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Commercial Dust & Fume Collection – A Buying Guide

Dust collection systems are used by industrial and manufacturing companies all over the world to improve air quality in the work environment.

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Introduction

Dust collection systems are used by industrial and manufacturing companies all over the world to improve air quality in the work environment. In addition to providing clean air for employees, dust collectors extend the life of industrial equipment, improve product quality, reduce running costs and boost plant productivity.

dust-collector-dust-extraction-systems

Adverse Health Impact of Industrial Dust Particulate

Since the early 1980’s workplace health and safety has been a prevalent concern among industrial manufacturing sectors known to produce large amounts of dust and airborne particulate matter (PM). Continued and repeated exposure to dust and particulates can permeate into an individual’s lungs and bloodstream, which can cause several health and environmental hazards.

To implement the right dust collection solution for your facility, it’s important to understand the wide-reaching effects of industrial dust to your business and the short- and long-term repercussions to human health. Furthermore, it is important to know that several commonly produced dust and fumes have in recent years been proven carcinogenic. Your dust and fume control system serves to protect both human health and the business against future claims and litigation.

Business Impact of Air Pollution

  • Increase in sick day requests leading to lost productivity
  • An accumulation of dust on equipment, which can interfere with overall plant performance or result in malfunctioning equipment
  • Dust can settle and accumulate on products during the manufacturing process
  • Increased risk of a fire or explosion due to a build-up of combustible dust
  • Costly regulatory fines for not meeting air quality standards or emissions

Short-Term Health Effects of Air Pollution

  • Acute sinusitis
  • Shortness of breath
  • Irritation of breathing passageways, which can cause cough or shortness of breath
  • Irritation of the eyes and respiratory tract
  • Rhinitis

Long-Term Health Effects of Air Pollution

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD); emphysema and chronic bronchitis
  • Heart disease such as arrhythmia
  • Lung diseases such as tuberculosis, lung cancer, and other breathing issues

To mitigate all of these risks, companies use specially designed dust collection systems to remove dust and particulates from the air stream.

Purpose of Dust Collection Systems

Industrial dust collectors are designed to prevent dust and particulates from entering the workplace and surrounding atmosphere. These large-scale air pollution control devices are appropriately designed to improve air quality, reduce health risks, and mitigate environmental hazards unique to the application and work environment.

Common Applications for Dust Collection Systems

The necessity of a dust collection system, for the most part, will be driven by the industry itself. Applications that commonly use dust extraction systems include:

  • Recycling and Waste
  • Automotive
  • Cement
  • Mining and Minerals
  • Foundries
  • Wood Based Products Processing
  • Food Processing
  • Agriculture, Seed & Grain
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Chemicals
  • Manufacturing
  • Energy & Utilities
  • And many more
Air Quality Regulations Overview

When planning a new dust collection project or making modifications to your existing system, it’s best to have an understanding of what your local or state guidelines require. Consulting an expert can help ensure you are in compliance.

All levels of government are involved in managing air quality in Australia. Australia’s Environment Ministers established the National Clean Air Agreement to identify and prioritize air quality needs. States and territories are responsible for monitoring and managing air quality in their jurisdiction.

States monitor and compare their air quality standards against national ambient air quality standards established by the National Environment Protection Council. Environmental agencies within each state and territory are responsible for:

  • Controlling pollutant emissions from large industrial point sources such as:
    • Power stations
    • Refineries
    • Smelters
    • Manufacturing plants
    • Cement works
    • Abattoirs
  • Implementing measures to prevent individual point sources from negatively affecting local air quality, health or amenity. These regulatory measures include
    • Works approvals
    • Licenses
    • Notices
    • Emissions monitoring and modeling
    • Enforcement programs

Seven key air pollutants to which most Australians are exposed include:

  • Carbon monoxide
  • Lead
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Particulate matter
  • Sulfur dioxide

In New Zealand, regional councils and unitary authorities measure outdoor air quality in their regions under the Resource Management Act 1991.  The National Environment Standards for Air Quality are regulations that set limits in outdoor air for PM10, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide and ozone.

Air pollutants measured in New Zealand and reported on the Land, Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) include:

  • PM10
  • PM2.5
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Nitrogen dioxide
  • Sulfur dioxide
  • Ozone
  • Benzene
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How a Dust Collection System Works

Industrial dust collection systems are engineered to draw in and filter airborne dust particles and debris. A dust collector will first capture dirty air, separate the matter either by passing air through filtration media, or through another source of energy, and then discharge the purified air back into the environment.

Dust Collection Methods

Understanding the differences between the many dust collection systems on the market today is often challenging as there are many types and styles to choose from. Dust collection systems design and construction can vary depending on the type of dust collector and include the following:

  • Cyclone
  • Electrostatic Precipitator (ESP)
  • Wet Scrubber
  • Shaker
  • Reverse Air
  • Pulse Jet
    • Baghouse
    • Cartridge Collector
    • Bin Vent

Important!
Not all dust collection methods and technologies are suited for all applications. A certain separation, media or cleaning technology is design for a certain application. A suboptimal product spec can result in poor performance, product failures and commonly in frequent bag changes and high running cost.

What is a Cyclone Dust Collector?

