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This article takes an in-depth look at baghouses.
You will learn more about topics such as:
What is a Baghouse?
Types of Baghouses
Types of Baghouse Filters
Baghouse Hopper Discharge Methods
And much more…
Chapter One - What is a Baghouse?
A baghouse is a dust-collecting mechanism that uses tubes, envelopes, or cartridges to remove, capture, and separate dirt, particulate matter, and dust from the air of a manufacturing or processing facility. The main components of a baghouse are the media or bags used to filter particles from the air as it passes through the system.
As the air in a baghouse is filtered, the collected matter forms a solid layer on the sides of the filtering material. This is commonly referred to as a dust cake, and it continues to grow until its thickness and size restrict airflow, requiring the bag filters to be cleaned. The three cleaning methods for baghouses are reverse air, shaker, and pulse jet.
Chapter Two - Types of Baghouses
The types of baghouses are classified by their cleaning process. The shaker, reverse air, and pulse jet cleaning methods are also referred to as gas, compressed air, and mechanical cleaning. These three forms of filtration each have advantages.
A filter bag system uses filter bags to remove contaminants and can be easily modified. Filter bags are very durable but are not suitable for wet or moist filtration. Cartridge collectors are used for fine materials, while cyclone collectors are capable of operating at extreme temperatures.
A shaker baghouse uses a mechanical process to clean dust cakes out of the filtration system. The bags hang from the top of the unit and are fastened to a tube sheet at the bottom of the enclosure. Unfiltered air enters from the bottom and is pulled up through the system into the filters. The cleaned air exits at the top, while the collected contaminants remain in the filter bags.
The cleaning process begins when the airflow is stopped. Mechanical shaking is similar to shaking the dirt out of a rug. The hangers at the top of the enclosure shake the filter bags, and the caked dust and dirt fall out through the bottom.
Shaker baghouse cleaning is the simplest cleaning process but is not the most efficient. The hanging bags have to be checked frequently and require a great deal of maintenance and upkeep.
Reverse Air Baghouse (R/A)
In a reverse air baghouse, the bags are attached to a cell plate at the bottom of the enclosure and hung from a frame at the top for support so the air pressure will not collapse them. As the air is pulled in, dust and dirt collect outside the filter bags. A fan or a medium-pressure blower on a rotating arm directs air into the bags at low pressure to remove dust.
The two types of reverse air baghouses are 1) round and 2) rectangular with multi-compartments. The round version has a fan or medium-pressure blower at the top and can be cleaned during operation. The rectangular version is divided into compartments that are shut down one at a time during cleaning.
To clean a rectangular reverse air baghouse, a compartment is pressurized by a reverse fan, which causes the filter bags to collapse slightly. The bags are kept from pancaking by rings sewn into them.
Pulse Jet Baghouse
The pulse jet baghouse design follows the same parameters as the reverse air and shaker types, with bags hanging from a tube at the top of the enclosure. As with the reverse air filters, dust, dirt, particulates, and contaminants collect on the outside of the bag filter and are removed by bursts of compressed high-pressure air moving along the bag's length. The airstream is pushed in below the bag filters and is pulled up through the filtering system.
The dirt removal process for a pulse jet baghouse is quick and efficient, using Venturis or air nozzles to increase the airflow for the cleaning cycle. The bag filters are cleaned without having to be taken offline. A solid-state timer controls the pulses of the compressor that sends pulses of air down the length of the bag, causing a rippling effect that dislodges the dirt from the filter.
Cyclone Dust Collector
A cyclone dust collector is a preprocessing unit in the dust collecting process where dust particles that are heavy or coarse are removed before entering the baghouse. Dirty air enters the cyclone and is quickly spun, forcing the heavy particulate matter to the sides of the unit. As the large particles strike the sides of the cyclone, they fall into a collection or discharge container located below the cyclone. Cyclone dust collectors are designed to remove large particles before the airstream can pass through a fine filtration process.
Variable Frequency Drive (VFD)
As the filters of a baghouse collector age, the damper opens and reduces the amount of damper pressure as the filter pressure increases. Adjusting this damper allows for constant flow during the filter’s life. However, opening the damper is a labor-intensive process prone to errors and wasted energy.
Variable frequency drives are electrical devices that manipulate characteristics of power provided to an electrical device. They are commonly used with motors and modify a motor as there is a change in frequency. Adjusting frequency is a method for improving how a motor runs. Regardless of their wide use with motors, VFDs can also be beneficial to dust collectors.
Damper control is a critical part of baghouse collector operations. Proper and timely adjustments to the damper can enhance the efficiency and performance of a baghouse collector. As the filters on the dust collector plug, the velocity of the entering air drops. A VFD can sense the decrease using a pressure transducer and automatically increase the fan’s speed to keep the system functioning efficiently.
A VFD significantly reduces energy costs and eliminates the need for the oversight of labor. In addition, VFDs ensure that a baghouse collector is working at optimum levels and helps avoid premature failures.
The right baghouse filter can maximize the performance of the filtering system, increase filter life, and reduce downtime. Choosing the correct baghouse filter is critical since there are so many fabrics and treatment types available. The many types of filter bags are adaptable to fit the needs of any system and are exceptionally durable.
The various types of baghouse filters are made from woven or nonwoven fabrics, with nonwoven fabrics divided into felted or membrane. All bags are completely or partially woven since nonwoven bags have a woven base.
