To download a free PDF version of this Dust Collection Start-Up Guide simply click this link here.
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.
Part 2: Dust Collection Start-up Guide Checklist
You can print, electronically download the PDF, or access the dust collection start-up guide on your phone or mobile device by clicking below.
Dust Collection Start-up Guide Checklist
- Power down and lock out your dust collection system with lock in place before proceeding further.
- Inspect hopper to ensure the discharge, including screw and rotary valve (if applicable) are free
- Check the interior of your collector for signs of moisture. Is condensation inside the unit?
- Perform visual inspection of filters. Filter should be as clean as possible with minimal
dust cake. Dust cake should be dry, not sticky or caked on.
- Check your cleaning system.
- If you have a pulse jet unit – check your pulse cleaning system.
- If you have a pulse jet unit – turn on header and listen for air leaks coming from your valves.
- If you have a shaker unit – check your motor assembly.
- If you have a reverse air unit – check to ensure bags are taut.
- Make sure your fan is securely bolted to your unit.
- Check to make sure the fan is sealed.
- Check tension on all belts and drives
- Check belts and chains for signs of wear, including cracking and stretch.
SYSTEM START-UP INSPECTION
- Start up your system by powering on your control panel and your fan.
- Check fan for excess vibration.
- Check your controller to ensure all valves are running.
- Check your differential pressure to make sure pressure is within limits
- If your differential pressure is in the blue range noted above, perform a leak detection test.
Part 3: Maintenance Action Item Checklist
Record maintenance issues you’ve encountered during your start-up inspection that require attention below. Note the issue, part type, part number and quantity impacted. Download a PDF copy here.
Part 4: Time Saving Maintenance Questions to Consider
- To eliminate unexpected plant shutdowns due to baghouse issues should you consider a spare set of filters and diaphragm repair kits
- Do you have an ongoing maintenance schedule in place? Download our standard maintenance checklist if you need one.
- 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.
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
- Dust Testing
- Common Filter Media
- Filter Bag Finishes
- Filter Bag Construction
- Air-to-Cloth Ratio
- Additional Resources
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 (National Fire 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 Bag Finishes
Benefits of Filter Bag Finishes
- Lengthen the life of your filter bag
- Better dust cake release (reduced valve pulsing = reduced compressed air consumption)
- Achieve more consistent airflow
- Reduces downtime and maintenance
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.
Filter Bag Construction
The three main baghouse styles available include:
- Pulse jet
- Reverse air
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
- Increased compressed air consumption
- High differential pressure and increased system wear
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.
To download a free PDF version of this Dust Collector Maintenance Guide simply click this link here.
Our dust collector maintenance guide contains troubleshooting and maintenance tips to keep your dust collection system running at peak efficiency.
Table of Contents
|1.USAF Pulse-Jet Baghouse Dust Collector Features||10. Cartridge Dust Collector Change Out Instructions|
|2. USAF Cartridge Dust Collector Features||11. Dust Collector Troubleshooting|
|3. Five (5) Most Commonly Replaced Dust Collector Parts||12. Baghouse Entry Procedures|
|4. When is it time to change your filters?||13. How Differential Pressure Works In Your Dust Collector|
|5. How to Detect a Dust Collector Leak||14. Guide to On-Demand Cleaning|
|6. How to Install a Snap Band Dust Collector Filter Bag||15. Dust Collector Preventative Maintenance Plan|
|7. My Pulse Valve Is Not Working What's 7. Wrong?||16. Dust Collector Maintenance Checklist|
|8. How to Replace Your Dust Collector Diaphragm Valve||17. Dust Collector Start-Up Check List|
|9. How to Replace the Solenoid’s in Your|
|18. Maintenance Action Item Check List|
5 Most Commonly Replaced Dust Collector Parts
Proper upkeep of your dust collector is essential to long term health and performance. As your dust collector ages, system parts will be prone to wear and tear. To keep your system at peak performance, take note of the five most commonly replaced dust collector parts and how you can identify maintenance issues.
5 Most Commonly Replaced Dust Collector Parts:
To know when it’s time to replace your parts, look out for these common warning signs. The more you are prepared now, the better you will be at avoiding the high costs that quickly escalate with unscheduled downtime.