Cyclone dust collectors use centrifugal force to separate air and materials. The force pulls dusty air into a scroll type inlet forming a cyclonic motion. The vortex within the dust collection chamber flings large dust particles toward the outer walls of the dust collection chamber. Once the particles reach the outer walls, gravity and friction force the larger particles to descend into a receiver. The filtered air and fine particles then leave the collection chamber through the internal vortex tube.

Advantages of Cyclone Separator Dust Collection Systems:

  • Cyclone dust collectors are simple and low cost.
    • They have a lower initial investment cost.
    • They have a simple construction and, typically, no moving parts.
    • Maintenance is minimal on a correctly dimensioned cyclone
  • Cyclone dust collectors have the highest collection efficiency, over 90%, with large particulates over 20 microns in size.
    • They are able to work with both wet and dry materials.
    • They can tolerate a wide range of temperatures.
  • Cyclones can stand as low-maintenance standalone dust collectors and do not require compressed air for cleaning.

Disadvantages of Cyclone Separator Dust Collection Systems:

  • Cyclone dust collectors are not effective on small particulates.
  • Cyclone dust collectors are not effective with sticky or adhesive substances. They stick to the outer walls of the collection chamber.
  • These systems can be expensive to operate because of the pressure drop they experience.
  • Not suitable for metro area without post fines filtration

Common Industrial Applications for Cyclone Dust Collectors

Cyclone dust collectors are most commonly found in facilities where fibrous dust is managed, such as:

  • Woodworking facilities
  • Grain facilities
  • Fiberglass production facilities

Cyclone dust collectors are often used as pre-filters for other types of dust collection systems including pulse jet dust collector and cartridge collectors.

Large, irregularly shaped particles often generated at these facilities are known to clog fine dust collectors, such as baghouse and cartridge filters. Using a cyclone dust collector as a pre-filter helps:

  • Reduce the amount of dust that reaches the baghouse and cartridge cloth filters.
  • Minimize filter maintenance and service costs.
  • Reduce the need for time-consuming filter cleanings. Cyclones are quick and easy to clean between product batches and catch large, salable particulates.

Engineering a Cyclone Dust Collector

Your dust collection manufacturer engineering team will help customize the cyclone dust collector system to fit specific application needs.

They will take into consideration the following five factors:

  • Dust control needs
    • How large are the particulate contaminants to be collected?
    • Is ventilation air exhausted or returned to the manufacturing area?
    • Is dust generated only during a particular process or is it generated constantly?
  • Budget
    • A cyclone dust collector can be less costly up front than a baghouse or cartridge dust collector, but will it meet the long-term particulate matter collection efficiency needs for the facility?
    • Can a baghouse perform reliably without the need for an upstream cyclone?
      • Using two air-material separators results in increased energy costs.
      • Adding an upstream cyclone decreases maintenance costs if cleanability is a requirement.
    • Pre-Filtering Needs
      • Consider the size of the airborne particles and their distribution within the air or gas stream.
        • If the application is collecting large particles, a standalone cyclone may be sufficient.
        • If the application requires filtering large and small particles, a cyclone dust collector may help as a pre-filter for baghouse and cartridge collectors.
      • System Footprint
        • Where is the dust collector to be installed?
          • A standalone cyclone system is relatively compact, highly efficient and cost-effective.
          • If the cyclone system needs to be combined with a baghouse or cartridge collector, more floor space is required.
        • Health Benefits
          • An affordable cyclone dust collector can greatly improve working conditions for staff decreasing airborne particles.

What is an Electrostatic Precipitator?

An electrostatic precipitator (ESP) removes pollutants from a gas stream by using the force of an induced electric charge to charge the particles in the gas stream.

These charged particles are then drawn to collection plates with the opposing charge where they accumulate. The remaining air passes through the plates unimpeded. Once the collection plates are full, the particulates are shaken off the collection plates using mechanical rappers.

The particulates, wet or dry, are shaken into a hopper and are transported away by a conveyor system for disposal or recycling.

Electrostatic precipitators are highly effective at removing particle pollution. Some ESP’s can:

  • Achieve efficiencies as high as 99.9%.
  • Capture fine particles smaller than 2.5 microns in diameter.
  • Handle large volumes of gas at various temperatures and flow rates.
  • Remove either solid particles or liquid droplets.

Common Industrial Applications for Electrostatic Precipitators

ESP are used in smokestacks and other flues most frequently at industrial facilities and power-generating stations. They are often combined with denitrification units to remove nitrogen oxides and scrubbers or other devices to remove sulphur dioxide.

ESP are also used in various industrial and household applications:

  • Removing dirt from flue gasses in steam plants
  • Removing oil mists in machine shops
  • Removing acid mists in chemical process plants
  • Cleaning blast furnace gasses
  • Removing bacteria and fungi in medical settings and pharmaceutical production facilities
  • Purifying air in ventilation and air conditioning systems
  • Material recovery from gas flow
    • Includes oxides of copper, lead and tin
  • Separating rutile from zirconium sand in dry mills and rutile recovery plants

Industries that use ESP include:

  • Cement plants
  • Fossil fuel-fired boilers
  • Hazardous waste incinerators
  • Lead/zinc/copper smelters
  • Municipal waste incinerators
  • Petroleum refineries
  • Power-generating stations
  • Pulp and paper mills
  • Steel mills

Engineering an Electrostatic Precipitator

An experienced engineering team will help determine the size and type of ESP required for specific processes.

