A dust collector is a piece of air filtration equipment. It improves commercial or industrial air quality by capturing particulate matter (like dust particles) and then releasing clean air into the atmosphere on the other side.
Dust collectors also filter a number of pollutants and solid particles that the government has banned in response to continued air pollution.
The purpose of dust collectors is to capture the particles released during manufacturing processes. The particles released during manufacturing processes are hazardous to both worker and equipment health, quickly leading to a number of problems if particles are not captured by dust collection equipment and filtered from facility air. A dust collection system addresses this problem by drawing contaminated air through a filter or separator, trapping harmful particles and releasing cleaner air into the atmosphere or back onto the work floor.
As we’ve said, dust collectors improve both indoor and outdoor environments by capturing a high percentage of the particles emitted by industrial processes. However, they also play a major role in helping companies meet the requirements of various standards. For example, industry-specific OSHA regulations hold facilities to strict standards for indoor air quality. Also, the EPA and other regulatory bodies put limits on emissions of dust, smoke and fumes into the atmosphere.
Dust collection is a vital process for coal handling, cement fabrication, metal fabrication, mining, chemical processing, woodworking, pharmaceutical, recycling and agricultural industries, among many others. Within their facilities and outside, companies can incorporate several different dust collector types into one systems, or they may use smaller, self-contained or portable units to get the job done.
Woodworking Dust Collection System – A.C.T. Dust Collectors
Bag House Dust Collector – Quality Air Management
Small Dust Collector – Quality Air Management
Downdraft table – Bisco Enterprise, Inc.
Downdraft table – Bisco Enterprise, Inc.
Dust Collector for Surface Preparation Applications – A.C.T. Dust Collectors
The History of Dust Collectors
The need for dust collectors began in the 19th century during the Industrial Revolution, when companies began producing high volumes of industrial waste like fine dust, wood dust and other particles. In 1852, an American man named S.T. Jones applied for one of the first dust collector-type device patents, the single bag filter.
Then, in 1921, a man named Wilhelm Beth, who was from the German city of Lübeck, patented three filter designs. One involved cloth filtering, another agitation/shaking devices for cleaning filters, and another tubular filter devices. He also constructed hose filters. He focused on filtering both air and gas.
At the beginning of 1950s, the air filter industry was transformed by the invention of the reverse air jet system. At the end of the 1950s, engineers introduced the pulse jet filtration system. This system brought down the number of mechanical parts involved in air cleaning.
Since the 1970’s and 1980’s, when air quality requirements and pollution restrictions became more stringent, dust collectors have become very popular, and manufacturers continue to innovate their design. Today, as the dust collecting industry advances, smaller, cleaner and more efficient separating and filtering equipment is being developed.
Industrial dust collectors come in various types and sizes. Plus, they’re made up of many different parts. So, the design and manufacturing process varies from one type of dust collector to another.
However, all are made using some combination of machining and assembly. For example, most (if not all) dust collectors come equipped with a blower. To make this blower alone, manufacturers must design and create an engine, fan blades, a wheel or rotor mounted on a shaft and a housing. Those dust collectors that feature a fabric filter or compact filters like the cartridge filter, require the manufacturing of several other parts, including: a blow pipe, housing and hopper, clean plenum, dusty plenum, tube plate, compressed air header, bag, cage and more.
Once you’re done manufacturing and assemble the parts of your dust collector, you can strengthen them with secondary processes. For example, to make sure a fabric filter will work well and for a long time to come, manufacturers often choose to coat the filter with something called a pre-coat or filter enhancer. The most common type of pre-coat is chemically inert limestone.
Typically, the outside or frame of a dust collector is constructed using a strong metal material like mild steel or stainless steel. Fabric filters can made from materials like: felted cotton, woven cotton, synthetic material or glass fiber material.
Customize your dust collector by adding custom panels, giving it a paint job (with industrial grade paint), adding accessories like tailpipe adaptors, or by retrofitting it.
