As factories and industrial plants resume production after a shut-down period, employers are faced with the responsibility of minimizing work hazards by instituting best practices and safety measures. This is where a dust collection start-up guide will help.
Starting up your dust collection system the right way will make sure your equipment is operating properly while also protecting the safety of your workplace and workforce. The steps in this dust collection start-up guide will also ensure your system is in good working order so you don’t have to worry about an unexpected shutdown.
To streamline your start up process and make it as hassle-free as possible, we’ve prepared a comprehensive checklist and action item notebook. These resources can help you address any issues promptly. Our guide is broken out into four sections:
Best Practices for Dust Collection Start-Up
Dust Collector Start-up Checklist
Action Item Checklist
Maintenance Questions to Consider
Part 1: Best Practices for Dust Collection Start-Up
Power Down & Lock Out
Before you begin start-up, maintenance or troubleshooting on your dust collection system, your first and most important step is to power down and lockout any machinery. Securing your baghouse for personnel entry can include locking down your rotary valve, locking your blower, or sealing off any adjacent baghouse compartments. Taking these initial steps provides a safe working environment and will
ensure that accidents are minimal.
Additional Watchman & Communication Plan
Designate an additional crew member as a watchman. They should be present to ensure safety procedures are being followed and can immediately assist should any complications occur. It’s important to let your team know what work is being done, where, and at what time. This allows others to re-schedule any work that could impede on a safe start-up of your dust collection system.
If you are working with combustible dust, make sure the dust levels inside of your system are well below being explosive. Perform all hot work, like welding, well outside of the perimeter of your dust collector.
A total shut down and lock out of your dust collector will minimize safety hazards, but you shouldn’t hesitate to formulate a retrieval plan should an emergency occur.
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)
OSHA requirements for protective gear will vary based on your application. Basic protection can include a hard hat, safety glasses, gloves, and a face mask. Before start-up or entry into your baghouse system, make sure that your crew is supplied with and compliant in wearing safety gear required for your application.
Do you need to adjust your preventative maintenance schedule? If COVID-19 has altered your production and maintenance schedule, consider what you need to adjust going forward.
Do you have the specs for each of your dust collector parts listed in one central location? If not, here is a sample spec template for Filter Bags and Cartridge Filters. Having this ready can help your dust collection supplier get you the right parts quickly, affordably and accurately.
For more complimentary dust collection maintenance resources, visit our blog with over 50 articles on dust collection design and maintenance. You’ll find additional help on the following topics and more.
About U.S. Air Filtration, Inc.
U.S. Air Filtration was established in 1987 to serve the needs of industries requiring air pollution control systems. We aim to meet and exceed United States EPA standards for air quality. Over the years, we have worked on projects ranging from $20,000 to over $3 million. Our Founder, Engineering and Sales Personnel has been active in the industry for over 30+ years.
To help our customers achieve peak production by providing exceptional service, products and expertise in air pollution control.
Our values are the foundation for our actions as leaders, colleagues, employees and citizens. At U.S. Air Filtration, our values incorporate our conduct towards our customers, our suppliers, our fellow employees, and the general public.
Understanding these variables can help you identify whether a standalone cyclone system is best for your application or if you need to pair your cyclone with a larger dust collection system.
How Does a Cyclone Dust Collector Work?
Cyclone dust collectors are small-scale stand-alone units that work to remove large dust particulates from the air using centrifugal force. The filtration process starts with dirty air being drawn into the cyclone dust collection system at a high speed. This high-speed motion works as a controlled “hurricane” inside of the cyclone. The “hurricane” motion allows larger particles to be pushed out and up against the cyclone walls. Then once the dirty air hits the walls of a cyclone, momentum slows down, which is enough to permit larger particles to drop out of the airstream and into a hopper beneath.
Dust Characteristics, Capacity, CFM, and Cyclone Dust Collectors
Understanding your Dust characteristics is the first step to understanding whether you need a baghouse, cyclone or both?