ESP are designed to work on gas streams with specific temperature and moisture characteristics. Dry ESPs, most commonly used, operate above the dew point of the gas stream. Wet ESPs operate with saturated airstreams that have 100% relative humidity. The main difference between the two classifications is how their collector plates are cleaned.

  • Dry ESPs
    • Collector plates are cleaned by mechanical rapping.
  • Wet ESPs
    • Collector plates are cleaned by rinsing them with water.
    • They are most effective with:
      • Humid gasses
      • Gasses that contain combustible particulates
      • Gasses that contain sticky particulates with low resistivity
    • In industrial settings, wet ESP are commonly used to remove oil, resin, tar and sulfuric acid mist.

The performance of ESPs is affected by particle resistivity.

  • Particles with high resistivity are slow to lose their charge and hold tightly to collection plates eventually causing a negative charge to build up on the plates preventing other particles from adhering to the plates.
  • Particles with very low resistivity rapidly lose their charge and are thrown back into the gas stream.

ESP are not used to control gaseous emissions. ESP have a large footprint and a high initial cost, but they have low operating costs, a long service life and typically require minimal maintenance.

The design of the ESP system is normally completed by the manufacturer who takes into consideration many variables including:

  • Gas flow rate
  • Particle size and size distribution
  • Particle resistivity
  • Gas temperature in the system
  • Chemical makeup of the particulate matter
  • Precipitator size
  • Power input

What is a Wet Scrubber?

Wet scrubbers remove particulates, vapours, odours and gasses from industrial exhaust streams by introducing a liquid, typically water, into the stream. The liquid cools the gas flow and collects particulates and gasses through agglomeration, adhesion and/or encapsulation.

Wet scrubbers are commonly found at Petroleum Refineries, Chemical Processing Facilities, Acid Manufacturing Plants and Steel Manufacturing Companies.

Wet scrubbers differ in how they expose the exhaust stream to the liquid scrubber.

  • Packed bed scrubbers
    • The exhaust stream is sent up through beds of tower packing while a scrubbing liquid is sprayed downward onto the beds.
    • The material and shape of the tower packing are chosen to maximize the gas to liquid contact and prevent excessive pressure drops.
    • Packed beds are an ideal choice for wet scrubbers that need to remove gaseous pollutants.
  • Venturi Scrubbers
    • ○Exhaust gasses pass through an hourglass-shaped chamber at high pressure while scrubbing liquid enters the gas stream at a lower pressure.
    • The high pressure of the gas turns the liquid into a fine mist, which traps gaseous and particulate matter.
    • Requires a lot of power.
  • Spray Towers
    • The exhaust stream enters a chamber fitted with spray nozzles that release a mist.
    • The mist collects the pollutants in droplets carrying them to a treatment system while the cleaned gas rises.
    • Advantages:
      • A low power consumption.
    • Disadvantages:
      • Reduced efficiency.
      • Treatment systems are required.
      • Heavy maintenance requirements to keep spray nozzles clear.
    • Ideal for facilities that require a lower power wet scrubber to control gaseous pollutants.
  • Cyclone spray chambers
    • Within the scrubber chamber, a cyclonic movement is created by integrating sprayers and high speeds.
      • Gas enters the chamber at high-speed moving naturally around the spray chamber and becoming saturated by the liquid.
      • As the gas rises, it passes through straightening vanes that break up the cyclonic movement before the clean gas exits the chamber.
  • Orifice Scrubbers
    • Gasses pass over a pool of scrubbing liquid.
      • The gasses collect droplets that turn into mist.
      • As the gas rises, it strikes several baffles. Striking a baffle knocks the pollutant-containing liquid out and the cleaned gas continues to rise.

Advantages of Wet Scrubbers

  • The most effective method for removing both dust particulate and gasses in a single system.
  • Handle moderate to high concentrations of pollutants.
  • Handles combustible and nonflammable metal dust contaminants efficiently and cost-effectively.
  • May neutralize corrosive gasses and particles.
  • Ideal for high temperature applications.
  • Ideal for gas streams with moisture that would quickly clog a dry dust collector.
  • Are ideal for a wide range of manufacturing processes and applications.

Disadvantages of Wet Scrubbers

The main disadvantages of wet scrubbers include:

  • The need to treat the contaminated liquid and dispose of the waste product.
  • The cost of waste disposal may be high.
  • They have a higher risk for corrosion.
  • They may require regular maintenance.

Engineering a Wet Scrubber

An experienced engineering team will take many factors into consideration when choosing the best wet scrubber system for a specific application.

A few of these considerations may include:

  • The nature of the particulate/dust to be removed.
  • The particulate size distribution.
  • The initial pollutant loading/ concentration in the waste stream.
  • Whether the particulate is flammable or combustible.

Dust collection systems require ongoing maintenance after installation. Consideration should be paid to the long-term maintenance cost of a new system and how to engineer a solution that will reduce long term maintenance costs. A reputable dust collection engineering firm will also provide an aftercare service that will provide:

  • Preventative maintenance
  • Site inspections
  • Consulting and Diagnosis
  • Smart automation
  • Remote 24/7 system monitoring
  • Fault monitoring and reporting

Filtration Media Dust Collection Systems

There are several types of dust collection systems that use filter media to remove dust particulate from the work environment. These include shaker, reverse air, and pulse jet systems. Pulse jet are the most common and include baghouses, cartridge collectors and bin vents.