- No power to the timer board
- Pulse valve not pulsing
- Pulse valve leaking air due to small electrical charge coming from timer board
- Leaking pulse valve
- Pulse valve wont fire/pulse
- Rubber on plunger is worn
- Solenoid post is bent
- Plunger is rusted/corroded and can’t move freely
- Pulse valve is leaking air
- Weak pulsing
- Filter bags not being cleaned, increased differential pressure
- Is your spring broken?
- Leaking air even after replacing diaphragm kit and checking solenoid and timer board
- Stripped or damaged threads
- Cracking on valve housing
- Stops pulsing
- Pulse is weak
- Filters aren’t cleaning properly
- High differential pressure
- Loss or reduction of velocity/ suction at pick-up points.
- Dusting from dust collector exhaust
When is it Time to Change Your Filters?
How do you know when it’s time to change out the filters in your dust collector? The video above walks you through the troubleshooting steps you can take to determine if it’s time for a filter change out.
There are typically two reasons people change out their filters:
- The build-up of filter cake is so excessive that it is blinding your filters.
- You have a hole/leak in your filter(s).
Influences on the Life of a Filter
The following are several factors that impact the life of your filters:
|Air to cloth ratio||Cleanliness of compressed air|
|Volume of dust loading||Presence of chemicals – oils, acids, etc.|
|Size of dust||Operating temperature|
|Presence of membranes or coatings||Frequency of cleaning cycle|
|Dust characteristics (powdery, sticky, shape)||Average differential pressure|
|Air velocity through the filters||Proper cage fit|
|Moisture in the dust||Proper installation|
|Ambient air moisture|
How to Detect and Solve a Dust Collector Leak
Have you noticed a continuous emission of dust from your collector? It’s usually indication that the problem is inside your system and a common culprit is a leak in your filters. Here are some of the more common causes to look out for.
Causes of Leaking Dust Collector
- Missing or dislodged filters
- Seal has been compromised or damaged
- Broken seams on bags
- Filter(s) have a hole
If you’re not able to diagnose your problem with a quick visual observation, then a simple die test is your next step. A die test uses fluorescent leak powder and concentrates it at it’s entry points into the clean air plenum. It’s these entry points that are your leaks. Check out the short video guide above that talks about the main causes, how to perform a test, and how much leak powder you’ll need for your dust collector system.
How to Install a Snap Band Filter Bag
Time for a change out or need to install new filter bags? Learn how to properly install a filter bag into your dust collector’s cell plate in the video above.
A double beaded snap band filter bag can be used in a wide variety of dust collectors. In a pulse-jet or reverse air dust collector, you’ll typically see it as the bag’s top configuration. In a shaker dust collector you may see the snap band as a bottom configuration. The snap band is a flexible steel band double beaded gasket that helps create a dust tight seal. You may have also heard of the snap band referred to by other names such as:
Double Beaded Snap Band Names
- Beaded Snap Band Top
- Snap Band Top (Double Beaded and not the same as a single snap band top)
- Double Beaded Snap Ring
My Pulse Valve is Not Working, What’s Wrong?
Is your dust collector showing signs of trouble? It could be your diaphragm valve.
Have you ever had a pulse valve in your dust collector stop working? In this video we will be helping you troubleshoot your dust collector valves and various issues that might be causing the problem.
Common Symptoms of a Worn Out Diaphragm
- Rubber has crack or holes in it
- Diaphragm kit is pitted, allowing air to leak through
- Any holes tears or imperfections indicate it’s time to change it out
- Is your spring broken?
Once you’ve diagnosed your issue down to an old worn out diaphragm, you’ll need to get it replaced. The short video above provides step-by-step instructions on changing out a diaphragm, as well as some helpful tips.
How to Replace Your Solenoid Valve
Are the solenoid’s on your pulse valve damaged? Learn the warning signs and how to replace your solenoids.
In the video above, we’ll walk you through how to replace a broken solenoid. If your has any of these symptoms below, you’ll need to get it replaced before it escalates into a larger maintenance issue with your dust collection system.
Warning of a Damaged Solenoid
- Rubber parts are worn
- Solenoid post is bent
- Plunger is get pitted
- Due to environmental conditions, the coil itself has suffered an electrical short.
- This results in weakened copper wires.
