cleaning process. The general recommendation is to have between 1/4″ to no more than 3/8″ pinch on your filter bag on each side of the cage. Filter bag media with sensitive bag to cage fit are:

Sensitive Bag to Cage Fit

  • Fiberglass
  • PPS

If you have filter bags with the following medias, also consider oversizing your filters due shrinkage that can occur in temperatures above 450 Degrees F.

Sensitive to Shrinkage

Filter Bag Installation

Proper installation of filter bags allows for optimal dust handling and cleaning efficiency. When it comes to filter bag installation, common errors to watch out for are:

  • Top LoadThe groove between the double beaded snap band should be set into the cell plate. For a video tutorial on the proper way to install this type of filter bag, visit this guide here.
  • Bottom Load – Raw top bags should be folded over the cage with enough material to allow for proper and tight clamp placement.

Undersized Dust Collector for CFM

Industrial Baghouse

A couple of the biggest problems we see people run into with an inappropriately sized dust collector are:

  • Consistently clogged filters
  • Reduced filter life
  • Higher maintenance costs 

To avoid the dangers of an undersized dust collector, consider both CFM and Air to Cloth Ratio. For example, if you have an air to cloth ratio that is too high, the dust you are trying to collect embeds into the filters too fast for your system to efficiently pulse. You end up with rapid build-up of dust, which ends up clogging your filters and making your dust collector work even harder than it should be.


Prevention is the best method for avoiding filter bags failing prematurely and total dust management. Achieving longer filter bag life means the design of your dust collection system should be correct for your specific application from the very beginning. 

At U.S. Air Filtration our specialists are available to help with the design of your dust collection system. Or if your filter bags fail continuously, we can help guide you to the right solutions. For assistance now, contact us at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected].

How to Solve Damaged Freight Issues

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Unfortunately, shipments from any dust collection supplier you work with can sustain damage during transit. While you cannot control what happens in-transit, you can control how you respond to freight that arrives damaged.

How to Solve Damaged Freight Issues

How Damaged Freight Affects Your Bottom Line

Shipping claims and getting replacements for damaged freight can be a frustrating to deal with, but the true price tag of this issue can cost far greater than just a few broken boxes or lost product. Other costs to your business may include:

Minimizing Damaged Freight Issues

The U.S. Air Filtration logistics team understands that packaging can play a role in the potential of damaged freight. Your shipment will be handled by many people along the way. So we keep this in mind when we prepare your dust collection order for shipment in the U.S. Air Filtration warehouse, and we follow a system of best practices that can help protect your items as much as possible.

  • Inspection –To avoid shortages we inspect, count, and match up the items to your packing slip.
  • Right Packaging – Our team makes sure that the box is suitable for the item that is shipping.
  • Proper Seals – We distribute tape evenly to ensure your product stays fully sealed in its package. For palletized items, we shrink wrap your freight multiple times to ensure all boxes remains together.
  • Appropriately Sized Pallets – Our warehouse team makes certain that the right sized pallet, also known as a skid, is the right one for the weight and size of the shipment.
  • Clear Shipping Labels – Labels are legible and durable. Paperwork such as a bill of lading or packing slips are placed inside of a protective sleeve.

How to Solve Damaged Freight Issues 2

How Do I Receive Freight?

There is one golden rule of receiving freight that every receiving dock should follow. Do not accept or sign the bill of lading before checking freight for damage, concealed damage, or missing parts.

It’s critical to pay close attention and inspect all details when you receive a freight shipment. You have the right to record exactly what is missing or damaged. If damaged freight is not recorded, you may not be able to file a successful freight claim.

When you receive freight, here are the steps you should take.

Box Count & Damage Inspection

  1. Count the number of boxes received. Compare the box count to the bill of lading for accuracy.
  2. Inspect the shipment for any visible damages. Ensure all packages are consistent.

Are there any damages present? If yes, then take immediate action with the following steps.

  • Accept the shipment as damaged.
  • Write down all damages or missing box count on the delivery slip.
  •  Take photos to showcase the condition of goods when received.

TIP: Do not refuse a shipment or discard any damaged freight. Your shipment may get damaged further, or worse, lost in storage. Without your dust collection products in-hand, getting replacements or a freight claim solved can take several weeks longer.

TIP: Keep a copy of all related documents like the bill of lading, packing slip, and copy of your invoice.

Communicate Issues

TIP: There is a limited window of time to submit a freight claim for resolution.

Report any damages to your supplier within 24 hours of receiving your shipment and they will help your take the next steps. If your shipment was from U.S. Air Filtration here is what you can do:

  • Contact your account manager directly or the USAF main line at 1-888-221-0312.
  • Send all photo evidence and a copy of the delivery slip to USAF.
  • USAF will help start the freight claim process and get you replacements ASAP.

Damaged freight is a headache that no one wants to deal with. They strain your time and bottom line. If you would like to get help with your damaged shipment, submit your information with our interactive receiving checklist below. Once your information is received, a U.S. Air Filtration rep will be in touch to help.

Receiving Checklist