What is a Shaker Style Dust Collector?

Shaker Style dust collectors use woven filter bags which are hung and tensioned from the top of the filter housing and attached with an open bottom to a tube sheet.

A shaker baghouse is designed so that when an airstream enters below the filter bags it is pulled upwards and through the interior of the bags. Once sufficient dust cake builds on the inside surface of the filters, they can be cleaned by mechanically shaking the filters until the dust falls into a hopper system below the dust collector. Finally, clean gas is exhausted towards the top of the collector.

Shaker baghouses can be used in facilities where there is no compressed air available and are most suitable for applications where the baghouse will experience lighter dust loads and only run for shorter periods of time, i.e., > 4hours between shut down cycles.

What is a Reverse Air Baghouse?

A reverse air baghouse can be used in large scale air handling applications. These systems require specialty fabric filter bags, which typically consists of a compression band top with a cap and hook. The bottom filter bag configuration can vary from a compression band, double beaded snap band, or corded.

This style of dust collector accumulates dust in a similar way to a shaker baghouse. Dirty airstream enters the baghouse, then it’s pulled through the bags from the inside. The difference in a reverse air versus shaker is in how filter bags are cleaned.

Once dust cake is accumulated on the inside surface of the filter bags, cleaning is accomplished by injecting clean air into the system in a reverse direction. This action pressurizes the compartment, which allows the filter bags to partially collapse, and the dust cake to fall into the hopper located below. In general, reverse air baghouses can generate a lower cleaning air pressure versus the compressed air pulses of a pulse-jet. This makes the reverse air technology suitable and cost effective in some applications while unsuitable in others. Engage a reverse air specialist for advice.

Common applications that use reverse air dust collector include:

  • Woodworking
  • Paper
  • Timber
  • Bulk storage
  • Grain and agriculture

Advantages of Wet Scrubbers

  • No compressed air required to operate
  • High performance outcome on correct design and application
  • Long bag life and low pressure drop over the filter bags
  • Low power consumption and low running cost
  • Reliable and cost-effective technology

Disadvantages of Wet Scrubbers

The main disadvantages of reverse air filters include:

  • Not suitable for all applications
  • Sensitive to correct filter media selection
  • The conservative filtration velocities required result in larger baghouse footprint

What is a Pulse Jet Dust Collector?

A pulse-jet dust collector may be one of the most common styles of dust collection systems used across various industries. A pulse-jet baghouse differs in the way a shaker or reverse air will collect dust. In a pulse-jet, dirty airstream flows through from the outside to inside the filter bags, finally expelling clean air through the top of the system.

To clean dust that accumulates outside of the filter bag, a blast of compressed air is injected through a blowpipe via a venturi over each row of filters. This short blast of compressed air breaks up the dust cake that has accumulated on the outside of the filters and allows dust to fall into a hopper below.

Types of Pulse Jet Dust Collection Systems

Custom Engineered Pulse Jet Baghouse

Pulse-jet dust collectors use a bag and metal cage arrangement. For a top-load baghouse, the most common filter bag configuration is a double beaded snap band top and disc bottom. Bottom load baghouses use raw top disc and bottom filter bags.

Pulse-jet baghouses help reduce the re-circulation of dust because they have a short cleaning cycle. In comparison to a shaker or reverse-air baghouse, filter bags in a pulse-jet will receive more thorough cleaning and reconditioning.

A pulse jet baghouse dust collector is an excellent choice for industries with heat, moisture, fibrous particulates and/or heavy dust loading applications. With a large variety of fabric filter media, baghouse dust collectors are the preferred choice for handling a diverse range of applications including heat, sparks, acidic gases, fibrous dust and grain dust. Common applications for baghouse dust collectors include:

  • Lumber milling
  • Woodworking
  • Automotive manufacturing
  • Mining applications
  • Cement manufacturing
  • Steel foundries
  • Smelting
  • Lime kilns
  • Glass and ceramic manufacturing

Advantages of Baghouse Dust Collector Systems Include:

  • Well-suited for high-volume, heavy dust loading applications
  • Can be configured to withstand high temperatures
  • Effectively filters medium to large size particles
  • Can be configured to handle abrasive and sticky materials
  • Longer service life requiring fewer filter replacements

Disadvantages of Baghouse Dust Collector Systems Include:

  • Higher initial investment due to large size and need for customization
  • Require large amounts of space
  • High maintenance
  • High air-to-cloth ratio because there is less media per filter

Engineering a Custom Baghouse 

Many air pollution control companies apply one pulse jet design to many applications. This “one size fits all” approach can make it challenging to meet operational goals. Because every application is unique, it’s best to partner with an air pollution control firm that can custom engineer a solution specific to your application. Customisation is crucial to achieving optimal performance while lowering long term maintenance costs. Some of the most important aspects of designing a custom baghouse are:

  • Static Pressure: Static pressure is the force created by a fan to move air through a ventilation system. Static pressure is used to determine the size of the fan needed for your baghouse. If the fan is improperly sized, it will not be able to handle the static pressure being created. As a result, air will not be able to move properly through the system and remove dust.
  • Fan Sizing: A dust collector’s fan pulls air containing dust and particulate, then directs it towards the filtration tube where cleaning starts. To properly size a fan for your system, airflow, static pressure, type of collector, power requirements, and environment will be considered.
  • Filtration velocity is a measure of how hard the system pushes the filter media. It is the amount of air going to through the bag house in relation to the amount of filter area of the baghouse. The lower the filtration velocity the less stress the system is under. Filtration velocity is typically measured m3/min/m2. The correct filtration velocity must correspond to the media and application it is applied to.
    • Hint: the filtration velocity is arguably the single most important factor to get right in a baghouse design.
  • High Inlet vs Low Inlet: Inlet placement of your custom engineered baghouse will be determined during the design process. As your air pollution specialists learn more about your unique application, facility layout, dust characteristics and more, an engineer will configure the inlet that will allow your dust to drop out most effectively. Two primary factors that influence inlet placement are;
    • The amount of dust you are bringing into the collector
    • Heaviness of the dust
    • Dust type
    • Media and type of baghouse/dust collector.
  • Dust Removal Options: A dust collector’s hopper is intended to be a temporary storage solution for discharge. To minimize excessive dust build-up in a hopper, an appropriate removal method is required. The right dust removal method will be dependent on your style of dust collector, load rates, and dust characteristics. The most common dust removal methods are:
    • Drum or Bag – ○This is the easiest and most simple solution to collecting and removing dust from a hopper. A removable drum or bag can be placed underneath the hopper and can be emptied by hand or with a forklift. This is ideal for light dust loads that are non-hazardous.
    • Enclosed Box e.g. a skip bin – ○An enclosed box is similar to a drum, but on a larger scale. Pipes funnel dust into an enclosed box, and once capacity is reached a maintenance team would empty the box with a forklift. This method can be used for light non-hazardous dusts.
    • Rotary Valve – A rotary valve placed under a hopper helps to transition material into a drum or bin. This seals a pressurized system against loss of air and pressure. Rotary valves are commonly used in applications that consist of weighing, feeding, and mixing. A rotary valve also allows emptying of bins during operation.
    • Pneumatic Conveying System – A rotary valve placed under a hopper helps to transition material into a drum or bin. This seals a pressurized system against loss of air and pressure. Rotary valves are commonly used in applications that consist of weighing, feeding, and mixing. A rotary valve also allows emptying of bins during operation.

Cartridge Dust Collector

Cartridge dust collectors are used in applications like bulk powder, grinding, foundries, welding and more. These systems are ideal for nuisance dust, smoke, fumes, or applications with fine dust particulates of .5 micron or less. A cartridge dust collector is also ideal when there are height and space restrictions, small or moderate dust loads, and airflow temperatures below 118 Degrees Celsius.

This type of dust collector uses cartridge filters, which has multiple advantages over a bag and cage system of a baghouse. The advantages of cartridge filters are:

  • Quick and easy changeouts that can be accomplished by 2 people or less.
  • Simple maintenance. Dust cake is removed from the filters via a counter flow, jet-stream or even by using pressurized air.
  • Easy parts replacement. A wide variety of common replacement filters are kept in-stock by dust collection suppliers.
  • Helps you save space. In comparison to a baghouse, cartridge collectors are smaller in footprint.
  • The pleats in a cartridge filter provide more square footage of filtration in a more compact area.

The primary disadvantage of using a cartridge dust collector system is that if it is not specified correctly, they are prone to rapid failure. Cartridges are not designed to efficiently eliminate any significant volumes of dust and particulates. If you are producing large volumes, for example, more than 208 litres of dust a day, we recommend scaling up to a baghouse.
Cartridges can be expensive to replace and will require frequent replacement if applied in incorrect application or with too high a filtration velocity.

Characteristics of an incorrectly dimensioned or applied cartridge dust collector include its rapid filter failures, poor performance and it is expensive to run/maintain.

Silo Vent

Bin vents are small dust collectors designed to filter air in loading environments that work with products such as sand, cement, or grain. Bin vents can be used with silos and tanks, thereby creating a process that allows displaced air to be ventilated without losing product.

Similar to cartridge collectors, bin vents are compact and designed to handle low volumes of dust. The advantages of using a bin vent system and pleated filters are:

  • Initial cost savings because no ductwork is required.
  • Fewer parts replacement since there are no moving parts inside of a bin vent.
  • Easy maintenance. A bin vent can be inspected without shutting down the system.
How much does a dust collection system cost?