Cyclone dust collectors are ideal for applications dealing with large, coarse dust particulate. If your application contains a mixture of large and small dust particulate, you’ll likely need tofilter larger dust particulate out first with a cyclone and then direct the remaining gas stream to a larger baghouse that uses filters to handle finer particulate. This two-step filtration process helps prevent large particulate (e.g., wood chips) from creating unnecessary wear and tear on baghouse filters.
Beyond dust characteristics, dust loading rates and CFM are factors when considering which dust collection system is best for a specific application. Because cyclone dust collectors are small-scale units, their capacity to handle dust particulate is finite. General dust loading rates can be between a 5-to-30-gallon drum. In terms of CFM, most cyclones operate anywhere around 1000 CFM or below.
Common Applications for Cyclone Dust Collectors
Applications for Stand-Alone Cyclones:
Woodworking applications with only large dust particulate
Agricultural applications with only large dust particulate
Applications for a Baghouse or Baghouse and Cyclone System:
Mining & Minerals
Industrial Equipment and Machinery
Advantages and Disadvantages of a Cyclone Dust Collector
Cyclone dust collectors are designed as a simple steel structure with no moving parts or filters. Because of this simplicity, the main advantages and disadvantages are:
Advantages of a Cyclone:
Low up-front investment. There are a wide variety of models, but generally you can find a cyclone dust collection system ranges anywhere from $500-$3000.
Long-term cost savings on maintenance and repair
Paired with a larger baghouse, can increase the efficiency and life of filter bags or cartridges
Disadvantages of a Cyclone:
Low dust loading rates
Limited CFM capabilities
Low efficiency at capturing fine particulate
Unable to process sticky materials
Application use is limited
Benefits of a Cyclone with a Baghouse Dust Collection System
In specific cases, an engineer may determine that your plant can benefit from pairing a cyclone with a larger dust collection system. Typically, processes that have a mix of large and small particulate are the ideal candidates for this type of setup.
A cyclone could be implemented as a pre-filtration system to eliminate any large, coarse particles that could damage a dust collector’s filter bags or cartridges further downstream. The result is an increase in the performance of a dust collection system and the service life of the baghouse filters. In certain cases, cyclones can also help to reduce dust loading into a baghouse with a high inlet entry. This method reduces internal velocities (e.g., can velocity) resulting in improved efficiency and increased filter life.
To determine whether your application would benefit from a combination cyclone and larger dust collection system, some questions you may be asked include:
What’s the size of your particulate? Is it big? Small? Mixed?
How much dust are you filtering out in a given work shift?
Could your dust collection design incorporate an end inlet as an alternative? While there is no cyclonic action with an end inlet, the attributes are similar. An end inlet helps bring in the dust high, but as it hits a baffle, it redirects the air directly downward. In this scenario, heavy particulate hits the baffle, then slows down and drops out. Then rest of the air is kicked down below the bag, allowing your system to still have can velocity. The disadvantage to an end inlet is these types of baghouses tend to be considerably larger because there must be space for air to hit the baffle.
Even in similar industries, plants will have different requirements and variables from one another that will determine the right dust collection solution. To get beyond the basics, we recommend speaking to an engineer who can help with your specific application and needs.
To summarize, cyclones are limited in their capabilities. In certain conditions you could add a cyclone to be helpful and reduce dust loading on larger systems, but cyclones alone are not typically adequate for most industrial applications.At U.S. Air Filtration our engineers can help determine if the dust collection system you’re looking for would benefit from adding a cyclone. Our goal is to do what we can do to help save you costs, while also ensuring we are designing a solution that will perform long term.
CFM is a measurement of airflow related to air conditioning, heating and ventilation environments. In dust collection applications CFM measures the amount of air per minute that can be moved from a space.
If you’re not familiar with how to calculate dust collection CFM, the process can be intimidating. In this article we will help you understand our approach to calculating CFM requirements for you. Along with the questions you should be asking your dust collection engineering firm to identify the optimal solution for your plant.
Dust Collection CFM Questions to Consider
Where is your dust being created?
Are you using taps or hoods at the points of dust creation?
