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Tag Archive: Dust Collector Maintenance

  1. How to Replace Your Dust Collector Diaphragm Valve


    Is your dust collector showing signs of trouble? It could be your diaphragm valve.

    As your dust collector goes through it’s life cycle, your parts start to wear out. Diaphragms are one of the 5 most commonly replaced dust collector parts. These are the common warning signs of trouble and how you can replace a diaphragm valve.

    Common Symptoms of a Worn Out Diaphragm Valve

    • 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? It’s time to replace your diaphragm valve.

    Once you’ve diagnosed your issue, you’ll need to fix it. Below is a short video guide that provides step-by-step instructions on how to replace a diaphragm valve.

    Replace a Diaphragm Valve Video Transcript:

    Hi, this is Bob with US air filtration. And today I’m going to show you how to change out the diaphragm inside a solenoid pulse valve.

    Pulse Valve Types

    As you can see here pulse valves come in a lot of different sizes and shapes. Some valves have coils on the top, and some don’t. Pulse valves can have two diaphragms or one. Others have couplings, threads, or flange connectors. But the process of changing out the diaphragm is really very similar in all of them.

    First Steps to Replacing a Diaphragm Valve

    I’m going to show you today, on this particular valve, how to change out the diaphragm.

    First thing that we’re going to do is remove the bolts that are holding on the top of the belt. I’m using a socket set and I’m going to loosen these up. Once I get all the valves loose I can pull off the top.

    I’ll tell you, sometimes when these valves have been sitting, especially out in the sun for a while getting this top piece off isn’t really easy. You may need to take a screwdriver and a hammer and just tap it lightly there where the rubber is to help get the top off.

    But once you get the top off you can remove the spring and you can peel off the diaphragm.

    Diaphragm Valve Bleed Hole / Pin

    Now in some pulse valves, well in all pulse valves, there’s a little bleed hole. And often times, there’s a pin this particular one, has a little pin right here that this allows the air pressure to equalize between the two halves of the valve.

    It’s really important that we don’t block this hole or damage this pin when we put the valve back together.

    New Diaphragm

    Once we pull off the old diaphragm kit, we can grab the new diaphragm. And the first thing we want to do is find out where that bleed hole is in the diaphragm. Here, it’s this hole right here. We’re gonna place that right over the pin.

    The teflon disc or it’s a rubber disc on your diaphragm goes down so that it seats up against this part of the valve. It’s not a bad idea to look and make sure that there’s no damage to the the body of the valve.

    Typically though these aluminum bodies; it’s really hard to damage them. I don’t usually see problems with them. It’s usually the diaphragms that go.

    We’re gonna line up the hole with the bleed hole. And make sure our holes line up and put our diaphragm back then.

    Then we need to make sure that we have the spring that comes with the repair kit that goes back on top of the diaphragm and then we’re gonna put the top back on.

    Now just like I mentioned, with this bleed hole, there’s a place where the bleed hole on this top cover goes. We need to make sure we’ve lined that bleed hole up with the bleed hole here.

    If we block it, the valve is not gonna work. Or if you don’t put it on correctly, and there’s a pin, you’ll squash the pin. And then you’re gonna have to buy a new valve just to replace this little pin.

    We’re gonna line this up. And I can kind of feel it set on the right. And then we’re just going to tighten down all the bolts.

    Tighten Bolts

    Now once I get everything finger tightened I want to go ahead and tighten these bolts down.

    If I don’t tighten the bolts down properly, and you don’t get this clamping this diaphragm together, you’re gonna get a leak outside of the valve.

    The best practice is, with your ratchet, is to tighten the bolt on one side and then go to the opposite side and tighten it down. And then just keep going about 180 degrees so that your getting a nice even pressure.

    Upper Smaller Diaphragm

    Okay now we need to do the little diaphragm.

    I’m gonna pull off this coil, which I could have done before. And actually if you have electrical wires connected to this, it helps to pull off the coil.