Small to Medium Dust Collection Systems:

Static filter baghouse and reverse airflow dust collectors are usually considered for small to medium dust loads with no high temperature requirements. Systems can cost between $5k to $50k and can handle airflows from 2,000-16,000m3/h. Key features you should look for in a small – medium dust collector are:

  • Modular, compact design that delivers reliable extraction and reduces energy consumption
  • Extendable as your requirements grow – future proofing your investment
  • Filters which are easily replaceable and accessible
  • Weatherproof for exposed locations
  • Additional costs should be expected for ATEX compliant features for explosive dusts

School Dust Collector Systems

Shaker dust collectors with combustible dust safety components cost between $18k to $45k. They are modular in design, and can handle airflows between 3,000-14,000m3/hr. Features include:

  • Shaker cleaning system
  • USP control
  • Flameless vents
  • Compatible with 200-400 litre bins

Large Dust Collection Systems

Large dust collection systems include custom-engineered shaker, pulse-jet or reverse air dust collector. Used for large scale processing, these systems can cost $50k to $150k and be designed to handle airflows of 16,000-60,000m3/h. Some larger engineered systems can cost more than $1million. Key features you should look for in a large dust collector are:

  • Differential pressure-controlled cleaning of filter bags, which reduces power and air consumption
  • Low maintenance
  • ATEX compliant. Designed to strict European safety and emissions standards
  • Available for hot and cold applications
  • High efficiency filtration
Guide to Dust Collector Filters

Dust collection systems that require filter media to remove dust particulate include shaker style, reverse air, and pulse jet style systems.

Types of Dust Collector Filters

Filters come in a wide range of configurations depending on the type of dust collector you operate.

Cartridge Filters or Cartridges

Cartridge filters are generally designed in a cylindrical form. They’re far more compact than a filter bag and cage system, and easy to maintain as well as replace. There are three common medias used for cartridge filters:

  • 80/20: Low priced and widely available, 80/20 is a blend of cellulose and polyester. This combination gives it more strength than a 100% cellulose cartridge filter. This media can be used in applications with nuisance dust, paint booths, and blasting.
  • Nanofiber: A thin web of synthetic fibres that are laid over a substrate such as polyester or 80/20. Applications that use Nanofiber range from metalworking, welding, carbon, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Spunbond Polyester: If you have an application with heat or abrasive dusts, Spunbond Polyester is ideal. Common applications include cement, cardboard, and sandblasting.

Cartridge Treatments: Common treatments for cartridge filters include PTFE (Teflon) and fire retardant. Other treatments that can be used on Spunbond and Polyester cartridge filters are anti-static and hydro-oleophobic coatings. Using a specific treatment on cartridge filters can help increase the efficiency rate of dust capture. For example, if an application has dust that is viscous, adding a PTFE membrane onto spunbond polyester allows dust and particles to adhere far better.

Cartridge Configurations: Cartridge filters are typically cylindrical. However, some manufacturers make oval or conical shaped cartridge filters. The configuration of your cartridge filter is ultimately dependent on the design of your cartridge dust collector. The most common configurations are:

  • Top & Bottom
    • Open Top with an Open Bottom
    • Open Top with Closed Bottom and a Bolt Hole
    • Flanged Top with a Closed Bottom
  • Inner / Outer
    • Inner Expanded Metal
    • Outer Expanded Metal
    • Outer Bands (usually 2-3)
    • Inner Expanded Metal with No Outer construction
  • Frame Material
    • Galvanized Metal
    • Polycore
    • Stainless Steel

Dust Collector Filter Bags

Industrial filter bags are used in dust collection systems such as shaker, pulse-jet, and reverse air baghouses. The right filter bag media, treatment and configuration will depend on factors such as dust characteristics, application, operating temperature, and dust collector style. There are several filter medias available, but the most common include the following:

  • Polyester:The most common and widely available filter bag media used across multiple industries. Polyester is economically priced compared to other filter bag media and can be used in industries like agriculture and food processing. This media is ideal for applications with less than 10% moisture, and operating temperatures of ambient to no more than 135 degrees Celsius.
  • Aramid: If your application consists of continuous high heat, then Aramid may be the ideal solution. Aramid can handle temperatures up to 204 degrees Celsius and can also withstand moderately abrasive dust. Examples of industries that use Aramid filter media include cement and metalworking.
  • Fiberglass: Fiberglass is fabricated by a dense structure of fine fibreglass filaments. It’s considered to be the leading standard in applications operating with high temperatures of up to 260 degrees Celsius and in environments with moist heat. Fibreglass is commonly used in industries like chemicals, iron, carbon black, power plants, and cement.
  • PPS: PPS is ideal for applications that include acids and alkali, but where continuous operating temperatures are only up to a max of 190 degrees Celsius. PPS can be used in cement mills and asphalt.
  • P84: In contrast to Fiberglass, P84 performs best in dry high heat applications, conditions where there is less than 10% moisture, and no chemicals present. PPS can handle up to a continuous operating temperature of 260 degrees Celsius. Examples of industries that use P84 are incinerators, boilers, and lime kilns. One factor to consider when looking for a high-temperature filter media is that P84 is an expensive option for pulse-jet dust collectors with high heat applications. This media is not relatively easy to come by since it is proprietary.
  • Teflon (PTFE): Teflon, also known as PTFE for short, is the most expensive high-temperature filter media option on the market today. It is the gold standard of media because it can nearly outperform most others due to its unique physical properties. PTFE is used in pulse-jet baghouse dust collectors and will perform well under conditions where acids and moisture are present and with a max operating temperature of 260 degrees Celsius. Industries that use PTFE media are carbon and waste-to-energy. In addition to constructing a bag out of PTFE, it can also be added as a substrate to a large variety of filter media depending on the application.