Dust collection equipment is responsible for capturing and filtering the particles released during manufacturing processes that are hazardous to both worker and equipment health. According to Wikipedia, dust collection systems work on the basic principle of 3C - capture, convey and collect. At first, a dust collection machine captures dust or other pollutants. Then, those particles are conveyed through ducts before finally being collected into a bag house using a filter. In the end, dust collectors release cleaner air into the atmosphere or back onto the work floor.
The detailed features of an air cleaner varies by type. The cartridge dust collector, for example, features perforated metal cartridges with pleated, nonwoven filter media, instead of the more traditional woven or belt bag.
These systems, from cyclone dust collection system to powermatic dust collector, are unique because they are so versatile and cost-effective. Unlike so many other HVAC products, they’re also easy to maintain, easy to clean and long-lasting.
Common types of dust collectors include: baghouses, jet dust collectors, inertial separators, fabric filters, fabric filter baghouses, wet scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators, cartridge collectors, wet dust collectors, downdraft tables and portable dust collectors.
The five main types dust collectors and dust collection equipment are: inertial separators, fabric filters, wet scrubbers, electrostatic precipitators, and unit collectors. The variances among these types may determine their suitability for specific industries and applications. Below is a brief introduction to each of these pieces of equipment and how they work.
Inertial separators work by employing a combination of forces including gravitational, centrifugal, and inertial. These forces separate the dust from the gas streams that enter it. Gravity then works to move the dust into a hopper for temporary storage.
Inertial separators can be broken down into types as well. These include settling chambers, baffle chambers, and centrifugal collectors. Settling chambers and baffle chambers are often used in pre-cleaning applications and centrifugal collectors (of which there are also many types) are used in a wide variety of industrial applications from metallurgical plants to saw mills and pulp and paper plants.
Settling chambers reduce the speed of an air stream, which allows the heavier particles to settle out more quickly.
Meanwhile, baffle chambers set up a barrier that forces the air to change directions suddenly, so that the inertia of the heavier particles does not allow them to remain suspended in the air stream and they fall to the bottom of the chamber.
Cyclone dust collectors use centrifugal, or cyclonic, air movement within a hopper-shaped chamber to separate particles from the air; the particles, being heavier than air molecules, are thrown against the outer wall of the hopper and fall to the bottom, where they are collected. Multi-cyclone dust collectors have a single main inlet on one side and a single outlet on the other side, but incorporate many cyclone cylinders inside the chamber that run concurrently; single-cyclone dust collectors have only one cyclone.
Settling chambers, baffle chambers and cyclone dust collectors are most effective at removing the coarser dust particles from contaminated air, and so are well suited as pre-cleaners for baghouses and other dust collectors that are more efficient at removing fine particulate.
Often known as baghouses, fabric filters are very efficient as well as cost effective. Dusty gases pass through fabric bags of various materials such as felted or woven cotton and glass-fiber material. Fabric filters are relied on heavily as they have collection efficiency of over 99% for very fine particles.
Baghouses have the most common and cost-effective dust collector design. To work, they draw contaminated air in through ducts and to a hopper-shaped baghouse containing fabric filters made of cotton, synthetics or glass-fiber. The air is pulled through the fabric bags by a vacuum-creating fan that captures dust, smoke and particles. Finally, clean air exits through the fan at the outlet. Those dust particles left behind either cling to the filter or settle into an airlock at the bottom of the hopper, which is routinely emptied.
Wet scrubbers use liquid (usually water) for another method efficient dust removal. Wet scrubbers capture gas streams containing dust when they come into contact with liquid streams. These liquid streams then carry the dust away, leaving purer gases. Wet scrubber types are categorized by energy usage.
Electrostatic precipitators use electrostatic forces to remove dust from gases. With these, particles become negatively charged as they pass through a field between direct-current, high-voltage discharge electrode. These particles are thus attracted to positive charged electrodes and adhere to them to later be removed continuous vibration or rapping.
Unit collectors are employed at the source where dust is created and utilize fans along with other dust collection materials like fabric. These are usually low in cost and portable and ideal for small operations or facilities with limited space.