    I might add too, before you start this you need to turn off the compressed air to your valve. Or as soon as you start releasing this, it’ll just start blowing everywhere

    Okay. So to change out this upper smaller diaphragm we need to loosen up these four bolts here with an allen wrench.

    I’m going to loosen all of these up and then remove these bolts.

    Okay once all the bolts are loose, you can lift off the top. Once again, there’s a spring and the diaphragm. You’ll grab the new diaphragm with the little metal side down.

    Again there’s a little tiny pin right there for the bleed hole. Every diaphragm is gonna have a bleed hole somewhere that you need to make sure you line up.

    There are a few types of valves that the bleed hole is actually in the body of the diaphragm.

    In those cases you don’t have to worry about it too much. But a lot of valves have these pins.

    So, I’m gonna line this bleed hole up and put it on. And take the new spring and put it on. And then I’m going to make sure that my hole right under here, where the bleed hole goes, is gonna go right over that bleed hole.

    I can feel it seat down on there. And again I’m gonna tighten the bolts.

    Everything’s good and tight. Put our coil back on.

    And now we’re ready to turn the compressed air back on, and test our valve to make sure it all works.


    Related Resources:

    Dust Collector Change Out Check List

  2. Dust Collector Change Out Check List

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    How do you know when it’s time for a dust collector change out?

    There are typically two reasons people have a dust collector change out.

    1. The build-up of filter cake is so excessive that it is blinding your filters.
    2. You have a hole/leak in your filter(s).

    Your dust collector is a major investment. Maintaining your system’s vital components is going to play a critical role in keeping your production down time and maintenance costs to a minimum. To help you determine if your filters are compromised and it’s time for a dust collector change out, check out our brief video below.

    Are you ready to change out your dust collector? Download this check list below.

    Check out our full checklist here.

    Dust Collector Change Out Video Transcript:

    Factors that Influence Filter Life

    Hi, I’m Bob from U.S. Air Filtration. Today, I would like to answer a common question that we are often asked. That is, “When is it time to change my filters?”

    There are several key indicators and considerations that will help you determine the answer to this question.

    Before we discuss these, let’s review the two main reasons for changing filters. One, either the filter fabric has become compromised by a hole or tear in the fabric which now allows dust to pass through. Or two, the filter fabric has become fully entrained or clogged with dust particles which permanently restrict air flow through the filters.

    Dust Collector Change Out Indicators

    Ok, Let’s talk about the indicators:

    This may seem obvious, but the first indicator is if you see dust coming out of the clean side of the collector. This means you likely have either a hole in the filter or the filter’s seal has been compromised.

    You can find bad filters by conducting a visual inspection. Sometimes the holes may be very small or hard to find. In these situations, you can find the leak by conducting a leak test.

    This is accomplished by introducing leak powder into the system. The powder will concentrate around any leaks and become visible under a black light. Call us to learn more how this product works.

    Differential Pressure

    While damaged filters with holes or a poor seal will leak dust, clogged filters do not leak dust. Instead the dust becomes embedded into the fibers of the filter. This increases the resistance of the air flow, which increases the differential pressure reading on your dust collector.

    Differential Pressure is the difference in air pressure between the clean and dirty sides of a collector.

    A consistently higher differential pressure indicates that it is more difficult for the air to get through the filter media and usually means filters are nearing the end of their life span.

    When you consistently see Differential pressure readings of 6 or above and they don’t drop significantly during the collectors cleaning cycle, it’s generally a sign that it’s time to change your filters.

    Loss of Suction at Pick Up Points

    Another indicator that points toward a filter change-out is when your pick up points are not getting the suction you’re used to seeing. It is the permanently entrained dust that causes the reduced air flow, and as we mentioned, the higher differential pressure.

    Dust Collector Change Out General Rules

    Let’s discuss a few other considerations.

    As a general rule, it is better to change out all the filters in a collector than a few at a time. Air flow always follows the path of least resistance, and you can quickly wear out new filters if they are doing all the work in your collector.

    Some of our clients like to change out filters during scheduled plant shut downs or on a maintenance schedule.