Filter Bag Treatments

In addition to selecting the right filter bag media, there are a variety of treatment options available that may help improve dust cake release, deliver consistent airflow, and lengthen the life of your filter bag. The right treatment for your filter bag will be dependent on your dust characteristics and application. Treatments can include:

  • PTFE Membrane – Added to improve filtration efficiency, capture of fine dust particles, and dust cake release.
  • Teflon B – Increases fiber to fiber resistance.
  • Acrylic Coating – In certain applications can provide improved dust cake release and efficiency.
  • Hydro Oleophobic Coating – Added in applications that require improved water and oil resistance.
  • Flame Retardant – Helps impede combustibility.

Filter Bag Configurations

Your filter bag configuration depends on the style of baghouse you have; whether it’s a shaker, pulse-jet, or reverse air. In pulse jet systems, bag configuration will also depend on whether you have a bottom load or top load system The most common configurations for each style of baghouse are:

  • Shaker Baghouse Filter Configuration
    • Filter Top: Strap, Loop, Grommet
    • Filter Bottom: Double Beaded Snap Band, Corded Cuff
  • Reverse Air Baghouse Filter Configuration
    • Filter Top: Compression Band with Cap & Hook
    • Filter Bottom: Corded, Compression Band, Double Beaded Snap Band
  • Pulse-Jet Baghouse Filter Configuration
    • Bottom Load: Raw Top, Disc Bottom
    • Top Load: Double Beaded Snap Band Top, Disc Bottom

Pleated Filters

Pleated filters and pleated bags are terms that are used interchangeably. Pleated filters are commonly used in bin vent dust collectors. But, depending on your type of dust collector and application, you may be able to convert a bag and cage configuration to a pleated system. Advantages of converting to a pleated filter system include a lower air-to-cloth ratio, increased efficiency, extended filter life, reduced inventory, and lower maintenance costs.

Pleated Filter Media

Media for pleated filters includes Spunbond Polyester, Polyester, Polyester with PTFE, and Aramid. The least common of these is Aramid because it’s normally reserved for high-temperature applications, which comes at a higher cost.

Pleated Filter Configurations

The configuration of a pleater filter can often improve efficiency and can be more durable than a conventional filter bag. Pleated filter configurations will depend on the style of dust collector; top load or bottom load. Common configurations are:

  • Polyurethane Top and Bottom
  • Metal Top and Bottom
  • Inner Expanded Metal
  • Outer Bands (usually 3 but can vary depending on length)
How to Choose the right Method and Type of Dust Collector

A dust collector is a significant and important investment for your business – making it critical to get it right the first time.

When working with the dust collection supplier that will help you design and manufacture your system, it’s important to understand the many variables that go into the design process and how they affect overall costs and long-term performance. The most critical factors in designing the right dust collection system that will provide optimal performance long term include:

  • Dust type
  • Volume
  • Size constraints
  • Emissions requirements
  • Environment location
  • Combustibility
  • Budget
  • On-going maintenance capabilities.

Dust Type

The first step in the design process is to assess the dust properties of your application. This includes size, density, the temperature at which you operate, the abrasiveness of the dust, chemistry, whether moisture is present, and combustibility. Your dust collection engineering and manufacturing firm can help you adequately assess each of these variables and identify the right dust collection solution based on your unique dust properties.

Volume

Calculating the right volume for a dust collection system during the design process will minimize long term maintenance expenses and ensure optimal dust capture. When volume is too low and unable to capture dust efficiently, air quality decreases, along with the lifespan of wearables and the system itself. If the volume of your dust collection system is too high, energy intake increases and can raise overall operation costs.

Size Constraints

Beyond the application and dust loading rates, a dust collector’s size can be determined by space restrictions in the work environment. For example, if a dust collector is required inside of a building, a top load system may not be ideal since servicing the system is performed from the top of the unit.  

Emissions Requirements:

When engineering a new system, it’s critical to consult your local, state and national regulations for specific requirements unique to your application and work environment. 

Environment

Environment location and local climate help determine filter media selection, fan size, and whether special coatings or insulation for the system is needed to protect it from extreme weather.

Combustibility

Build-up of combustible dust in a work environment poses significant risks that will need to be addressed from the beginning of your dust collection project. As you work together with your air pollution specialists to design your system, the type of dust and the amount you produce will be considered. Combustible dust is present in applications such as food processing, cement, woodworking, and metals. Increased combustibility is also heightened when dealing with fine dust particles because there is a higher ratio of surface area to volume.
If your application is susceptible to combustible dust, an explosion venting strategy may be considered to both mitigate any serious fires or explosions from happening. Common venting strategies include explosion latch, no return valve, explosion vent or panel, abort gate, and a spark detection system.

Budget

No matter the size of the endeavour, budget is always top of mind when pursuing a new dust collection project. But regardless of the price point, you should expect the air pollution specialists you work with to properly size a dust collection system that will deliver perfect performance. In terms of budget, the size of your system will influence overall costs.
All dust extraction systems are different and cost will vary depending on size, space requirements, temperature considerations, ease of maintenance, emission control requirements and many other factors.

Note: under-sizing a dust collector to save cost will likely result in poor performance, rapid failure and high running cost.