One of the first questions we ask is, “Where is your dust being created?” This allows us to understand where your pick-up points are, and how many of those need to factor in when calculating your CFM.
Methods of Dust Collection
Once we understand where the dust is being created, then the next question becomes, “What’s the best way to collect the dust at that dust creation point?” Three common methods are:
Many facilities include source taps at every machine. If there are no taps, then a hood or a smaller pickup point can be added. For example, a hood can be added above a table to capture dust if there is a need to constantly maneuver around the table.
If there is movement happening around the machine in different ways (e.g., leaning over a machine) then there may be a need for an articulating arm. An articulating arm allows a way for the hood or pick up duct to be as close as possible to the actual creation of the dust. As U.S. Air Filtration helps you calculate the right CFM, we will work together with you to gather these details machine by machine.
What’s Needed to Calculate CFM?
You may not know the CFM you need, but here are the things you can provide that will allow us to help solve that for you.
How close can we get to the machine?
For example, if the machine has a six-inch tap, then we would know that would require a six-inch duct. Generally, when the machine is designed, your pickup points are also designed with the intention to efficiently capture dust.
Blueprint of your facility or a roughly drawn layout
This helps us understand the distances between the machines, walls, and where the dust collection system will be placed.
Photos of your machines. This helps us identify if you are using taps or hoods.
If there are no taps, how are people using the machine?
Is the machine stationary?
Does someone need access 360 degrees around the machine?
If there are no hoods, what is the size of the machine or table that’s creating dust? This helps us properly size a hood and with those dimensions we can look at velocity at the hood.
Then, depending on the weight of the dust, we get a better understanding of the specific velocity needed to move the dust and the duct size that’s required. These two factors together can help us get to the right CFM for your dust collection project.
Dust Collection Source Capture versus Room Capture
In the case of a grinding application, you may do all your grinding in one room and want to ventilate the entire room itself.
While the initial calculations and process to ventilate one room may seem easier, it’s not necessarily the best in terms of cost. Our recommendation is to get as close as you can get to the source of the dust, which allows you to move less air. This can mean a smaller system, which can lower the price tag of your project while also capturing dust more efficiently.
For an everyday example, let’s say you have dust all over your kitchen floor and you don’t want to vacuum every square inch of it. Then your option would be to try and suck the dust up through a hood. That requires you to pull a large amount of air very quickly, which in turn requires much greater force from the fan to capture the dust. In contrast to that, if you have a vacuum and a hose, then you can pick up everything closely using a very small amount of air and suction requirements.
While it may be tempting to “just ventilate the room”, keep in mind that every CFM comes with a price tag. Moving 100,000 CFM versus 10,000 CFM is going to be more costly. The details that go into calculating your CFM may be cumbersome at first, but it will save you from spending a considerable sum of money in the long run.
Negative Impacts of Miscalculating CFM
When designing a dust collection system, it’s best to err on the high side of CFM rather than the lower side. It’s very difficult is to make a dust collection system larger once it’s in place. It’s much easier, if necessary, to damper the fan down or add a smaller fan.
Correcting for a larger than needed dust collection system involves adding more filter media. Upfront costs are slightly higher, but your system will work well, and you’ll be able to remove dust out of the way as you intended. The reverse isn’t true. If your system is too small, it’s very difficult to add filter media. Getting the dust out of your facility will always be an uphill battle. So, to reiterate when in doubt error on the high side.
If you underestimate CFM, you won’t capture the dust that you need to capture.
The system will not work the way it was designed. Therefore, you will spend a large sum of money on maintenance expenses due to increased wear and tear..
If you overestimate CFM, the dust collection system will work just fine, but long term you will pay 20%-30% more for a system.
Advantages of Working with USAF
One of the advantages of working with U.S. Air Filtration is that we have a team of engineers with over 40 years dust collection experience who can gather the details you provide and calculate the numbers to get you to the right CFM.
Calculating CFM and designing a system is a complex engineering process. We do all the leg work for you, so you don’t have to.
