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How to Maintain Your Dust Collector

The inception of the dust collector has allowed companies to effectively capture airborne particulate from an air stream. This has become more important for several reasons. First, containing particulate — toxic or not — is necessary to provide a healthy and clean work environment. Second, increasing local and global awareness of air pollution, containment and the process dust in industrial applications has emphasized the importance of dust collectors. Finally, expanding regulations have pressured companies to properly design, install, operate and maintain dust collection equipment.

To ensure dust collector bags are functioning properly, you need to perform periodic inspections, as well as repair and replace damaged or malfunctioning equipment. A routine inspection and maintenance program will boost your equipment's performance and life. To maintain the health and effectiveness of your dust collector, follow our helpful list of procedures.

1. Create an inspection/maintenance program — A typical program consists of a schedule for periodic inspections that are performed on a daily, weekly, monthly, semi-annual and annual basis. Failing to periodically inspect the dust collector can hurt its performance. Subsequently, the dust collector may not meet EPA outlet emissions standards.

2. Don't exceed recommended pressure drop — Sometimes called differential pressure, it's the amount of static resistance across filters when operating a positive- or negative-pressure dust collector. Pressure drop, typically measured in inches of water column (in w.c.), is a good indicator of the amount of dust that has collected on the filter media and, if continually monitored, the condition of the filters.

New filters have the lowest pressure drop because of the inherent permeability of the media. As the bags develop a dust cake, some particulate embeds itself into the filter media, increasing pressure drop accordingly. The filtering of the airstream through this accumulated dust cake provides high-efficiency collection of fine particulate. In fact, the highest efficiency a dust collector can offer is just before the cleaning is initiated. However, high differential pressures can cause filter media bleed-through or blinding. Therefore, do not to exceed the manufacturer's recommended operating pressure drop.

3. Ensure cleaning system functions properly — Equipment use a variety of cleaning systems to dislodge accumulated dust cake from the filter media. Systems include reverse air, shaker or pulse clean. Regardless of the style of cleaning, it is imperative that this system function properly at all times. Without an effective cleaning system, dust will continue to build on the bags. The result will be an increased pressure drop and reduced volume of ventilation air at the pick-up points. Further, airstream velocities within the ductwork will decrease and cause dropout of dust in the ducts. This may choke the entire system and render it ineffective.

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