Custom Dust Collection Systems

A project that delivers a custom dust collection system should be designed to provide ongoing high performance, long-term savings on maintenance, while also ensuring a clean environment for your facility. Custom systems often consist of multiple units of various types of dust collectors used to capture dust at different places in your work environment. These can include a combination of wet scrubbers, ESPs, cyclones, pulse-jets, reverse-air, bin vents or cartridge dust collectors.

Ongoing Maintenance

Considering preventative and on-going maintenance costs is an essential part of investing in a dust collection system. As your dust collector ages, parts wear and tear and require maintenance or replacement. Key factors that will minimize long-term maintenance costs are:

  • Design features that provide easy changeouts of filters, cages, pulse valves, and other wearables
  • Non-proprietary wearables that you can easily find and replace
  • Pulse jet cleaning technology (in applicable systems)
  • Modular design for easy future expansion
  • ATEX compliant
  • The correct filter media that can handle your specific dust characteristics
  • The appropriate dust removal method
Dust Collector Maintenance

Preventative maintenance allows you to keep wearables in good condition, identify issues, and address concerns before they become larger problems. Issues such as clogged filters, leaking pulse valves, and reduction of suction at pick-up points can all lead to an unscheduled plant shutdown. These maintenance issues may end up costing you thousands of dollars, if not more, in lost production or regulatory fines.

Commonly Replaced Pulse Jet Dust Collector Parts

To keep your pulse jet dust collection system performing at its best, the team responsible for maintenance should be watchful of the 5 most wearable parts of a pulse jet dust collector.

Filters: Signs filters may need replacement can range from excessive dust cake build up on the filter itself, loss of suction at pick-up points, or a high differential pressure reading.
Pulse-Valves: The life of a dust collector’s pulse-valves may be coming to an end if it stops pulsing, emits a weak pulse, has a crack on the housing, has visibly stripped or damaged threads, or if your filters are not being cleaned well.

Diaphragms: Diaphragm kits are small but play a vital role in the operation of a valve. If the kit’s spring is broken, if you experience increased differential pressure, or if there is weak pulsing then it may be time to check your diaphragm.

Solenoids: A solenoid may need to be replaced if its plunger is tarnished, its post is crooked, or the rubber on the plunger is tattered.

Timer Board: Signs a timer board may be at the end of its life are no power coming to the board itself, valve isn’t pulsing, or a small electrical charge from the timer board is causing weak pulsing.

Recommended Dust Collector Maintenance Schedule

Part of a well-rounded preventative maintenance schedule will be ensuring that wearables are checked either daily, weekly, monthly, or yearly. Below is a general recommendation for pulse jet dust collection systems. Please note that this schedule may vary depending on your system and application.

  • Check differential pressure readings. We recommend that cartridge collectors read no higher than 1.4, RAF filters no more than 0.7Kpa and tubular baghouses 1.2Kpa.
  • Listen for any abnormal noises coming from the dust collector or fan.
  • Listen for any air leaks.

Weekly:

  • Make certain that air pressure is sufficient during normal operation.
  • Check your compressed air regulators on the pulsing system
  • Ensure that pulse-valves are operating properly
  • If applicable, check on fan belt

Monthly:

  • Ensure that pulse-valves are operating properly

Yearly:

  • Inspect housing and ductwork for any damages
Lead Time & Installation Timeline
What to Look for in a Dust Collection Engineering and Manufacturing Company

It’s essential to find a dependable and responsive air pollution control firm to engineer and fabricate your dust collection system correctly the first time. Proper dust collection engineering will minimize long-term maintenance costs, thereby reducing risks that create unscheduled shutdowns. For your next dust collection project, consider these qualities and characteristics that separate an exceptional air pollution specialist from an average one.

Experience: Your air pollution control company should specialize in and have engineering experience designing, installing and maintaining air pollution control equipment across a broad range of applications and industries.

Quality: High-quality products built to perform and provide peace of mind throughout the life of the product. The company you work with should be able to deliver a high degree of customization, where needed, while also ensuring a high-performance solution that can be delivered quickly and cost-effectively. Most importantly, your air pollution control firm should be focused on designing a system that will perform adequately long term.

Responsiveness: An exceptional air pollution specialist will have a dedicated department providing customer service. In addition, common spare parts should be readily available to minimize any production losses or emergencies.

What’s Unique about Airtight’s approach to dust collection design, manufacture and install

Our approach to solving our customers’ dust collection challenges is our experience engineering quality, and custom solutions at an unrivalled cost to value point while also providing extensive aftercare service solutions We aim to take care of our customers over the entire course of ownership – not just during the engineering and installation phase.

Airtight Solutions is one of the largest specialist air pollution control companies operating in Australia and New Zealand. We have extensive experience with a verifiable track record of successful applications. This strong reputation is built upon decades of supplying well-engineered systems.

To better serve our customers, Airtight Solutions is structured into four divisions. Dust and fume control, aftercare servicing, engineered solutions, and waste reduction/waste to energy. Airtight draws upon the individual strengths of these divisions when providing an effective solution to the requirements of a pollution control project. This is the Airtight difference that ensures high-performance solutions can be delivered quickly and cost-effectively.

Are you planning for a plant expansion, new facility or system modification project? We would love to be a resource for you and help you engineer a solution that will help you maintain a safe, productive and low maintenance work environment for years to come. Schedule your consultation with an Airtight Solutions engineer today.

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