Let’s Get Rid of More Dust
BY Tom Hardenburg
Dust collection is an important process to protect your employees and keep your work environment accident-free. Who would ever guess that dust could be dangerous? While the general public won’t be aware of this issue, as an asphalt professional, you realize that it’s vital to minimize dust—especially in today’s regulatory climate. A professional dust collector firm can help you by ensuring that you have the correct systems in place at your facility to prevent dust-initiated accidents.
What’s the problem with dust?
Simply put, dust can be a highly flammable substance. Because of its combustible properties, it can become a fuel when accumulated over time from industrial processes. Oftentimes, it may travel down pipes or remain within the operations of systems, creating a chain of dust fuel.
This poses risks to employees working around the dust. Since 2000, there have been documented explosions within factories where owners didn’t take proper precautions with regard to dust collection and employee education.
What is a dust collector?
When we talk about dust collectors, we’re referring to the system used to improve air quality that is released from industrial processes. The dust collector should handle dust loads by removing dust from the air. This is different from air cleaners, which have a filter.
A professional dust collector firm should provide you with a comprehensive system that goes beyond a simple air cleaner. This system is comprised of a blower, dust filter, filter-cleaning system, and a dust receptacle. It is also referred to as an air pollution control device, which is understood to maintain air quality.
What do dust collectors do?
Dust collectors recover valuable granular solids from process streams, or remove solid contaminants before they are ventilated into the atmosphere. They are distinguished from mist collectors, which are used for metal working to remove liquid from the air. Dust collectors also function differently from fume/smoke collectors, which remove particulate matter from the air during industrial processes such as welding, rubber making, tempering and quenching.
How do I know if my dust is dangerous?
Two types of dust testing help you to pinpoint the particular properties of dust, including its potential combustibility. These are bench testing and explosibility testing.
Bench testing requires a series of tests. Particle size analysis shows the dust’s particle size to decide the filtration intensity required to follow emissions regulations. This test reveals the count, or number of particles of that size, and the volume/mass spread of the dust. Many dusts are mixed, making this an important testing standard.
You can also use moisture analysis by using a humidity chamber to see how rapidly dust absorbs moisture. This is a good test to use in case of moisture problems, but it not important 100 percent of the time.
On the other hand, the explosibility testing should never be skipped. A lab will use a screening test to measure if your dust could be combustible. If that possibility exists, the test will continue forward, measuring dust cloud parameters to determine the rate of pressure rise and the maximum pressure of a contained explosion.
Tom Hardenburg is a writer for Imperial Systems, an established professional dust collector firm. For more information, contact Imperial Systems at (800) 918-3013 or visit www.isystemsweb.com. Article reprinted from the April 3 Imperial Systems Blog: Imperial Systems Approach to Dust Collection.