If you would like to speak to an engineer about your specific project, contact us at 888-221-0312 or email [email protected]
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?
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
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:
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.
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:
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
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:
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
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.
Disclaimer: The contents of this industrial dust blog are intended to be general safety guidelines. All businesses will still need to refer to OSHA, NFPA, and local ordinances required for their business.
Industrial Dust Guide
Dust builds up in your home may simply be a nuisance you take care of while spring cleaning. But in the workplace, dust can become a serious hazard if not properly handled. To get a better understanding of the negative effects of dust in the workplace we will provide a brief overview what industrial dust is, how industrial dust is created , potential dangers you should plan for, and the benefits of a properly engineered dust collection system.
What is Industrial Dust & How is it Created?
Dust consists of small particles of dry matter that build-up on hard surfaces such as floors, tools, industrial equipment, ducts, etc. Industrial dust can generate more frequently than household dust. This is because it generates from the daily from the manufacturing or production process. For example, a small woodworking shop could generate dust from activities like sawing, grinding, or cutting. Industrial dust can even break out during processing. Another example, in an agricultural facility process dust can come from sugar, flour, grains, etc.
Common Types of Industrial Dust
Wood – Activities like sanding, high speed cutting, low speed cutting, paning etc. can create dust which is both explosive and fire prone.
Food Particulate– Certain food particulate can be explosive, abrasive and fire prone. This can encompass a wide variety of particulate such as flour, grains (corn, rice), soybeans, and more.
Cement & Concrete – This dust is abrasive but considered to be less explosive and prone to fire.
Paper Products – Dust created from paper products can be both explosive and fire prone.
Paint Powder – Paint pigments can be highly explosive
Pharmaceuticals – Pharmaceutical dust like dry powder and coating are both explosive and fire prone.
Plastic, Chemicals, Stone, Minerals , Metal etc.
Is Industrial Dust Dangerous?
The build-up of combustible dust is serious hazard in the workplace. Airborne dust presents a safety hazard to employees. Many types of industrial dust may contain carcinogenic properties that would require removal to keep employees safe, healthy, and to comply with government regulations.
Airborne dust may also be highly flammable, and safeguards must be implemented to prevent the risk of a dust explosion.
Conditions for a Dust Explosion
Combustible dust at the right concentration level
When you are working in an industry that operates with combustible dust, explosions and fires are a constant threat. If you are taking the right steps to ensure a safe working environment you are more likely to avoid a fire or explosion that would cost you the safety of your employees, thousands of dollars in lost production, and regulatory fines. Combustible dust can present itself in a variety of applications. Below are just some of the types of industries that work with combustible dust.
There are no short cuts to minimizing dust hazards and ensuring the safety of your employees. But understanding if you are working with combustible dust is the first step in prevention.
Regulation of Air Pollution Control
Many industrial industries in the U.S. must comply with strict air pollution control standards. These standards are set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), OSHA, or local governing entities like the AQMD in California.
OSHA regulates industries that are susceptible to combustible dust. When implementing OSHA’s set of standards, you are creating a safe working environment, avoiding property and economic loss from an explosion, avoiding regulatory fines. To learn more about OSHA’s safety standards for combustible dust, visit their guide here.
The NFPA (National Fire Protection Agency) is another agency that publishes a list of guidelines to help 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 Woodworking Facilities
484, Standard for Combustible Metals
61, Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Dust Explosions in Agricultural and Food Processing Facilities
How a Properly Engineered Dust Collection System Supports Air Pollution Control
Meet Compliance Regulations and Standards – All agencies require industrial facilities to maintain and meet air quality standards to ensure a safe and clean environment for their plant, employees, and the surrounding community.
Boost Productivity – An accumulation of dust particles and debris on industrial equipment can interfere with overall plant performance. A dust collection system can collect these dust particles before they can interfere and compromise the health and performance of your manufacturing equipment.
Improve Product Quality – Dust can settle and accumulate on products during the manufacturing process. This has a negative impact on the quality and consistency of finished goods. A dust collector will reduce and effectively capture these dust particles, allowing for product quality to improve and maintain consistency.