    Filters may have some life left, but this is a good option if the risk of having a problem before a scheduled shut down is too great, or the predictability of filter life is fairly certain.

    Laboratory Tests

    One final thing to consider is using a laboratory test to determine how much life remains in a set a filters. This testing is not common and is typically only when the bag cost is substantial and there is a lack of history with the bag life or there is some other unique problem that can’t be otherwise solved. In most cases, the other mentioned indicators are sufficient to determine when to change out your filters.

    How Long Filters Last

    Another question we are often asked is how long do filters typically last.

    This is a really tough question to answer because there are so many environmental factors that come in to play. We have seen filters last anywhere from a few weeks up to 5 years or more. On average, life expectancy is about a year, but it really varies.

    Here is a list of some of the factors that influence filter life. To find out more about these factors or to ask one of our experts if it’s the right time for a dust collector change out, give us a call.

    1. Air to cloth ratio
    2. Volume of dust loading
    3. Size of dust
    4. Presence of membranes or coatings
    5. Dust characteristics (powdery, sticky, shape)
    6. Air velocity through the filters
    7. Moisture in the dust
    8. Ambient air moisture
    9. Cleanliness of compressed air
    10. Presence of chemicals – oils, acids, etc.
    11. Operating temperature
    12. Frequency of cleaning cycle
    13. Average differential pressure
    14. Proper cage fit
    15. Proper installation
  3. Dust Collector Inspection and Service

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    James Hardie Dust Collection System

    22 Point Inspection

    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:

    1.  Overall status of dust collector(s)
    2. Compressed air system for leaks
    3. Regulator pressure
    4. Air Shut off valve is sealed and is properly working
    5. Solenoids firing properly
    6. Diaphragm Valves firing properly
    7.  Couplings are sealed
    8. Magnehelic is working properly
    9. Fan Vibration readings
    10. Bearing Temperatures
    11. And more

    Dust Collector Service

    Different from an inspection, a service on a dust collector system includes bonded and insured technicians performing a change out or corrective actions. This can include the following:

    1. Changing filters
    2.  Seal minor air leaks
    3. Repair or replace damaged solenoids, valves, or diaphragm kits
    4. Any other repairs or troubleshooting needed on a baghouse – for example, vibration issues with a system after a filter change

    USAF Dust Collector Warehouse

    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.

    1. What type of service or troubleshooting are you requesting?
    2. Where will the service take place?
    3. What type of dust are you filtering? Is it hazardous? Is special safety equipment required?
    4. Are there any current issues with your filters?
    5. Is there any special training or background checks needed before entering a facility?
    6. 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.

  4. 12 Days of Christmas Dust Collection Maintenance Tips

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    For a little Christmas Cheer we’ve pulled together some of our most popular dust collection maintenance resources here to the theme of the 12 Days of Dust-mas.  Enjoy!

    Baghouse 3D Demo

    Is your building all dusty? Time for a new system?  Check out a 3D Demo of our most popular baghouse units.

    Broken Dust Collector Bags

    Two broken bags?  Check out this video on how to detect a dust collector leak in your system.


    Dust Collector Shipping

    Learn more about how USAF ships your orders and what to do to expedite your lead times.

    Four Cartridge Filters

    Is it time for a changeout?  Here’s a brief instructional video on how to changeout your USAF cartridge filters.

    5 broken valves

    Do you have a leaky diaphragm valve?  Get some tips you can try to troubleshoot your broken valves.

    6 Bags a Blinding

    Is your differential pressure rising and dust escaping your dust collector?  It could be blinding bags.  Find out how to tell your bags are compromised and signs it’s time for a filter changeout.

    7 Cages a Rusting

    Learn all about cage construction for your filter bags here.

    8 Gates a Sticking

    Having trouble removing dust from your dust collector?  Has your dust load increased?  Check out some of the most common dust removal options available including rotary valves and pneumatic conveying.

    9 Pleated Filters

    Need help installing pleated filters?  Here’s a brief tutorial on how to install yours correctly.