Cartridge Dust Collector Change Out Instructions
Filters are one of the 5 most commonly replaced dust collector parts. Getting your filters replaced quickly and accurately will help you avoid a costly shut down. In this video below, we are showing how easy it is to change filters in a USAF cartridge collector in less than 30 minutes.
- Remove outer door/handle assembly by turning the outer handle counterclockwise. Set outer door/handle assembly aside once free of dust collector.
- Remove inner door/handle assembly by turning the inner handle counterclockwise. Set inner door/handle assembly aside once free of dust collector.
- Remove filters by grabbing bottom of filter and pull straight out – being careful as filter may be dirty.
- Insert new filter cartridge into the dust collector with the gasket facing the cell plate (gasket side first).
- Insert second cartridge, if necessary depending on your DC model, in the same manner as the first (gasket side first).
- Take inner door/handle assembly and thread onto the rod by turning clockwise. Tighten the inner door/handle assembly so it compresses the cartridge filter gaskets by roughly 50%. This ensures the filters seal against the cell plate and the inner door seals the back of the cartridges.
- Take the outer door/handle assembly and thread onto the rod by turning
- Tighten the outer door/handle assembly until the outer door gasket is compressed against the dust collector creating an air tight seal.
- Caution: Be careful not to over tighten doors as the doors may bend or threads
on handle and rod may be damaged. Tighten by hand.
Caution: Do not use sharp instruments or unusual force when installing filters. They are fragile!
Dust Collector Troubleshooting
Are you having problems with your dust collector? Troubleshoot your dust collector now.
Is your dust collector showing signs of trouble ahead? Keeping your dust collector healthy will prevent unscheduled down time, production loss, or a costly shutdown. Here are some of the common indicators your dust collector is having issues, and how you can troubleshoot them.
High Pressure Drop
- Check timer indicator lights to see if it is functioning properly and pulsing the valves. Replace fuse or timer.
- Check air pressure line regulator for proper pressure and leaks. Maintain 80 to 90 psi in header.
- Check hopper discharge and 55 gal drum lid for leaks allowing re-entrainment of dust. Repair seal or joints if leaking.
- Check differential pressure lines (tubing) for plug or breaks allowing faulty readings.
- Moisture in the dust causes a hard dense cake, which may blind the filter media.
- Check air supply for clean dry, oil-free air. Faulty air systems will coat the filter on the inside and blind the filter causing high-pressure drop and premature
replacement. Always maintain clean dry air for the cleaning system. Attempt to dry the tubes by circulating clean warm air through the collector and going through several cleaning cycles. Empty the hopper. Check the process to prevent condensation. If Nanofiber cartridges are exposed to high moisture, water or liquids of any kind they may need to be replaced.
A Reduction in Pressure Drop Accompanied by a Dirty Exhauster Output
- One or more filters may have holes in them or have damaged seals. Perform colored fluorescent die test to identify, if possible. Repair/replace, as necessary.
Continued Drain on Air Supply
1. A solenoid valve may be stuck open or a diaphragm may be ruptured.
This can be detected by listening to each valve at the unit for constant airflow noise. Inspect rubber diaphragms and or solenoid seals and replace as needed. Open top doors and identify which blow pipe the air is flowing from. In turn this will identify the failed valve or solenoid assembly. Inspect diaphragm valve for failed diaphragm or small particle seated on diaphragm. Clean or replace as warranted.
Baghouse Entry Procedures
Performing maintenance or troubleshooting the interior of your baghouse can be dangerous. Here are some basic baghouse entry procedures to minimize your risk for accidents and hazards.
Power Down & Lock Out
Before you begin any 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.
Also, make sure to shut off the compressed air supply to the pulse jet cleaning system and allow the system to cycle until the pressure is relieved before entering the baghouse. Taking these initial steps provides a safe working environment and will ensure that accidents are minimized.
Safety in a Confined Space
The inside of your dust collection system is almost always defined as a “confined space”. No matter the application, it’s best to ensure you have safety guidelines in place whenever entry into your baghouse needs to occur. Here are some of the general safety precautions you can take. Designate an additional crew member as a watchman. They should be present at the entrance point 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 safe entry into your baghouse.