Enhance Health and Safety Standards – Inhalation of hazardous dust affects human health and a dust collection system is vital to removing these hazards and to keep employees safe.
Preserve the Quality of Equipment – As dust particles and debris are created inside a manufacturing facility, the contaminated dust will settle onto other surfaces such as computer systems and manufacturing equipment. This dust buildup can be harmful and result in malfunctioning equipment. It can also create unnecessary, frequent, and costly maintenance to keep dust and debris from accumulating. With a dust collector system purifying and collecting dust particles, the chances of excessive dust build-up is minimal.
Enclosed Box – A simple pipe system funneling dust into an enclosed box, placed underneath your hopper, is one dust removal option.
Drum or Bag – A removable drum or bag can be a simple and easy solution to collecting and disposing dust.
Rotary Valve – Rotary valves (also known as airlocks, rotary feeders, or airlock feeders) help transition material from a dust collector to a drum or bin.
Screw Conveyor for Baghouse Dust Collectors – Large baghouses with heavy dust loads typically use screw conveyors. The screw conveyer would transport dust away from the collector, then send it to a designated disposal area.
The best method of dust removal from your hopper is dependent on some of the following components:
•Preventative Maintenance Plan: In conjunction with a protection strategy, every facility should implement a well-designed and operated preventative maintenance plan. Perform regular checks on the health of your dust collection system to prevent more serious issues.
•Explosion Vent or Panels: Explosion vents or panels are designed to rupture at a set pressure (PStat). When a source of ignition meets a fuel source with sufficient oxygen present, an ignition will occur. As the ignition begins, the pressure inside of the vessel will increase rapidly. Depending on the material’s Kst value, the pressure rise may be slow or extremely rapid. As the ignition progresses, the internal pressure will meet the PStat rating of the explosion panel. The explosion panel will rupture, venting the ignition gasses. The explosion vent provides a relief avenue for the expanding gasses, but the pressure in the vessel will continue to rise until it reaches the Pred pressure. This is the maximum pressure of the ignition event when explosion vents are functioning, so this is usually the pressure rating the vessel is designed to withstand.
You can use explosion panels with a short length of ducting to allow for interior use without flameless venting. They do require replacement once a rupture occurs, but they are simple, cost-efficient, and easy to install. Explosion vents are typically useful on baghouses and cartridge dust collectors.
• Explosion Latch: Explosion latches work under the same principle as the explosion panels, but they are not single use. This is a more cost-effective option (versus explosion panels) when you have a large baghouse or large quantity of vent area.
Additional Venting Strategies
• Flameless Venting: Flameless venting can consist of a flame arrestor element, vent panel, and flanged housing. This combines the techniques of explosion venting and flame arresting. You can also install a flame arrestor element over a standard explosion vent. When the vent ruptures, the burnt dust and flames enter the flame arrestor element. The element helps to contain the hazardous dust and flames and prevents it from exiting, where it could potentially ignite a secondary explosion or endanger employees. While flameless venting does stop flames from exiting the vessel, there will be extremely hot gasses exiting the flameless vent. When using flameless venting, make sure to pay close attention to the vents proximity to personnel areas. If possible, always aim flameless vents away from regularly occupied areas.
• No Return Valve: Protecting the dust collector from over-pressure is essential, but it is equally important to stop a deflagration propagation back to the operator space. To prevent this, a No Return Valve is needed in the inlet duct. This valve is a weighted damper that is held open by the air flow during normal operation, allowing air and dust to pass through to the dust collector. In the event that deflagration occurs in the dust collector, the pressure propagation through the duct work will close the No Return Valve. This prevents the deflagration from reaching any process equipment and also limits the risk of secondary explosions.
• Abort Gate: Abort gates are high speed dampers that contain a spring assisted blade and is typically held in place by an electromagnet. Their purpose is to minimize the risk of an explosion by diverting flame, spark, or debris from entering a facility through a return air system.