Another dust collector system is the shop vacuum. Shop vacs use centrifugal fans to pull in dry or liquid air; they hold it either in a fabric bag or via cyclone dust collection.
Benefits of Dust Collectors
There are four major advantages of dust collectors:
- The reduced risk of fire
- The prevention of dust explosion
- The enhancement of visibility on the work site
- The reduction of industrial odors
In addition, dust collectors have low operating costs and they’re highly efficient.
Depending on the type of dust collector, there are many value-adding accessories available to you.
These include: slide gates, HEPA after filters, dust drawers, explosion doors, ducting, an extra duct port, multiple suction hoods, flexible exhaust hoses, sprinkler systems, emission sensors, rotary valves, tailpipe adaptors, gas detectors and more.
To figure out what accessories might benefit your application, talk to your supplier.
Install your new or retrofitted dust collector with the help of your supplier, who will assist you to a greater or lesser degree, depending on the size and scope of your system. The largest dust collection systems require manufacturers help with safety and support equipment like cranes and lifts, while smaller systems, like the shop vac, may simply require delivery. If you are doing the bulk of the installation yourself, make sure to consult with your manufacturer to confirm that you understand what you must do and you have all the right tools.
Proper Care for Dust Collectors
One of the most important aspects of dust collector care is filter cleaning. For example, when the filter cake on baghouses becomes too thick, it begins to stress the system. While baghouses are sometimes equipped with vibrators that shake filters free of dust, you must occasionally clean the filters yourself to ensure sufficient airflow through baghouse filters.
It’s also important to sometimes clean other components of dust collectors, such as the dust collection hose and ducting. Maintaining ducting is also important because, if not, it can generate friction and excess static pressure.
To make sure that your dust collectors are legal and your employees are safe, make sure to follow OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines. Because dust collectors are so often used to help companies comply with government bans and regulations on emissions, it’s also wise to have your manufacturer follow EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) rules during design.
Things to Consider
To find the right dust collection design for you, there are a number of questions your must consider. These include:
- Is your application located indoors or outdoors?
- What is the density of the dust you want to collect?
- What is the size of your operation?
- What is the frequency with which your system will be used?
- What type of substance(s) (dust and fume, liquid and fume, etc) will your system be collecting?
Once you figure out the system you need, you need to pick out the right manufacturer. Who is the right manufacturer? The right manufacturer is the one who is not only skilled and experienced, but also considerate and a great provider of customer service. To find that manufacturer, browse those listed near the top of this page.
Dust Collector Types
- Baffle chambers cause dusty air to change direction suddenly so that gravity and inertia carry the heavier dust particles downward, out of the air stream and into a collection area.
- are dust collection filters typically constructed from glass fibers or fabric.
- Cartridge Collectors are compact filters that have a much greater surface area than bags, which increases the airflow, lowers resistance and reduces frequency of cleaning.
- rely on centrifugal force to remove dust from air.
- filter dust particles by spinning the air around in its tank. The motion pins the particles against the walls; they gradually move downward and eventually end up in the collection bin.
- are systems that vent from the top and pull fumes and dust up past the worker's face.
- or workstations have perforated tabletops and back walls and draw dust and fumes away from the worker's breathing zone.
- filter air and remove dust before releasing clean air back into the environment.
- is the process of filtering air and removing dust.
- Dust collection equipment encompasses a wide variety of devices and systems designed to minimize air particle contamination in commercial and industrial spaces.
- collect dust through ionization. As dust-filled gases move through the system's positively-charged, grounded electrodes called collection plates, discharge electrodes give the dust particles a negative charge, which causes the ionized dust particles to be attracted to and caught by the collection plates.
- , or baghouses, contain filters called fabric bags, which efficiently trap fine particles of dust, while allowing gases to move through the collector.
- Industrial dust collectors minimize the presence of various pollutants in order to maintain a high standard of clean air in workshops, plants and manufacturing facilities.
- separate dust particles from gas by changing the direction of gas streams as the streams flow through the collector.