If you are working with combustible dust, make sure the dust levels inside of your system are well below being explosive. All hot work, like welding, should be performed well outside of the perimeter of your baghouse. If hot work must be done
inside the baghouse, thoroughly purge the space with clean air until dust is no longer present.
A total shut down and lock out of your baghouse will minimize safety hazards, but you shouldn’t hesitate to formulate a retrieval plan should an emergency occur while employees are in inside the confined space.
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 entry into your baghouse system, make sure that your crew is supplied with and compliant in wearing safety gear required for your application. You can find additional information on OSHA’s website about personal protection equipment hazards and solutions:
Guide to Differential Pressure
Differential pressure is a critical tool to make sure your dust collector is operating properly. In the video above, we’ll answer these top questions about differential pressure and how to use differential pressure to keep your dust collector at peak performance.
Top Questions about Differential Pressure
- What is differential pressure?
- How does differential pressure work?
- How can I use it to better maintain my dust collector?
- What do sudden changes in differential pressure mean?
- My differential pressure reading is high. What can I do to fix it?
- My differential pressure reading is low. What can I do to fix it?
- What differential pressure should my dust collector be at?
Since every dust collection system is different DP readings are relative and should be compared to the collectors baseline levels.
A dust collector with brand new filters usually sees a DP reading of one to two inches. As the filters age and become more entrained with dust the differential pressure levels over time, near the end of the filters life the DP will be around six
inches and stay there even after the cleaning cycle has run.
Running a collector consistently above six is not recommended since it will likely cause a noticeable drop in plant suction and lead to faster dust entrainment and shorter filter life.
Guide to On Demand Cleaning
Pulse Jet Technology and On Demand Cleaning
Pulse jet cleaning is the most common type of dust collector available today and makes up nearly 50% of all new dust collector installations. In a pulse jet dust collector, filter bags are cleaned when a high pressure jet of air, or compressed pulse, is sent through the system to shock the bags and remove and fracture the dust cake. One advantage of pulse jet dust collectors is the bags can be cleaned while the dust collector is still running so plant production and processing can continue without interruption.
It’s important that bags are cleaned regularly to improve airflow through the system, prevent plugging from dust build up, and improve pick up velocities. But it may be time consuming and labor intensive to know how frequently and how often the bags need to be cleaned. On demand cleaning is an automated cleaning system for your dust collector that can improve your dust collectors efficiency and performance while reducing energy consumption and labor costs.
How On Demand Cleaning Works
In a pulse jet dust collector, as dust starts to cake on the bag the differential pressure between the dirty air environment and the clean air environment increases. With on demand cleaning, the control panel is set by the operator to clean the bags only when the differential pressure reaches a high range, then the system will pulse down to a lower range. Cleaning pauses until the differential pressure reaches the high range once more and the system will automatically pulse down again. This continues as an ongoing cycle that is performed the entire time your dust collector is running.
Check out the video above to learn more about what on-demand cleaning can do to improve your dust collector and your operation.
Dust Collector Preventative Maintenance Plan
How do you ensure your dust collector is running at peak efficiency? By being proactive with a maintenance plan.
- Longer filter life
- Reduce unplanned down time throughout the year
- Prevent a dust collector explosion
On-Going Maintenance Procedure (may not apply to all models)
|1. . Check compartment differential pressure model inside the panel for normal|
|10. Air Moving Equipment: Fans should be mounted on rigid foundation or supports.
For specific requirements, see fan manufacturer instructions in this manual.
|2. . Observe if timer properly operates all pulse valves||11. Check the anchor bolts periodically to see that the vibration has not loosened or
damaged the fittings. Bearings should be periodically lubricated in accordance with
the bearing manufacturer’s lubrication instructions. Bearings should be removed,
inspected, and replaced, if necessary, as soon as excessive fan shaft vibration
becomes apparent. Also, check the shaft itself for such damage as scoring or heat
cracks. Never over lubricated bearings.