• Spark Detection & Extinguishing System: This method uses infrared sensors, typically located on the ductwork, to detect sparks or burning material in the ductwork upstream.
Secondary Event Protection
All the methods described previously are excellent options for managing primary explosions, but one of the most catastrophic outcomes of a combustible dust explosion is an un-controlled secondary explosion.
When a primary explosion happens, there may be a pressure wave that propagates through the plant. This will “kick up” the layer of ambient dust. If the explosion is not contained in the dust collection system using the methods previously outlined, this ambient dust in the air could come in contact with the primary explosion flame front. This results in an uncontrolled explosion in an occupied space.
To minimize the risk of secondary explosions, the first step should always be to expect perfect performance from your dust collection system. It is not acceptable to have a dust collection system that does not function properly. Another suggestion is to limit the amount of horizontal surfaces in your plant that cannot be regularly cleaned. Drop ceilings and in-accessible equipment are great examples of this.
There are many strategies that may fit your unique application or facility. We recommend to consult your local or state building codes and regulations before choosing your explosion venting strategy. Some areas will have specific regulations for fire safety and environmental safety, and you want to ensure you are meeting those guidelines. Here are some questions to consider before implementing an explosion venting strategy.
What is the distance of the dust collector from the roof or walls?
Is the dust collector or vent close to any other structures?
What’s the cost?
At U.S. Air Filtration, we have been eliminating the hazards of industrial dust for 35 years.
To learn more about how you can manage industrial dust at your facility contact us at 888-221-0312 or [email protected] to speak with an engineer
Do you have a new dust collector project in the works and need help determining the volume? Our introduction to dust collector volume can help with that.
The Right Volume
The most important consideration to factor into a new dust collector is making sure the airflow or volume of the dust collector is efficient at capturing dust and is right for your application.
For instance, if the volume of your system is too low then your system will not filter dust as efficiently. As a result, your production, air quality and life of your collector can be shortened. Similarly, if it is too high then your energy consumption costs can be higher and you could disrupt the process of your application.
Measurement of Volume
You measure volume in cubic feet per minute or otherwise known as CFM. CFM is a measurement of airflow related to air conditioning, heating and ventilation environments. In dust collector applications CFM measures the amount of air per minute that can be moved from a space.
Work environments vary dramatically from one another based on several variables. Even very similar environments can require vastly different volumes. To determine the right capabilities for a new dust collector, here are some variables to consider carefully.
How are you collecting your dust?
What is the size of your duct being used to collect the dust?
What is the cubic feet of your work environment?
Calculating volume for new installations.
Do you need more detailed information? Download our full guide to dust collector volume below. In addition, it comes with a chart that can be helpful for your new dust collector project.
A well maintained dust collector ensures your system is performing at peak efficiency. It’s also critical to minimizing unscheduled plant downtime and the wear and tear of your dust collector parts. As part of a regular preventative maintenance program, customers can also request a visit from bonded and insured technicians to perform either a dust collector inspection. An inspection typically includes an analysis of your dust collector and its most vital parts, a written report, and recommended corrective actions to solve any issues. An inspection may also include an exam of the following:
Overall status of dust collector(s)
Compressed air system for leaks
Air Shut off valve is sealed and is properly working
Repair or replace damaged solenoids, valves, or diaphragm kits
Any other repairs or troubleshooting needed on a baghouse – for example, vibration issues with a system after a filter change
Dust Collector Inspection and Service Questions
If you are looking for an inspection or service from a supplier, here are some of the most common questions asked before receiving a formal proposal and costs.
What type of service or troubleshooting are you requesting?
Where will the service take place?
What type of dust are you filtering? Is it hazardous? Is special safety equipment required?
Are there any current issues with your filters?
Is there any special training or background checks needed before entering a facility?
When would you like to have the service performed? What are the permitted service hours (evening or day work, weekends only, etc.)?
For more information on inspections or services for your dust collector, you can contact a USAF account manager at 888-221-0312 or also email [email protected] Also included below is a link to our comprehensive dust collector maintenance eBook that can be downloaded.
