Once you’ve made the investment in technology and personnel to install and operate a dust collection system, the next step is to put a robust maintenance program in place. An effective dust collection housekeeping and maintenance system will not only extend the lifetime of your investment through optimal performance, it will also help improve worker safety, reduce risks of combustible dust, and mitigate other dust and fume related hazards.
Of course, this is a big topic and specific procedures for a business will vary, depending on the type of equipment used and the business operation itse
lf. Nevertheless, there are some best practices and common guidelines that will apply to most, if not all, businesses.
Make Maintenance a Daily Activity
Industry experts agree: maintenance cannot be an afterthought. The foundation of a good maintenance program is to identify, train and hold accountable specific employees to perform maintenance activities on a daily and weekly basis.
Once this is done, a standard set of regular, periodic (daily, weekly or monthly) downdraft table and dust collector maintenance inspection activities can be performed. These activities should be documented on a checklist, and logged in a systematic way, so that changes in the system can be recorded, and analyzed.
Dust Collection System Maintenance Activities
To help illustrate what could be entailed, here are some common system maintenance activities. Again, your business is unique, and the activities may vary, but they can include:
1. Monitoring for Differential Pressure or Pressure Drop
Differential pressure or pressure drop can be an important measure of the condition of a dust collection filter, specifically how much dust or particulate has become embedded in the filter itself. This is because pressure drop measures the change in pressure in a system as material moves through a filter. In theory, in a system where the filter has very little particulate or dust embedded in it (i.e., with a new filter), the pressure in the system downstream of the filter should not change significantly as material moves through the filter. But as the filter collects dust, there can be changes in differential pressure, and this can be an important indicator that preventative maintenance is required. Many companies have a designated employee measure differential pressure daily.
2. Monitoring for Visible Emissions
Another common, often daily maintenance activity many businesses follow is to check for visible emissions of dust from the dust collection system exhaust. These emissions can be an indication of a defective seal or filter, and can create health concerns, as well as damage other system components if not corrected promptly.
3. Inspection of Dust Collection System Component
In addition to daily monitoring for indicators of system performance or required maintenance, it is important to establish a regular schedule for direct inspection of key dust system components. Examples of key system components that should be inspected include:
- Air filter media and filter bags
- Blower fan and motor systems
- Dust collection cleaning systems
Finally: Analyze the Data and Take Action
Conducting regular maintenance inspections and gathering data is only valuable if management regularly analyzes the information collected and takes action. A brief, standing meeting — weekly or monthly – in which key metrics are reviewed and discussed will help ensure that potential problems are flagged early and will build a “preventative maintenance culture” that will improve safety and reduce operating costs. Oftentimes, this data is tracked electronically so analysis can be performed quickly and effectively.
DualDraw: Experts in Dust Collection System Design and Maintenance.
DualDraw has a full line of source capture dust and fume collection equipment, as well as preventative maintenance services. Our in-house experts guide customers to a solution to safely and cost-effectively address their specific dust or fume application. Contact DualDraw today to learn how we can help your business or visit us at www.dualdraw.com.