Dust contains solid particles, which is why it may become airborne. These particles often range in size from 1 µm up to 100 µm. Dust may come from different substances and is considered dangerous to the health of people breathing it in regularly. Such types of dust usually come from metals, minerals, chemicals, flour, wood, mold, etc.
According to the World Health Organization, overexposure to dust can lead to serious diseases and disabilities in the workplace. Aside from health issues, dust can further cause many other problems. Manufacturing facilities are especially affected by dust as it compromises the product quality. Because dust is combustible, it may also cause a fire hazard. Not to mention the fact that an overabundance of hazardous dust can severely damage the environment.
In order to prevent such issues, manufacturers must eliminate dust from their workplaces. Introducing dust collection systems, the most effective way to remove dust from the air. Now, the initial thought may be to go with the cheapest system out there. But remember that dust collection systems are designed to clean dust and other impurities from the air to keep the working environment safe. Therefore, we’d highly advise against compromising in this matter.
According to Baghouse America, one of the leading companies in the environmental industry to create, license, and deploy air filtration systems, the cost of dust collectors and accessories shouldn’t interfere with the safety they are designed to offer.
That said, even though dust collectors can enhance the environment, if not used properly, you may introduce new hazards.
Today, we’ll be looking at six safety tips to help you get the most out of your dust collection system.
Ensure Deflagration Protection
If the dust collector takes care of combustible dust, it should have deflagration protection. An easy, cost-efficient passive method would be venting. Basically, an eruption vent opens as predefined pressures are transferred inside the dust collector. This allows the flame front and extreme pressure from the deflagration to move to a safer area.
Flameless vents typically comprise a housing that consists of a panel of high-temperature mesh. It helps absorb heat and flame. Generally, this is set up over a regular explosion vent.
So, during a regular event, the vent tends to open, discharging the fireball and pressure into the housing. The many layers of mesh absorb the heat and let some pressure wave to pass into the environment safely.
Check Diaphragm Valves
It is smart to prioritize ensuring your diaphragm valves each year. Especially when new cartridges or baghouses are installed, it’s advised to check the valves and make sure all filters are properly cleaned from the get-go.
Keep in mind that it is always cheaper to replace diaphragm valves than it is to purchase new filters due to inadequate pulsing.
Even if the dust collector has a sturdy construction and well-balanced deflagration vent, the NFPA demands protection for the ductwork, as well as the collector’s safety processes upstream.
Implement the ducting with isolation valves and dampers designed to reduce any deflagration inside these parts. A flow-activated passive inlet isolation valve gives protection to downstream work environments from the pressure via the inlet duct as deflagration happens within a collector. During this time, the valve is closed by the pressure wave, preventing the entrance of smoke and flame to sections upstream from the valve.
Look for Pressure Drops
Pressure drops across the dust collector may impact the ability of the system to collect dust. An easy yet important suggestion is to switch filters when airflow reaches a different pressure (above the predetermined maximum specs).
Change Filters Safely and Timely
In terms of changing the filters, workers shouldn’t have to access the collector for changing it. A dust collector demanding entry during operation poses workers at risk. It requires businesses to file some permits for monitoring for gas or limited space entry. Filters must be placed properly for quick access and slide in/out of the housing for maximum safety.
Although it is a safety requirement, it’s important to change the filters particularly when airflow within the valves reaches a certain pressure maximum. As for the change, it must be done as suggested by your manufacturer.
There are times when the pressure drop across the dust collector is adversely impacting the capability of the operation which may call for change. The dust collector will eventually try and collect the dust, enabling it to exit into the facility. Many long-life cartridge filters are designed to function for 3+ years. For bulky dust-loading uses, however, replacing filters may be more often than usual.
Improve Fire Prevention
When it comes to spark- or fire-generating applications, several technologies and features are accessible, from fire-retardant filter media to flame arrestors in drop-out boxes, as well as cyclone devices and perforated screens equipped in collector inlets. Also, fire sprinkler systems can be required with installations.
A dust collector using vertically-mounted cartridges can minimize fire hazards. Thanks to horizontally-mounted systems, dust is entrained atop the filters, and there’s no pre-separation of heavy particles from the air stream. This particular situation can shorten filter life. It can further provide a dusty surface for the fire to ignite. Vertical mounting minimizes the load on the filters and thereby solving these issues.
As you can see, understanding the key features of your industrial dust collector, as well as your factory’s obligations will ultimately save you money in the long run due to the lack of repairs and/or additional accessories in the future. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, feel free to leave us a comment down below.
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