    10 Bags a Clogging

    Do you have clogged bags?  Does your system utilize on-demand cleaning?  Find out how this can help you save time and energy.

    11 New Workstations

    Are you looking to expand plant operations in the new year?  Get information on how much a new baghouse, cartridge collector or bin vent costs and all the factors that go into the cost of a new dust collection system.

    12 Bosses Yelling

    Check out our USAF Cartridge Dust Collector 3D Demo and learn how a USAF system can help improve plant operations.

  5. Dust Collection Lead Times and Shipping During the Holidays

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    Dust Collection Lead Times

    There are many variables that impact dust collection lead times, particularly during a pandemic.  Whether you are returning to work, ramping up production, or are planning a change-out during  this holiday season, consider the following factors that can have an impact on your lead times.

    • Media Availability: Specialty or rare media is usually not in-stock and may need to be sourced or fabricated. Examples include media such as PPS, P84, PTFE on PTFE, Fiberglass, Basalt, and Aramid (depending on seasonal availability and media weight requested), etc.
    • Custom Features: Dust collector parts with features, dimensions, or accessories that are not common. This can include oval shaped cages, uncommon weights for filter media (e.g. Aramid 16 oz.), and more.
    • Production Schedule: Dust collector change-outs and maintenance are often seasonal depending on factors such as location and industry. Production schedules can get backed up when an influx of orders are received around the same time. For example, change-outs in the Northeast region of the U.S. are commonly scheduled in the spring or fall season. This is because a large percentage of customers want to avoid conducting change-outs in the extreme temperatures of summer and winter months.
    • Holidays: Holidays can impact everything from production to shipping. If you have a scheduled change-out during a long holiday weekend, it is best to cushion in additional time to receive and inspect your order.

    If you are returning to work after a long hiatus, we have created a return to work dust collection start-up guide and a dust collector maintenance eBook that you can download below to help get your dust collection system started safely.

    Return to Work Guide

    Dust Collector Maintenance eBook

    Dust Collection Shipping

    Shipping will continue to change and evolve, especially during the holiday season. We want to help you get what you need, when you need it. We also want to be as transparent as possible and provide the most up to date changes regarding dust collection lead times and shipping. The standard procedures and guarantees that you may have been used to with shipping, may have been modified. Below are some of the top changes that directly affect a large portion of businesses.


    1. Changes to the UPS Service Guarantee: Effective March 26, 2020 and until further notice, the UPS Service Guarantee is suspended for all shipments from any origin to any destination. Commitment times for some services have also changed.
    2. Is UPS slowing down delivery service? The majority of UPS services continue with the same expected delivery timeframes customers have come to expect. While UPS has suspended their Service Guarantee, they are committed to providing timely and reliable service.

    For more details and answers to some of your other questions, we highly recommend checking the UPS website for the latest changes and service alerts: UPS Notices and Service Alerts


    1. Changes to Fedex Money Back Guarantee: Earlier this year and until further notice, FedEx suspended money-back guarantee for all FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office services.
    2. Do I need to sign for my package? Until further notice, Fedex has suspended Signature Required for most shipments.

    For more details and answers to some of your other questions, we highly recommend checking the Fedex website for the latest changes and news: Fedex Notices and Alerts

    Freight Carriers

    This year multiple freight carriers have minimized their workforce or altered their protocols as businesses slowly ramp up production or remain closed in response to COVID-19. Many carriers adapted quickly and implemented safety measures for their remaining staff to maintain continuity of shipping services. As freight carriers navigate through ever-evolving changes and face the upcoming holiday season, you may experience a delay in general delivery times.

    To get more detailed information about a specific carrier, please check their website directly for the latest updates or changes.

    Warehouse Management

    Should businesses’ and warehouses ramp up holiday hours, we want to help you avoid costly delays or complications. Implementing a comprehensive receiving process is one way to eliminate added time or delays to your dust collector start-up or change-out.

    To get a comprehensive receiving check list, access and download our guide below.

    Download My Free Receiving Check List

    Once the receiving process is complete, and as soon as you are able to, you can access our filter bag check list below. The check list will help guide you through the process of verifying product count, fit, and what to do should you encounter any issues.

