The Importance of a Dust Collection System
A dust collection system is essential for any commercial or industrial operation that values employee safety and preventing damage to equipment, goods, and manufactured materials. When it’s time to choose the right dust collection system for your business, you’ll want to evaluate everything from the type of dust produced by your operation to the functional design of various dust collection systems and the layout of your commercial space.
READ MORE: Why is Collecting Wood Dust Important?
Several things to consider when designing a dust or fume collection system include:
1. Consider Dust Collection Hood Design
When building your custom dust collection system, one of the first things you’ll want to consider are the various types of dust collection hoods hoods. Do your current hoods capture the dust or fumes being generated? The design of dust collection hoods have a significant impact on the entire system’s ability to adequately capture dust from the air. While you may be able to safely cut corners to save on costs in other parts of your business, this is one that you’ll want to budget and prepare for, because in this instance, you truly do get what you pay for.
A dust collection system with a hood that is not designed to efficiently clean the air is virtually useless, so it’s worth investing in a quality system that can protect your employees, your equipment, and your materials. Think of this way - investing in a quality dust collection system prevents the need to invest in new equipment that can become damaged by the accumulation of dust, and it prevents lost time and employee health costs from the allergies and illnesses that can cause asthma, chronic coughing, sneezing, and other conditions associated with an overexposure to dust.
2. Wet Versus Dry Dust Collection Systems
Wet dust collection systems are very different from dry dust collection systems, and OSHA and the NFPA require commercial operations to use the proper equipment for controlling air quality, so it’s essential to understand what type of dust you’re producing before choosing a system.
DUST PREVENTION EQUIPMENT
In addition, you must consider other factors. Are you conveying the fumes or dust at the proper velocities? Do you have the right duct size for proper velocities to convey dust and fumes to the collector? In order to understand whether or not your dust collection system can convey the dust and fumes at proper velocities, consider the following questions.
- What are the sizes of the particles?
- Are they sticky? Do they have a high moisture content?
- Are the fumes coalescing as they move down the dust or hose?
If your dust is wet, or if the size particles of the elements you’re filtering are large, these will affect what type of dust collection system you need.
3. Are your hoods and duct connections in balance?
If your hoods and duct connections are not secure, or not large enough, your system will not be able to adequately clean the air in your facility. You can balance your air flows by hood and duct design or by using mechanical devices such as blast gates that control which areas of your facility receive the most vacuum pressure. These are placed in strategic locations to ensure as much dust is collected as possible from surrounding areas near the following types of areas:
- Dust-Producing Equipment
- Employee Work Stations and Offices
- Break Rooms and Kitchens
In quality dust collection systems, multiple areas can be properly cleaned simultaneously, while in older or less efficient systems, only one gate may be in operation at a time. In some subpar dust collection systems, the entire setup may even collapse if at least one gate is not open at any give time due to the system’s inability to sustain itself. This is why it’s essential to create a safe and effective dust collection system that takes a variety of factors into consideration.
4. Select the Proper Fan or Blower
When selecting the right fan or blower for your dust collection system, consider the following:
- Air Flow
- Blade Design
- Static Pressure
Additionally, do you want the fan on the side of the clean air or the dirty air? Surprisingly, some manufacturers and installers do not take these important points into consideration when creating the right dust collection system for commercial and industrial operations. That’s why working with an experienced installer and retailer is essential.
5. Consider Duct Layout
As with hood design, poor duct layout can be a source of many dust collection issues. Some things you’ll want to consider when choosing a dust collection system for your business include a design that prevents the potential for:
- Slow Velocities
- Tight Elbows
- Accumulation of Dust
All of these can cause build up of dust within the duct or collection system and lead to unclean air which poses a threat to employee safety as well as creating a fire hazard.
6. Choose the Right Dust Collector Filter Media
The next step is choosing the right dust collector filter media for your system. Air to cloth ratio is very important, since it determines the life of a filter. The lower the air-to-cloth ratio, the longer the filter life. Higher air-to-cloth ratios can be utilized by operations that don’t produce a significant amount of dust, but most commercial and industrial businesses will want to achieve as low of a air-to-cloth ratio as possible. There are various types of mechanisms you can choose to filter your cleaning mechanism, including mechanical systems, compressed air, fans, and more. You’ll also want to consider the cartridge style of your cleaning system. Would a cyclone or baghouse or a combination of both be the best option for you?
COMMERCIAL DUST COLLECTION SYSTEMS
7. Find Out if Your Dust is Combustible
It’s estimated as much as 50%-70% dusts are combustible, and if the dust created in your business is combustible, it poses a fire hazard and creates unclean air for employees and equipment.
How Do I Know if My Dust is Combustible?
It’s important to have your dust tested by either a private company or an insurance provider. Both OSHA and NFPA can also provide guidance on handling combustible dusts. Once you find out whether or not your dust is combustible, what can you do about it? If your dust is combustible, it’s essential to ensure your operation has a dust collection system in place that can prevent fires and maintain optimal air quality that meets health standards. Otherwise, you’ll be left with a dusty, dirty workplace that can lead to equipment malfunctions and an accumulation of employee sick days.
READ MORE: Combustible Dust Produces Safety Hazards
What Type of Dust Collection System Do I Need?
Unsure of which type of system you’ll need? Give us a call, and one of our reps can provide you with an understanding of the best type of dust collection system you’ll need. We’ll take a look at your current system and review your dust and fume production to determine which components will work best to provide clean air for your employees and equipment.