|3. Check hopper dust level. Dust collectors are not designed to hold material.||12. . Impellers should be inspected at regular intervals for imbalance due to
deposited materials on the blades. Critical clearances between impeller, inlet rings,
and fan housing should be checked and maintained in the same conditions as when
the fan was installed. Similarly, the conditions of key ways and/or setscrews should
|4. Check the air pressure to the solenoid valves. Air pressure to the header should|
range between 70 and 90 psi. NEVER MORE than 100 psi. If more pressure is required
to clean the filters then there is a problem with the filter media and or a problem
with the particulate flows and density. High air pressure will cause failure in the
|13. Belt tension should be maintained to prevent undue slippage or unnecessary
stress on bearings (both motor and fan).
|5. . Lubricate fan bearings monthly if applicable.||14. Most fan motors are mounted on sliding bases. Make sure the base is secure.|
|6. Check damper valves for proper seating||15. Large fan motors may be supplied with a pivoting motor base. This type of base
automatically controls belt tension to respond to each change in load when
properly adjusted. The tension is determined by the amount of offset of the motor
with respect to the pivot point. To level the motor, loosen the cradle bolts at the
ends of the pivot and adjust the take up screws on the lower part of the base until
the motor is level. Tighten the cradle bolts.
|7. Inspect filter media monthly for wear and replace if necessary, as indicated by|
dust emission from discharge of fan or stack.
|16. . Worn belts should be replaced; thus, spar V-belts should be maintained in stock.
To change V-belts, loosen the bolts holding the motor to its base, remove worn belt
and replace with new one. Make adjustments for proper tension and tighten bolts
|8. Paint to guard against corrosion.||17. . V-Belt sheaves should be replaced when groove wear interferes with the efficient
functioning of the drive.
|9. Maintain door seals and gaskets and replace when they lose resiliency or become|
damaged. Do not paint seals or gaskets at any time.
|18. For fans with a modulation inlet damper, check the linkage for binding monthly.|
Dust Collector Maintenance Additional Resources
Dust Collector Maintenance Checklist
USAF has prepared this list of recommended preventative maintenance checks that can provide a better operating system with less overall maintenance and increased up-time. The frequency is only a recommendation. You may wish to increase or decrease the frequency.
Dust Collector Start-Up Checklist
Looking to start up your collector after an extended shutdown? Follow these steps to make sure your systems starts safely.
Dust Collector Maintenance Item Action Checklist
Record maintenance issues you’ve encountered during your inspection that require attention below. Note the issue, part type, part number, and quantity impacted.
Here to Help
For more information on dust collector maintenance, parts, troubleshooting, and other resources you can visit our learning center or YouTube channel. For an eBook on How to Select Your Filter bags, you can visit our guide here. If you have an upcoming dust collection project, then check out our dust collector purchasing guide here or request a free dust collector project consultation below.
For assistance with your specific application, contact one of our dedicated account managers at 888-221-0312 or [email protected]
Download the free PDF version of this Dust Collector Purchasing Guide here.
Our dust collector purchasing guide will help you identify the right dust collection system that will perform safely, efficiently, and reliably for many years to come. Identifying the right components and needs for your next dust collector can be an overwhelming process. Factors to consider include:
5 Things to Consider When Purchasing a Dust Collector
- 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.
At the end of this dust collector purchasing guide, there are also additional resources that provide more details about combustible dust considerations and on demand cleaning.
Dust Properties and Your Work Environment
Do you know your dust? Consider your dust properties and characteristics of your work environment carefully to identify the best dust collection solution.
Dust Properties to Consider:
- Size – What is the size of the dust particles being filtered; fine or large?
- Density – Is the dust low in density like wood dust or heavy in density like fine steel dust?
- Chemistry – Will you be filtering any abrasive dust? Corrosive dust?
- Temperature – Are you operating in a high heat environment? What is the operating or maximum temperature at your facility?
- Moisture – Is moisture or oil present in the dust?
Knowing your dust properties is the first step to help you determine the type of dust collector that is best suited for your unique application.
Your Work Environment
The next step to finding the right dust collection solution is to consider your space constraints, emissions requirements and temperature of your airstream.
Dust collectors vary in height, width and depth depending on the application and the amount of dust being captured. Take note of any height or space restrictions in the work environment and take measurements of the space allotted for your collector along with the space available around the collector. Many dust collectors are top load which means you will need to allow space above the collector to replace and service the collector from the top of the unit.
Depending on your application, your dust collector may require a permit with specific emissions requirements. These emissions requirements vary by state and are expressed as an efficiency percentage for cartridge collectors or an emission limit (e.g. lbs/hr or gr/dscf) for baghouses.