    Download My Free Filter Bag Check List

  6. Baghouse Dust Collector FAQ

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    Table of Contents

    Baghouse dust collectors are highly efficient systems used in industrial applications that remove dirt, dust, and debris from the air.  Baghouses improve worker health and safety, protect the mechanics of industrial equipment, and maintain compliance with environmental and workplace safety regulations.

    Proper baghouse system design, installation, and maintenance are critical for minimizing plant downtime and maximizing system efficiency and longevity. Important design considerations, such as the airflow and square footage required for your system, will depend on your facility’s workspace and dust collection needs. Once a system is designed and installed, performing regular maintenance is vital for keeping it operating as efficiently as possible. Here, we address some of the most commonly asked questions about these critical systems.

    Why do you need to install a baghouse dust collector system?

    The primary reason for installing a baghouse dust collector system is to improve air quality by removing potentially harmful airborne particles, gas fumes, and other contaminants generated during manufacturing processes. Depending on the industry and the types of debris being produced, installing a dust collection system may be required in order to comply with air emission guidelines or workplace safety standards. OSHA, for example, requires industrial plants to meet certain indoor air quality standards to prevent dust-related health issues. Before designing a baghouse dust collector system, it is important to research what types of safety and air quality regulations might be applicable to your facility.

    Baghouse dust collection systems may also be installed to upgrade, improve, or enhance a facility’s existing dust control strategies. Regardless of your specific reasons for installation, it is important to implement a preventative maintenance program in order to prevent future problems and keep the system operating at optimal efficiency. General steps may include:

    • Making sure the system operates within acceptable levels by monitoring differential pressure, timing controls for pulse valves, compressed air pressure, etc.
    • Regularly emptying drums and hoppers to prevent dust build-up
    • Frequently inspecting valves, hoses, gaskets, filters, and other components and replacing them when necessary

    What type of particulate are you looking to filter?

    The type of dust being generated in your facility will influence the type of dust collector that should be used. Common types of industrial dust include:

    • Wood dust. Fine wood particles generated during woodworking processes can linger in the air, causing health issues for workers.
    • Pharmaceutical dust. The manufacturing of drugs, vitamins, and minerals generates fine powders that can be highly toxic if inhaled.
    • Food particulates. High levels of dust can be created during the processing of spices, flour, sugar, cornstarch, grains, and other dry food products.
    • Metalworking dust. Metalworking processes can create a harmful mixture of fumes and fine dust ranging from 0.01 micrometer to 1 millimeter in diameter.

    Particle size will help you determine the number of filters required and the best type of filter media for your system. While standard filters are usually sufficient for collecting moderate-to-large particles, pleated filters may be necessary to effectively capture very fine particles and fumes. It is also important to select a filter with the appropriate air-to-cloth ratio as this will influence the system’s ability to adequately protect workers from dust and contaminants.

    Low filtration efficiency will expose workers to more particles and can increase the risk of explosions. In some cases, coating the filters with a porous particulate layer, known as a precoating, can enhance filtration and improve baghouse system performance.


    What size of baghouse dust collector system do you need?

    Baghouses tend to be larger than other dust collector systems and are typically used for high-volume and high-temperature applications. These systems employ cylindrical fabric filter bags to capture and separate dust particles from the air. The three most common baghouse designs are:

    • Pulse jet. Pulse jet baghouses are self-cleaning filtration systems that use pulses of compressed air to clean the bags.  Cleaning occurs while the system is online.
    • Reverse air. Reverse air baghouses feature a compartmentalized design that allows for the cleaning of individual sections without shutting the entire system down.
    • Shaker baghouses clean bags by mechanically shaking the dust out of them. These are simple to operate and have a low initial investment cost. However, cleaning is performed while the system is offline.