- use a jet-based cleaning cycle.
- can be moved from place to place.
- use compressed air to force a burst of air down through the fabric bag and expand it violently. When the bag reaches its limit, the dust separates from the bag, and the escaping air carries the dust away from the fabric surface.
- Settling chambers slow the movement of dusty air to allow for the heavier particles to settle out.
- collect the product in filter bags as the silo is being filled with material. The bags are then shaken to return the valuable product to the silo.
- Small Dust Collectors solve air pollution problems when limited space for filtration is available.
- are small dust collecting systems that contain a fan and either a fabric collector or a cyclone.
- pull a continuous stream of air from the environment, removing airborne dust particles.
- Wet dust collectors soak dust-filled gas streams with water and separate the wet dust particles through varying degrees of pressure drops.
Dust Collector Terms
- The amount of process gas or air entering the fabric collector (baghouse) divided by the square feet of cloth in the fabric collector.
- Form of pneumoconiosis caused by the inhalation of asbestos minerals into the lung, resulting in lung scarring, breathing problems and various forms of cancer.
- Also called "leakthrough," it is the ability of particles of dust or fumes to migrate through the fabric bag.
- Also referred to as "filter cake," it is the dust buildup occurring on the surface of the filter medium during filtration that often aids in the filtration process.
- International professional designation available through training and testing by the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE).
- Family of chemicals used as refrigerants, being tightly regulated and phased out of production due to stratospheric ozone depletion potential. Examples: R-11, R-12, R-113, R-114, R-115.
- The act of dipping the filter medium into a solution in order to lubricate the fibers to reduce self-abrasion.
- Electrodes in an electrostatic precipitator that attract and collect negatively charged particles of dust.
- The amount of dust that the gas or air contains. Concentration is expressed in grains per cubic foot or pounds per hour.
- Electrodes in an electrostatic precipitator that negatively charge dust particles.
- Conductors or parts of a semiconductor that create an electrical connection with nonmetals or control the movement of electrons.
- Filter in a fabric collector consisting of woven or felt material such as cotton.
- Toxic particles that penetrate the lungs, causing lung dysfunction and scar tissue formation.
- The porous barrier used in the filtration process to separate the particles from the fluid stream.
- The fabric collector equipment from inlet flange to outlet flange.
- Cloth wear in a fabric bag caused by excessive bending.
- A hood-shaped inlet designed to collect contaminated air and direct it into the exhaust dust system of a baghouse.
- In dust collecting systems, the area in which the collected dust is stored.
- Also called "nuisance dust," it consists of particles of which quartz and other silicates compose less than one percent.
- Medium- to large-sized dust particles that do not reach the lower respiratory tract but remain in the upper respiratory system, nose and throat.
- A device that sucks up fine particles from fluids like oils and even dry smoke using a three-phase motor. The inner drum rotates and draws the mist particles to the center of the drum where they are forced together and eventually pass through perforations in the drum and back into the machine's coolant tank, while clean air blows past the motor and back into the outside environment.
- Centrifugal separators containing several parallel cyclones that separate dust particles according to texture.
- Common high-voltage electrostatic precipitator consisting of flat collection plates along which discharge electrodes lie.
- Respiratory ailment caused by excessive inhalation of metallic or mineral dust matter. Pneumoconiosis also includes diseases such as silicosis and asbestosis.
- Part of electrostatic precipitator that transfers dust from the collection plates to the hopper.
- Small dust particles inhaled into the lower regions of the lungs that are responsible for different types of pneumoconiosis.
- Incurable, potentially deadly type of pneumoconiosis caused by the inhalation of silica dust particles, resulting in lung diseases such as emphysema. Silicosis progresses even after contact with silicates has ceased.
- More or less consistent wear on the dirty side of the fabric bag cloth.
- Consists of all dust particles, whether respirable or inhalable.
- High-voltage electrostatic precipitators consisting of cylindrical collection plates that rotate around the discharge electrodes.
- Part of an electrostatic precipitator that transfers dust from the collection plates to the hopper.