Which is better, Lower or Higher Air-to-Cloth Ratio?
Generally the lower your air-to-cloth ratio, the more effective your system is at removing dust from your work environment.
If you operate on a higher air-to-cloth ratio, one of the common issues you will encounter is a decrease in suction. This happens because there is too much dust to capture with an insufficient amount of filter media. The filter cake on your bag eventually builds up too quickly. As a result, your air velocity and suction decreases. From there it’s a domino effect and your plant air quality decreases, filters clog quicker, and valve life expectancy is impacted. So, you’ll be performing change-outs more frequently which will cost both time and money.
How to Calculate Air-to-Cloth Ratio
To calculate air-to-cloth ratio, take the amount of airflow (CFM) and divide that by the amount of filter area within your dust collector.
For example, if you’re calculating for a cartridge collector, a typical range would be a 4:1 air to cloth ratio. Keep in mind that environments with a large ventilation area and more pick up points require a system with a higher CFM to provide adequate suction. Would you like to know which air to cloth ratio may be right for your project? If so, download our air to cloth guide which provides the recommended ratio for a wide variety of applications.
Static pressure is the pressure created by a fan or other source to move air through a ventilation system and plays a critical role in the design and performance of pulse jet baghouse dust collection systems. Today we are discussing the importance of static pressure, what it is, how it’s measured, and how to calculate it.
What is Static Pressure?
Static pressure is used to determine the fan size you’ll need for your dust collection system. If the fan you choose for your system cannot handle the static pressure, air will not be able to move properly through the system and your dust collector will not be able to remove dust effectively.
How Static Pressure is Measured
Like differential pressure, static pressure is measured in inches of water and sometimes will be called water column. The abbreviation for this unit is usually seen as “w.c.” and can also be seen as “w.g.”
How to Calculate Static Pressure
To calculate required static pressure, sum the following components of a dust collector system.
To start add 0.5” Second
Add the filter resistance of the collector. This will be the maximum recommended differential pressure from a dirty set of filters.
Fourth, add the friction loss in the duct system coming to the dust collector. For simple runs of 100’ or less, you can use 6” as a rule of thumb.
Please keep in mind these are general guidelines and there are many other variables to consider to make sure your system is engineered safely for your unique work environment to achieve peak performance.
To get specific help for your application, contact one of our equipment specialists at 888-221-0312, email [email protected] or request a consultation below.
• Industrial Dust Collection buyers place high importance on customer experience when making purchasing decisions
• Customer experience is defined by the interactions a buyer has with a company before, during and after a sale.
• There are five things industrial buyers value most in their purchasing experience: Product knowledge, Responsiveness, Service, Relationship, and Educational Resources
If you were to ask most people what’s most important to them when making a purchase historically it’s come down to three things – price, quality, and service. But as buyers have become more savvy and have less time to spend on purchasing, customers now place equal if not more importance on customer experience when making dust collection purchasing decisions. In fact, 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for agreat customer experience. And a recent Walker study found that by the end of 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
Customer experience is defined by the interactions a buyer has with a company before, during and after making a purchase.
What makes a good customer experience when purchasing dust collector parts
We recently sent a survey to our customers to understand what they currently value when making purchasing decisions and to learn where there may be gaps and opportunities for improvement.
By understanding our buyer’s perspective it helps us build an experience tailored to the different needs and wants of our customer.
We’ve organized our findings into five core components that customers valued most:
Top 5 Key Components to a Customer Service Experience
Expertise and Product Knowledge
Educational Resources and Tools
Dust Collection Expertise and Product Knowledge
Expertise and product knowledge were voted as the most valued component in a dust collection customer service experience. Dust collection needs vary significantly even within the same industrial application. Today buyers value sales reps who function first as product experts who understand their specific dust collection challenges. Finding the right dust collection products that will optimize performance requires vast technical knowledge on a filters, valves, troubleshooting, dust collection engineering and more. When a sales rep delivers and establishes their expertise, this evokes trust and assurance to the customer that their buying journey and partnership will be successful.