    With their versatile and universal design, baghouses can meet a wide variety of industrial dust collection requirements. Common applications range from food production, pharmaceutical manufacturing, woodworking, and metalworking to energy utilities, chemicals, mining, and more. For optimal performance, your baghouse dust collector should be sized and designed to accommodate your facility’s air purification requirements as well as any spatial restrictions. Design considerations should include:

    • Anticipated cost
    • Type of dust being produced and expected dust volume
    • Size of area needing ventilation
    • Collector system size and required flow volume
    • Filter material

    Baghouse Filter Bag Media

    One of the most important decisions when designing a baghouse system includes selecting the right filter media.  There are a wide range of filter medias available to accommodate a variety of dust characteristics.  Temperature, dust properties such as moisture and abrasion will determine which filter media will provide the best performance and efficiency at your operation.  Here is an overview of the most common filter medias available.

    • Polyester – Polyester’s maximum continuous operating temperature is 275 degrees Fahrenheit and has good overall qualities to resist abrasion and performs well with dry temperatures.
    • PPS – PPS, also otherwise known by the proprietary name Ryton© or Procon©, is a filter bag media that is commonly used in dust collection applications where excellent resistance to acids and alkaline is required.
    • P84 – The stability of P84 filter media is a benefit to a wide variety of applications lime kilns, smelting, incinerators, coal fired boilers, and glass and ceramic industries. It can be utilized in operating conditions of a maximum 500 degrees Fahrenheit and offers a good resistance to mineral acids.
    • PTFE/Teflon – Generally used for severe environments operating at high temperatures. Industries that use PTFE filter media range from cement, steel foundries, and energy.
    • Fiberglass – Fiberglass filter media has been a leading industry standard for air filtration and applications where high temperatures are prevalent.
    • Aramid – Aramid, also known as Nomex©, is widely used in high-temperature applications because of its excellent resistance to abrasion and ability to perform at maximum continuous operating temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    How much do baghouse dust collector systems cost?

    Baghouses are custom designed for each unique application and often require advanced engineering to integrate the baghouse system into the overall plant operation. As such, baghouse units typically start at $50,000 to $1 million or more.

    To get the best value from your dust collector, it is important to size the system appropriately during the design phase. This will ensure the system captures dust efficiently while reducing energy consumption.

    How do you remove dust collected by the baghouse system?

    Knowing how to properly dispose of dust once it enters the baghouse system’s hopper is essential for preventing airflow blockages, fire hazards, and other issues. The most common dust removal strategies are:

    • Enclosed box. Dust is funneled into an enclosed box under the hopper that is emptied once capacity is reached.
    • Drum/bag. Dust is collected into a detachable drum or bag, allowing for convenient disposal.
    • Rotary valve. Rotary valves allow materials to be manually or automatically moved from the collector to a disposal drum or bin.
    • Screw conveyor. In large baghouse systems, screw conveyors remove dust by transporting it from the collector to a disposal area.

    Most baghouse systems employ rotary valves or screw conveyers for automatic removal of dust.

    Baghouses have automated cleaning options with control panels that can be programmed to clean the bags anytime the differential pressure reaches an upper threshold. This enables an ongoing cycle of cleaning that occurs automatically during dust collector operation.

    Filters, filter media, and other baghouse components should also be inspected at regular intervals and replaced when necessary. Routine inspections are an essential part of preventing future problems and maintaining optimal efficiency.

    How do you enter a baghouse dust collection system for further cleaning?

    When entering the baghouse system for cleaning or maintenance, the following measures should be implemented to ensure employee safety:

    • Secure the system by powering down and shutting off valves, blowers, compressed air, etc.
    • Communicate the details of the operation to all employees
    • Wear the appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE)
    • Have additional crew available to assist if needed
    • Thoroughly purge the system of combustible dust before performing any hot work (welding, grinding, etc.)
    • Establish an emergency plan for escape/retrieval

    Baghouse Dust Collector Systems from U.S. Air Filtration

    Baghouse dust collection systems provide a versatile and efficient solution for capturing particles that are released into the air during industrial activities. At U.S. Air Filtration, we design and manufacture baghouse dust collection systems to accommodate a range of operating conditions and filtration needs. Our solutions are expertly designed and constructed to optimize your facility’s productivity while minimizing maintenance and energy costs.

