Selecting a dust collection system

Workplace and employee safety risks from dust hazards are a reality in any industrial manufacturing facility. Operations that produce a considerable amount of dust or fumes as a byproduct of their processes must have an industrial dust collection system to combat these threats. But to find the right dust collection system, facilities need to have an experienced dust collector supplier supporting them. Here are important questions to ask when determining if a dust collector supplier has the knowledge necessary to keep your operation safe and compliant.

1. Does the supplier offer both wet and dry collection systems

A manufacturer that offers both types of product lines is more likely to give unbiased advice on the best equipment for a given application, because it will not have a vested interest in one over the other. This is important because wet scrubbers and dry media dust collectors are two very different technologies used to capture dusts generated during processes. Both types of dust collection systems have inherent advantages and disadvantages, and the choice is not always clear-cut.

2. Will the supplier provide a written guarantee of filtration efficiency

There are many different methods used to measure filtration efficiency. Sometimes a dust collector supplier might say that a system offers 99 percent filtration efficiency at a certain particle size or that it uses MERV 15 filters. These ratings are useful for comparing different systems, but mass density efficiency, defined as the weight per unit volume of air, is the best predictor of a collector’s compliance. For example, OSHA might require that emissions not exceed 5 milligrams per cubic meter at the discharge of the dust collector. To make sure your dust collector will provide a high filtration efficiency to keep your facility safe and compliant, verify that the supplier will provide a written guarantee of performance stating that the equipment you select will satisfy OSHA, EPA, or other applicable emission requirements.

3. If you have combustible dust, how does the supplier approach NFPA compliance

When dealing with combustible dust, it’s imperative that the dust collection supplier has knowledge and experience in applying NFPA 484: Standard for Combustible Metals. Because there is no formal supplier certification, it’s up to you to inquire about specific experience and capabilities. Equipment manufacturers and suppliers must thoroughly understand the explosion potential of metals and what controls are needed to protect workers and the facility. Learn more about NFPA 484.

4. Does the supplier provide in-house dust testing to help determine the best system for your application

Sometimes the choice between a wet vs. dry media system will not be clear-cut. Dust testing is an essential first step in the decision-making process.
There are two types of dust testing:
  1. Lab testing, which pinpoints physical properties of the dust that affect filter efficiency and performance.
  2. Explosibility testing, which determines combustible and explosive properties of the dust.

5. Is the equipment supplier also a trusted advisor?

Because dust issues can be complex, it’s important to use an experienced independent professional engineer to help you design and install your dust collection system. That way you can be certain that your facility complies with regulations and requirements that keep your employees safe. A knowledgeable supplier can help you determine:
  • the best dust collection system for your application
  • the type of ducting needed
  • the right filtration media
  • where to locate the collector
  • whether air can be safely recirculated downstream of the collector to save on heating and cooling costs.
If you can answer yes to all 5 of these key questions, you can ensure that you are partnered with a knowledgeable dust collection equipment supplier that will help you meet regulations, keep employees safe and operations running smoothly.