Temperature of the Environment
The temperature of the airstream will determine what type of filter media is required and will affect fan size. Temperatures greater than 260 degrees will require special filter media and changes to the dust collector fan. If the unit will be outside in a cold/extreme climate you will need to consider insulating the unit as well.
Understanding Volume or Airflow Requirements
Calculating Your Airflow
After considering your dust properties, the next step in dust collector purchasing is our airflow or volume requirements. Calculating your airflow correctly is critical to the long term health of your collector so your system will be efficient at capturing dust.
Why is Volume Important?
If the volume of the system is too low, your system will not capture the dust effectively which can impact production and air quality. If the volume of your system is too high, your energy consumption costs will be higher and you may disrupt the process of your application.
How is Volume (Cubic Feet Per Minute) Measured?
Dust collector volume is measured in cubic feet per minute or CFM. CFM is a measurement of airflow especially related to air conditioning, heating and ventilation environments like those requiring dust collection. In dust collector applications CFM measures the amount of air per minute that can be moved from a space.
Variables to Consider
Work environments vary dramatically from one another based on several variables, and even very similar environments can require vastly different volume. To determine the right volume capabilities for your new dust collector, consider some of the following variables carefully.
- How are you collecting dust?
- What is the size of the duct being used to collect the dust?
- Cubic feet of the work environment
Dust collector air-to-cloth ratio is a critical measure to ensure your air filtration system is performing efficiently.
What is Air-to-Cloth Ratio?
Air-to-cloth ratio, also known as air-to-media, is defined as a measurement of the amount of air passing through one square foot of filler media. Generally the lower your air-to-cloth ratio, the more effectively your system removes dust from the work environment. If you are operating at a higher air-to-cloth ratio, one of the common issues you may encounter is a decrease in suction. This is because a large amount of dust laden air is filtered by an insufficient amount of filter media. The dust cake on the bag builds up too quickly; resulting in a decrease in air flow through the filters and suction at pickup points.
How to Select or Calculate Air-to-Cloth Ratio
If you’re sizing a new cartridge collector system and know what type of dust will be filtered and the air volume needed to properly ventilate the area or pickup points. Our Air-to-Cloth Guide below is a good place to start. The guide gives you a general recommendation on the air-to-cloth ratio for several different applications. To find the dust collector suited to your dust and air volume requirements simply:
- Divide air volume of system by air-to-cloth ratio to get the total amount of filter area needed into the system.
- Divide the total filter area by the filter area per filter to determine how many filters are needed in the dust collector.
- Find the dust collector model that best fits your application by number of filters
and type of dust collector.
To calculate air-to-cloth ratio in your existing system, calculate the volume of air (CFM) and divide that number by the total filter area within your dust collector. For example, a sixteen filter cartridge collector pulling 7,000 CFM would have a 3.65:1 airto-cloth ratio (7000 CFM / 16 filters x 120 ft2 per filter). Or in the case of a baghouse, a hundred filter baghouse pulling 10,000 CFM would have a 6.37:1 air-to-cloth ratio (10,000 CFM / 100 filters x 15.70 ft2 per filter). Environments with a large ventilation area or more pick up points require a higher air volume (CFM) to provide adequate suction which means more filter media to keep a similar air-to-cloth ratio.
Why is selecting the right Air-to-Cloth ratio important?
- Extends filter life
- Minimizes your operating costs
- Meets air quality goals and requirements
- Allows your dust collection system to perform at peak efficiency
What are the negative effects of improper Air-to-Cloth ratio?
- Poor venting which causes damage to equipment
- High pressure drops in differential pressure
- Impacts your air velocity
- Excessive use of compressed air
Dangers of an Undersized Dust Collector
Choosing a collector that is too small can cost you in long term maintenance costs. Some of the biggest problems we see people run into with an inappropriately sized dust collector are:
- Consistently clogged filters (reduced filter life)
- Increased downtime
- Higher maintenance and energy costs
- Decreased efficiency
- Increased compressed air consumption
To avoid the dangers of an undersized dust collector consider both CFM and air-to-cloth ratio carefully when designing your new unit.