    For assistance with selecting or designing a baghouse dust collection system, please check out our product democontact usrequest a quote, or visit our design services page today.

  7. Explosion Venting Strategies For Your Dust Collection System

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    A combustible dust explosion is a serious hazard for a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, processing, metalworking, chemicals, and more. This hazard can materialize in many areas of a plant, but is more likely to occur at the dust collection system. Implementing proper explosion venting in your dust collection system can reduce your risk for a hazardous explosion.

    The first step is to identify and determine if your facility has any combustible dust risks present. Click this link to learn more about combustible dust characteristics and the conditions for a dust explosion. If you have identified that your facility is at risk, you should evaluate your options for both prevention and protection.

    How to Avoid Getting An Undersized Dust Collector How to get the right air to cloth ratio

    There are multiple strategies for explosion venting, the best method for your facility will depend on a variety of factors. Start off by asking yourself these questions:

    Questions to Consider

    • What are the state and/or local regulations for fire safety and explosion venting?
    • Is the dust collector setup inside or outside?
    • 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?

    Explosion Venting Strategies

    Preventative Maintenance Plan: In conjunction with a protection strategy, every facility should implement a well-designed and operated preventative maintenance plan. A preventative maintenance plan for your dust collection system will help manage the levels of combustible dust. Following a maintenance plan for your baghouse, bin vent, or cartridge collector will help you address any concerns before they create a larger issue.

    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.

    Explosion panels can be used with a short length of ducting to allow for interior use without flameless venting.

    Although these vents do require replacement once a rupture occurs, they are simple, cost-efficient, and easy to install. Explosion vents are commonly used on baghouses and cartridge dust collectors.

    Flameless Venting: Flameless venting can consist of a flame arrestor element, vent panel, and flanged housing. This method is designed to combine the techniques of explosion venting and flame arresting. A flame arrestor element can be installed 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.

    Explosion Latch: Explosion latches work under the same principle as the explosion panels, but they are not single use. When using explosion latches, there will be a network of small, hinged doors along the walls of the baghouse dirty air plenum. The doors have special latches that are designed to release at a set pressure (Pstat), which can be reset if opened. Explosion latches are a more cost effective option, compared to explosion panels, for large a baghouse when a large quantity of vent area is required.

    No Return Valve: Protecting the dust collector from over-pressure is essential, but it is equally important to stop an 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. They are used to minimize the risk of an explosion by diverting flame, spark, or debris from entering a facility through a return air system. They are activated by a spark detection system that is placed far enough upstream, which would allow time for the gate to be activated. A mechanical barrier will redirect process air to a safe area.

    If the baghouse exhaust duct is not being returned to the plant space, an abort gate is not necessary since any deflagration through the clean air duct would remain outdoors. If the exhaust gasses are being returned indoors, an abort gate is required.

    Spark Detection & Extinguishing System: This method uses infrared sensors, typically located on the ductwork, to detect sparks or burning material in the ductwork upstream. Before it can travel further downstream and become an ignition source inside the dust collector the extinguishing assembly is activated, and a minimal amount of water is released to eliminate the hazard.

    Secondary Event Protection: All of 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. A secondary explosion occurs when ambient dust outside of the dust collection system is ignited. In many cases, there is a layer of dust on all horizontal surfaces brought on by inadequate dust collection and containment.

    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. It is also highly suggested 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 places that are rarely cleaned and dust tends to accumulate.

    There are many explosion venting strategies that may fit your unique application or facility. It is always recommended 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. To learn more about which option may be right for your facility contact us today to speak with an engineer.

    Download our dust collector purchasing guide below to learn other variables you should consider when planning for a new dust collection system.


  8. Baghouse Entry Procedures

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    Performing maintenance or troubleshooting inside your baghouse can be dangerous. Here are some basic baghouse entry procedures you can implement to minimize accidents and hazards.

    James Hardie Dust Collection SystemPower 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.

