Are you looking for dust control solutions for fine or ultrafine dust? Fine and ultrafine dust are produced by many industries, including plastics, food processing, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical and nutraceutical production, and woodworking. If your processes create fine dust or ultrafine particulate, read on to learn the best way to control it.
What Is Fine or Ultrafine Dust? Understanding Particulate Sizing
Fine dust particles are produced by many processes and industrial applications, including plastic production, woodworking, welding and other thermal processes, plasma and laser or fiber laser cutting, and handling and processing of fine powders for the food processing, pharmaceutical/nutraceutical and chemical industries. Working with graphite and advanced materials (such as composites made with carbon nanotubes) can also produce very fine, microscopic particulate. Ultrafine particulate is also produced when burning hydrocarbons or running gas-powered machinery, engines or vehicles.
“Fine dust” does not have a single definition but is generally described as particulate matter small and light enough to stay suspended in the air. Fine dust can remain airborne for a long time; ultrafine particulates can become aerosolized (mixed with air) and remain in the air indefinitely.
The most important legal definitions of fine dust come from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA categorizes fine and ultrafine dust according to its diameter. Airborne dust is known as particulate matter (PM). EPA regulates two classes of particulate matter.
The Problems with Fine and Ultrafine Dust
Fine and ultrafine dust create challenges for housekeeping, human health and the environment.
Considerations in Dust Collector Design for Fine and Ultrafine Dust
Dust collection for fine and ultrafine dust requires a specialized solution. There are several considerations to keep in mind when selecting an industrial dust collector for fine and ultrafine dust.
Filter selection is one of the most important elements of dust collection system design for fine or ultrafine dust. Filters are rated according to their filtration efficiency for particles of different sizes. The MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) scale is used to classify filters.
If cleanroom conditions are required (for example, for food processing or pharmaceutical/nutraceutical production and packaging), additional filtration may be needed after air passes through the cartridge filters. Look for a dust collector that can be fitted with after-filters for collection of ultrafine dust that escapes the cartridge filters.
CFM and System Design
An industrial dust collection system for fine or ultrafine particulate must be designed with appropriate airflow for efficient capture and transport through the ductwork.
Fine dust can become deeply embedded in filter media, making it difficult to pulse out. A PFTE-coated filter will enable more efficient shedding. In addition, look for:
Combustion and Fire Safety
Many types of fine and ultrafine dust are also explosive, including food processing dust (especially sugars, starches and flours), plastic fines, carbon black and weld fumes. When collecting combustible dust, the dust collector must be equipped with explosion safety features that comply with OSHA and NFPA safety standards. A deflagration system limits damage if a combustion event occurs inside the dust collector. Dust collector explosion safety elements may include:
- Heavier doors and side panels.
- Explosion vent panels, which provide pressure relief by blowing out to safely direct the energy of an explosion when pressure inside the collector rises to an unsafe level. These panels must be carefully placed to direct explosive energy away from people.
- A rotary airlock between the collector and the collection bin or hopper. This prevents dust in the hopper from escaping back into the dust collector chamber and providing additional fuel for the explosion.
- An isolation valve to prevent a pressure wave from propagating back into the facility and triggering a dangerous secondary explosion.
If space is a concern, look for features that will help you cut down on the footprint of the industrial dust collector.
Designing a Dust Collection System for Fine and Ultrafine Dust
A dust collection system for fine and ultrafine dust includes not only the industrial dust collector itself but also the ductwork, hoods and enclosures, and ventilation and makeup air systems. The entire system must be designed according to ACGIH recommended practices for collection of ultrafine particulate. An industrial ventilation engineer will look at your processes, facility layout, dust type and volume, and clean air goals when designing your dust collection system.
Our go-to dust collector for fine and ultrafine dust collection is RoboVent Senturion. Senturion features:
Learn more about how we design dust control solutions for fine and ultrafine dust across industries:
Looking for a dust collection solution for fine or ultrafine dust? Talk to a RoboVent solutions specialist today.