Dust Collector Styles
Baghouses are ideally suited for large volume applications with airflow exceeding 1,000 CFM or when high temperature applications are above 375 degrees. In these environments, a baghouse will handle and most efficiently filter your dust laden air. There are several types or styles of baghouses available. Once you understand your dust properties, volume, and air-to-cloth ratio, you can determine the right baghouse style for your facility. Here is a summary of the pros and cons of the three most common baghouse styles: pulse jet baghouse, reverse air, or shaker style.
Pulse Jet Baghouse
|Bags cleaned continuously while unit is in operation||Requires compressed air|
|Easy to maintain, low maintenance cost||Not ideal for high moisture applications (+20%)|
|Flexible Sizing and Configuration||Requires filter cages|
Reverse Air Baghouse
|Low maintenance||Needs to be cleaned often|
|Gentle cleaning which allows for longer bag life||Residual dust build up is hard to remove|
|Units are typically compartmentalized into sections which allows them to be maintained without shutting down the entire baghouse||Filter bags are expensive compared to Pulse Jet bags|
|Bags are typically custom made and not available in stock for quick shipment|
|Very simple to operate||Limited filter media options|
|Low initial investment cost||Not space efficient (takes up a large area)|
|Filters cleaned via shaker mechanism||Not suited for high dust loads|
|Bags are typically custom made and not available in stock for quick shipment|
What’s the Right Type of Pulse Jet Dust Collector?
The three most common pulse jet dust collection systems are baghouses, cartridge collectors, and bin vents. Below is an overview of each type of pulse jet system and common applications for each:
Baghouses are typically the largest of the three types of dust collectors. They are well suited for large volume and high temperature applications. Baghouses are perform well for applications with high dust loads of more one 55 gallon a drum per day. The most common applications that use baghouses include:
Cartridge Dust Collectors are compact and very modular in design. These are best suited for applications with the following characteristics:
- Moderate or low dust (collecting less than one 55 gallon drum per day)
- High efficiency filtration requirements
- Space restraints or small footprint requirements
- Possibility of future plant expansion
The most common applications for cartridge collectors include:
- Laser/Plasma Cutting
- Bulk Powder Processing
Listed here is a baghouse and cartridge collector comparison chart to help you determine which option may be best suited for your application.
Baghouse and Cartridge Collector Comparison Chart
|Airflow Range (in CFM)||1,000+ CFM||500+ CFM|
|Dust Loading Per Day||More than 55 gallon drum||Less than 55 gallon drum|
|Temperature||Up to 500°F||Up to 180° F|
|Design Features||20-30 feet tall Pulse jet cleaning Reverse airflow cleaning (part that removes larger particles)||7-12 feet tall More compact for applications where space is limited Higher efficiencies|
|Common Applications||Wood · Metalworking · Mining · Foundries · Tile · Drywall · Fiberboard Manufacturing||Welding · Plasma Cutting · Grinding · Bulk Powder Processing · Paint Booths|
|Type of Filter Media||Woven or felt||Pleated, non-woven|
Bin vents are usually used in applications where you are moving product from one location to another. Like a cartridge collector, bin vents are also compact, and designed for easy change-outs. They are designed to efficiently vent silos and tanks while minimizing product loss. Bin vents are frequently used in the following applications:
- Tank Loading
- Conveyor Belt
Low Maintenance Design Features
To avoid the hassle of excessive and costly change-outs and maintenance consider important dust collector design features that will help you lower your long term maintenance and energy costs.
Listed below are some of the easy maintenance design features your dust collector should include.
Dust Collector Design Features for Easy Maintenance
- On-demand cleaning for reliable performance and
reduced wear and tear
- Modular design with low profile options for easy
expansion and access
- Filter change-outs performed outside or clean air side of
- No special tools or equipment required to perform
- Quick removal access filter covers
- Change-outs performed in 30 minutes or less
- Standard filter sizes to ensure product availability and competitive prices
- Multiple filter options for a variety of applications
Additional Resources for Dust Collector Purchasing
How to Prevent a Dust Collector Explosion
If you are dealing with combustible dust, you’ll need to implement a preventive maintenance plan, which will help you avoid a serious dust collector emergency.
What is combustible dust?
Combustible dust can be defined as any fine material that has the ability to catch fire and explode when it’s mixed with the proper concentration of air.