    USAF Dust Collector Warehouse

    Additional Watchman

    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.

    Combustible Dust

    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.

    The Dangers of an Undersized Dust CollectorEmergency Plan

    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

  9. Return to Work Dust Collection Start-up Guide

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    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:

    1. COVID-19 Management Best Practices for Manufacturers
    2. Dust Collector Start-Up Checklist
    3. Action Item Checklist
    4. 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.

  10. The Health Impact of On-Site Dust Collectors

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    Certain sectors of the industrial workforce produce large amounts of dust and other particulates. Understanding how dust affects human health is vital to keeping employees and the surrounding community healthy and comfortable, yet many people don’t understand the long-term repercussions of particulate matter (PM). Repeat exposure to dust has a number of health risks, but to mitigate these issues, companies use dust collectors.

    Dust collectors are filtration devices that remove particulate from a flowing air stream. They improve air quality, eliminate potential fire hazards, and keep dust from negatively affecting the product quality and producing a musty odor. When companies use a filtration device, they also prevent dust from accumulating on machinery, which helps the equipment operate efficiently.

    Industries that commonly utilize dust collectors include:

    • Pharmaceutical
    • Chemical Processing
    • Petrochemical
    • Metal/Woodworking
    • Food/Agriculture

    What Are Some Adverse Health Impacts of Dust?

    Dust particles with diameters of 10 micrometers or less are easy to inhale. At this small size, particles infiltrate deep into the lungs and bloodstream, which could cause a broad range of symptoms.

    The short-term effects of dust inhalation can include:

    • Irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract
    • Shortness of breath
    • Runny nose
    • Coughing
    • Sneezing

    Serious long-term impacts of dust inhalation can include:

    • Decreased lung function
    • Emphysema
    • Asthma
    • Chronic bronchitis
    • Lung cancer
    • Heart disease

    Dust in the workplace significantly impacts employees and could become dangerous or even fatal over time. It’s tied to more sick day requests and lost productivity.

    Studies show it also affects the world at large. Fine dust particulates contribute to air pollution and reduce the air quality for everyone in the vicinity. They can travel through HVAC systems and seep into nearby homes and businesses, even when their doors and windows are closed. In areas with high PM levels, children are more likely to experience developmental delays or impairments and chronic illness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

    How Can Dust Collectors Mitigate These Risks?

    Regulating bodies such as OSHA and NFPA produce guidelines to protect the community and employees from dust inhalation. The industrial workforce use specially designed dust collector equipment to comply with these regulations and keep people safe.

    It’s challenging to filter out fine pieces of dust and debris, but engineering advancements make it possible to remove particulates as small as 0.1 micrometers. These state-of-the-art systems use polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membranes, which reduce the pore size of the filter material to allow for more effective diffusion.

    Dust Collectors From U.S. Air Filtration

    At U.S. Air Filtration, we offer three dust collectors:

    • Baghouse: Our largest dust collector, the baghouse can withstand high temperatures and significant amounts of dust. It’s best suited for the automotive, foundry, mining, and wood industries.
    • Cartridge Collector: A cartridge collector is compact and ideal for collecting under 55 gallons of particulate per day. It allows you to easily expand if you require, and is most often found in the paint booth, welding, steel fabrication, and bulk powder processing industries.
    • Bin Vent: Compact and modular, bin vents are easy to move around and change out. They are particularly well-suited to venting silos and tanks, and are often utilized in the conveyor belt, agriculture, tank loading, and cement industries.

    When choosing a dust collector, facility size and volume of dust are two major factors to consider. For high volumes of particulate filtration, a large system will be necessary. Smaller facilities may prefer a compact collector that are portable and can be scaled up.

    At U.S. Air Filtration, we have over 50 years of experience designing high-quality dust collection solutions. To learn more about creating a healthy work environment with dust containment systems, download a Dust Collector Purchasing Guide today, watch our video “Understanding Dust Properties”, or “How Much Does a Dust Collector Cost?”. You can also contact us or request a quote for assistance choosing the best dust collector for your facility.