7 Important Tips for Safe Dust Collector Operations

Dust is produced during several industrial processes such as metal processing, mining, construction activities, and so on. This dust leads to environmental pollution and may have a severe impact on the health of people working in the vicinity. So, dust control has emerged as an important factor in meeting health, safety, and environmental requirements set by federal agencies and other established standards organizations in the US. Dust control is mainly achieved through specially designed industrial dust collector systems. These systems collect fumes and dust produced by various industrial processes and allow processing plant operators to ensure the safety of their employees and work environment.

Although industrial dust collection systems are manufactured for abusive work environments, they require regular maintenance. A system that is not properly maintained may even cause accidents at workplaces. So, engineering and operations personnel handling these systems need to perform certain important steps to ensure safe dust collector operations. Industrial dust collectors are designed to keep the user’s safety in mind, still, they need regular maintenance and a few implementations to improve their safety. This post discusses the 7 most important tips for industrial dust collector maintenance and safety.

Important Tips for Industrial Dust Collector Safety and Operation

The following pointers will help improve the safety and operation of industrial dust collectors.

  1. Install a deflagration protection: In some environments, dust collectors handle combustible dust. This equipment must be equipped with deflagration protection. Venting is one of the most common methods of deflagration protection. The dust collector is equipped with an explosion vent, which opens when certain pressures are reached within the equipment. The flame and excess pressure would exit from the vent entering into a safe area. These vents help prevent dust collectors from blowing during the deflagration, thereby preventing the chances of accidents. These vents also help reduce the damage to the collector.
  2. Protect the ductwork: The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends protection for the ductwork. This can be easily accomplished by equipping the duct with dampers and isolation valves. These features help reduce the risk of deflagration of the duct. The flow-activated passive inlet isolation valve protects the downstream areas from catching fire due to pressure and flame propagation whenever deflagration happens in the dust collector. The pressure produced during such deflagration will close the valve, thereby preventing the passage of smoke and flame to the upstream areas of the valve. During such situations, usually, the latches of the valve are closed, and they need to be manually opened. The components of the valve may damage if they are activated. So, a thorough inspection is required before making the valve to work again.
  3. Install Safety Monitoring Filters: They may act as secondary air filters, which will prevent the accumulated dust from entering into the workspace, in the event of a leak in the collectors primary filtering system. It is always recommended to use safety monitoring filters in dust collection systems that enable the recirculation of air into the factory environment.
  4. Equip the System with Additional Accessories for Safety: Equipping the dust collector with additional accessories will help ensure safe dust collector operations. For instance, caged ladders or OSHA-compliant railed safety platforms help prevent falls and slips.  At times, the doors of the collector system may open inadvertently causing injuries to workers. This can be easily avoided by installing lock-out/tag-out doors.
  5. Dispose Dust in the Hopper Regularly: Emptying dust in the hopper is important to avoid the risk of deflagration. The hopper is only designed to drive dust to a storage bin. Dust accumulated in the hopper may lead to an explosion, or it may also cause clogging, thereby affecting the pulse cleaning. Sometimes dust needs to be manually removed, but there are self-dumping hoppers, too. These equipment enable easy disposal of dust, without causing any leak between the hopper and collector.
  6. Employ Appropriate Pulse-Cleaning Controls to Clean Filters: Most industrial dust collectors are designed to work in conjunction with the filter. The clogging of the filter may affect the functioning of the device, thus choosing the right pulse-cleaning controls is important. For instance, on-demand cleaning is ideal for all types of dust particles. This setting allows the operator to set a range of differential pressures for cartridge cleaning. This setting assures optimum cleaning efficiency while using less amount of compressed air. This contributes to filter life, too. Similarly, choosing continuous cleaning is recommended for porous dust produced from minerals like silica, dust produced from high dust loading applications like plasma cutting and thermal spraying, or extra fine and lightweight dust like paper fines and fumed silica. Downtime cleaning enables operators to clean filters at the end of each shift. Once, the cleaning is completed, the unit automatically shuts down. This is important for industrial dust collector maintenance as over-cleaning the cartridges may cause high emissions, leading to high energy costs due to high use of compressed air. This over-cleaning may also shorten the cartridge life.
  7. Perform Emissivity Tests as Per the Regulation: Conducting emissivity tests is key to ensure safe dust collector operations. How much emissions are permissible? Well, to know it you have to refer to the emission thresholds set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The MERV rating scale offers a good understanding of the filters’ initial efficiency. The MERV is the abbreviation of The Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value. However, to know about the other key performance indicators including compressed air usage, pressure drop, emissions, and emission reading, you need to check the ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 199-2016 – Method of Testing the Performance of Industrial Pulse Cleaned Dust Collectors. The emissivity tests must comply with emissions regulations.

The above mentioned are proven tips for industrial dust collector safety and operation. However, you must use only branded and quality industrial dust collector systems. We offer a large selection of unused and used industrial dust collectors from various industry-leading brands. These dust collectors are made available in short turnaround times.