“I had a very good conversation with internal sales, Mark. Sharing technical knowledge and information is always helpful!” – Customer Testimonial
Leveraging Technology to Improve Responsiveness
Responsiveness is critical to industrial dust collection customers in order to keep their system running at peak performance. A customer may need dust collector parts for an upcoming inspection, an unexpected explosion, or replacements for broken or underperforming parts. To help solve issues before they turn into more disruptive maintenance problems, it’s vital to get a response back to the customer promptly.
To improve response time, companies can leverage technology in innovative ways that cater to the customer.
For example, at USAF our sales reps can be reached through multiple channels including direct phone line, email, online quote request, online chat, email nurturing and marketing automation, or via the main line where a live person will answer and direct your call immediately. Investing in several channel options allows USAF to communicate with customers quickly, using their preferred communication method.
Further, as more of the buyers journey moves online, and as more buyers now prefer online communication over phone and face to face contact, particularly in response to COVID-19, companies need to adapt by investing in technology that will streamline the buyers journey by moving more customer interactions online. This could include any or all of the following solutions:
Chatbot Artificial Intelligence
Marketing Automation & Email/SMS nurturing
Content marketing – Includes videos, blogs, eBooks, case studies
“The products I purchase are specialized and by me contacting Patty and her quick response back to me works for our relationship and I wouldn’t change it. She does a fabulous job!” – Customer Testimonial
Customers face so many choices when it comes to where they purchase dust collector parts. One key component to the dust collection customer experience is service. Great service isn’t about being short-sighted and merely searching for the next opportunity, instead it’s about prioritizing solving customer problems and focusing on long term wins.
Today’s industrial buyers expect a service experience that combines one on one human connection with the efficiency that technology brings. An example of this could include the following touchpoints that combine technology with personal outreach:
Regular phone call check ins by sales rep before, during and after a sale to help the customer identify the right product and confirm successful delivery.
Email nurturing that includes how to advice and relevant educational information on dust collection.
E-Commerce product catalog for direct online sales
Post-sale shipping and tracking notifications by email or text
Post-sale customer satisfaction survey by email
While technology has changed the way we do business in critical ways, particularly through e-commerce, the need for human connection will never go away. Companies who can master this hybrid model by finding the right balance of human vs. technology touchpoints will be the most successful in the future.
“I think you’re already doing a great job. Bonnie is always fast to respond to my emails (always within an hour, often within minutes). On top of that she calls me periodically just to check up. She is a true professional and you should consider her a major asset to your company. Without her being my sales person I cannot guarantee that I would be even purchasing from you, there are local guys that I could buy from but I keep coming back to USAF because the service is so good.” – Jake Z.
The main goal of establishing a relationship between the customer and their sales rep is to create a consistent experience across all touchpoints in the dust collection journey. The sales rep is the direct connection from the company to the customer, and to ensure the process is as smooth and positive as possible the sales rep should be a customer’s first go-to contact for orders, questions, or issues.
Have you ever called a customer service line for a large retail or phone company? You often find yourself frustrated at being bounced around through several different departments before you even speak to the right person. A direct sales rep for a company keeps an eye on the customer’s entire journey to ensure their experience is positive and to also help mitigate any issues that may cause a bigger problem down the road.
“Bonnie was incredibly kind, helpful, and persistent (in a good way) with our last order” – Thomas J.
Educational Dust Collection Resources and Tools
Expertise, product knowledge, responsiveness, service, and a relationship are all important to the dust collection customer service experience. Providing additional educational resources and tools throughout the purchasing journey is crucial to building trust and long term partnerships. Examples of successful educational resources can include:
eBooks that provide in depth analysis on a key topic such as dust collection design
Regular blog posts that answer common questions customers ask
3D animated product demo videos
Instructional maintenance videos – includes installation, assembly, how-to and troubleshooting advice
Engineering drawings of products
Detailed spec sheets
Project case studies
Here are the most popular dust collection resources USAF has complied over the years that are most valued by our customers.