When can combustible dust create an explosion?
When the right conditions are in place, combustible dust can become hazardous and create an
explosion. Dust can collect on multiple surfaces in a facility (e.g. ducts, crevices, dust collectors, equipment, etc.), and once this buildup of dust mixes with the right conditions, it only takes a small ignition source to create a significant explosion. There are even scenarios in which combustible dust can self-ignite. This usually results from static that builds up as the particulates rub against one another.
Who does it affect?
Combustible dust effects a wide variety of industries such agriculture, metalworking, mining, chemicals, plastics, pharmaceuticals, etc. Industries that are susceptible to combustible dust are regulated by OSHA standards and NFPA guidelines.
How can I prevent a dust collector fire?
Now that you know what conditions required for combustible dust, when it can happen, and who it effects, how do you limit or prevent a serious explosion from happening? Your best plan of action is going to include steps that are proactive instead of reactive. Here are the proactive steps you can take:
- OSHA Standards: Ensure you are meeting OSHA’s set of standards regarding
combustible dust. Industries that are susceptible to combustible dust are regulated
by OSHA standards when you implement OSHA’s set of standards, you are
creating a safe working environment, avoiding property and economic loss from an
explosion, and avoiding regulatory fines.
- NFPA Guidelines: Make sure you are meeting codes outlined by the NFPA
(National Fire Protection Agency). The NFPA publishes a list of guidelines that will
help you minimize injury or death from combustible dust. The following 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
- 484, Standard for Combustible Metals
- 61, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and
Food Processing Facilities
- 664, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and
- Preventative Maintenance Plan: Properly maintain your facility and dust collector
to help prevent a buildup of dust. Clean up any excess dust build up on your dust
collector, other equipment, vents, and filters.
- Explosion Vents: Installing an explosion vent on your dust collector is one strategy
that can minimize damage to your equipment and harm to employees should an
explosion happen. The purpose is to relieve pressure in the dust collector caused
by an explosion. Once the activation pressure is exceeded the vent(s) open safely
- Explosion Latches: Latches operate under the same concept as explosion vents.
Latches provide venting in the event of an internal explosion.
Dust Collector Purchasing Summary
Selecting and pricing out a dust collection system involves careful consideration of each of the variables outlined above. Proper attention to these items is critical to ensuring your dust collector performs efficiently for many years to come and creates a clean, safe work environment for plant operators. Each dust collection application is unique, and it is possible that applications with very similar product characteristics or volume requirements may require a system that is vastly different due to the number of variables to consider. To help you engineer and select the correct system for your facility, consult with a dust collection engineering and manufacturing company with extensive experience designing systems for diverse applications.
If you have further questions unique to your application or would like to speak with an engineer, give us a call at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]
Dust Collector Sizing Quiz
Would you like to get a price range and a recommended cartridge collector? Simply complete this dust collector sizing calculator and you’ll immediately receive an email with your recommended unit along with a price range for the unit. A dedicated account manager will also contact you within 24 hours to assist in finding the right solution.
As local, state, and federal governments begin to relax social distancing guidelines in the days, weeks, and months ahead, many non-essential factories and industrial plants are anxiously looking to resume production. Employers are also now faced with the responsibility to minimize the risk of spreading COVID-19 by instituting new safety measures.
Taking proactive steps now to implement new health measures and make sure your dust collection equipment is operating properly will protect the safety and health of your workforce first and foremost. These steps will also ensure your system is in good working order so you don’t have to worry about another unexpected shutdown.
To help streamline this process and make your start-up as hassle-free as possible, we have prepared a comprehensive checklist, and action item notebook. These resources can help you address any issues promptly. Our guide is broken out into these following sections:
- COVID-19 Management Best Practices for Manufacturers
- Dust Collector Start-Up Checklist
- Action Item Checklist
- Maintenance Questions to Consider
To get started you can download the complete return to work PDF guide by clicking below.
Our start-up check list can also be printed, completed electronically in the PDF file, or you can access the checklist on your phone or mobile device by clicking below.
For additional dust collection maintenance resources and troubleshooting advice to help you get online again safely, visit our YouTube channel. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn to get access to additional resources and tips on dust collection design, safety, case studies and more.