Dust explosions and your facility: Are you at risk?
As we've discussed in previous blog posts, there are 5 elements that create the perfect environment for a dust explosion: combustible dust, oxygen, a suspended dust cloud, a confined area and an ignition source.
We know the important of dust collection, and how valuable it is to have a dust collecting machine in your bulk solid plant to diminish factory explosions. However, the question remains, what can you do to prevent an explosion from happening inside your machine?
Dust Collectors do a great job at removing harmful materials from your factory. They minimize the risk of explosions in general. Inside the machines, four out of five necessary elements are generally present, only missing the ignition source. Avoiding an ignition source from finding it's way into your machine is key to preventing this possibility of explosion.
There are times however, when an ignition source does make it's way into the collector. Things such as excessive heat, flames or sparks, and even static electricity can all act as an ignition source that can create an unpredictable situation. These ignition sources can be introduced through a variety of ways, including equipment and/or operator error, as well as the process itself and materials used.
To further minimize the chances of an explosion, additional measures can prevent the ignition source from entering into your dust collection system. The following are three ideas that can help identify and remove the ignition sources before they become an issue.
1. Monitor all processes and identify which potential characteristics and processes pose a hazard.
- Once this is done you can implement steps to manually remove the potential ignitors before they go into the collection system.
2. Manage a clean dust collector through routine maintenance
- Cleaning filters and excess dust buildup as well as checking for any cracks or tears in materials or seals safeguards the possibility of explosion.
3. Isolate the potential ignition source
- Using an IR (infrared) detector to determine possible ignition sources by measuring the heat of the particles before they enter the chambers is another way to prevent explosion. The particles can then be segregated or cooled before entering the enclosure. Another way is to displace the oxygen of the chamber by forcing an inert gas to replace it, taking away the oxidation the dust need to combust.
Learning to address these potential risks further allows your factory to remain safe and free from high-risk safety compromisers. Our team is familiar with a variety of application and facility solutions. We have experience in identifying probable pain points at risk of explosion and developing custom systems that minimize the risk. To learn more about combustible dust or how your facility may be at risk, contact our team of dust collection experts.