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) Filters
HEPA filters are the most efficient type of filter, capable of removing the most minute particles down to 0.03 microns (µ). They are an essential type of filter for use with highly contaminant dust such as hexavalent chromium from stainless steel production. HEPA filters are used when dust collector efficiency has to be at 99.97%.
Woven filters have a repeating pattern and are used for shaker and reverse air baghouses. The tight weave and small gaps between the fibers determine the size of the particles the filter can process. In addition, some woven filters have a polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) membrane to prevent dust particulates from getting caught in the filter's fibers.
Nonwoven fabrics are bonded together by a chemical or mechanical process and may have a woven backing known as a scrim. The nonwoven part of a filter can be felted or have some form of a membrane. Nonwoven filters are used with specific baghouses, with pulse jet being the most common.
Nonwoven filters are designed to remove extremely fine dust, aerosols, and contaminants in many industrial applications.
Felted filter fabric comprises randomly arranged fibers punched into a scrim fabric. The construction of a felted filter forces the particulate matter to stick to the surface of the filter and form a dust cake. The irregular nature of felt fabrics allows them to capture any type of matter that attempts to pass through them.
Unlike a woven filter, the fibers are inconsistently placed, with each fiber acting as a target to capture particulate matter by impact and interception. In addition, felted filters are two to three times thicker than woven ones.
The original fibers for baghouse filters were natural fibers such as wool or cotton, which are inexpensive but have temperature limitations. Both fabrics are still used for low-temperature applications. Wool is the better of the two since it can withstand moist or humid applications and can be shaped into thick felt filters.
Most modern baghouse filters use some form of synthetic fibers, which can operate at extreme temperatures and are resistant to chemicals. Fiberglass is the most used due to its ability to withstand extreme temperatures.
Polyester Filters Polyester felt is resistant to chemicals, abrasion, and dry heat. Filters made of polyester are the first choice for dry heat applications as they are superior to all synthetics. Polyester filters can handle temperatures up to 275 °F (135 °C). With an oleophobic treatment, they can endure the effects of moisture and oils.
Polypropylene Filters – Polypropylene is used in applications that involve chemicals and moisture. It is resistant to most acids and alkalis. Polypropylene has a smooth surface that offers good cake release, resistance to blinding, and zero moisture absorption capabilities.
Nylon Filters – Nylon is used for abrasive conditions and applications and has good resistance to the effects of alkalis. However, it will break down in the presence of mineral oxides and high temperatures.
Fiberglass Filters – Fiberglass has excellent resistance to most acids except hydrofluoric acid. It cannot be used in applications where chlorides, bromides, or cyanides are present. Furthermore, fiberglass requires extra support when used in tubular bag form.
Teflon® Filters – Teflon® is ideal for chemical environments with high temperatures. It has excellent chemical and abrasion resistance. Of the available filter fabrics, Teflon® is the most expensive and is only used when all other fabrics fail. It comes in woven and felt finishes.
PTFE Tetratex® Filters – PTFE Tetratex® is a membrane material that is exceptionally resistant to acids and alkalis. It is applicable in environments at 275 °F (135 °C) and comes in sizes and dimensions to fit any type of baghouse.
Pleated Bag Filters
A pleated bag filter looks like a cartridge filter and is made from spunbond polyester or PTFE membranes with a nanofiber layer for greater efficiency. They are a built-in type of filter that, when installed, replaces the filter and its supporting cage. In addition to looking like a cartridge filter, pleated bag filters perform like a cartridge filter. Due to their pleated design, they can handle more media than felt bag filters.
The major benefit of pleated baghouse filters is a significant increase in the filtering surface; this allows for a lower air-to-cloth ratio. Deep pockets of woven fabric provide greater space for dust retention. Since pleated filters are shorter than average, they are above the inlet stream, a design that reduces possible abrasion from the incoming dust.
The majority of baghouses can be refitted to accept pleated filters without extensive redesigning or restructuring. Pleated filters can easily be mounted on cell plates, and they have an exceptional efficiency rating.
Filter Fabric Treatments
For the best possible performance of a baghouse filter, it is normally treated to improve its stability, durability, strength, and endurance. Certain types of treatments improve a filter's cake-release properties. Natural fabrics require pretreatment, such as being preshrunk to eliminate shrinkage.
Calendering – Calendering is a high-pressure treatment used to press fabrics with rollers to flatten and smooth them. The process of calendering increases the surface life of the filter, gives the fabric more stability, and creates a uniform bag surface.
Napping – Napping is a scraping process that raises the surface fibers using pointed metal or burrs on a cylinder. This process increases the fiber’s ability to collect particulate matter.
Singeing – Singeing is passing the material over a flame to burn off flimsy or disconnected fibers from the surface to make the surface more uniform.
Glazing – Glazing heats the fabric near the melting point to fuse and flatten the fibers. The process leaves a sheen on the material and reduces any possible shrinkage.
Coating – Coating is applying a substance to the surface of the filter to add protection and durability. The types of coatings include polyvinyl, cellulose acetate, and urea-phenol, to name a few. The coating enhances the filter's resistance to temperature changes and moisture and increases chemical resistance.
New filter bags are often porous, so exceptionally small particles can still filter through them. To avoid this, installed filters have powdered precoating applied to prevent blinding and clogging.
Fire Retarding – Fire retardant is not a fireproofing medium, but it is sprayed on filter material to protect against sparking. This surface treatment reduces the probability of sparks igniting the filter material.
Baghouse filter cages offer support for a baghouse filter bag. They are made of vertical wires in groups of ten, twelve, or more. Though a wide variety of materials are used to make baghouse filter cages, steel and stainless steel are the most common. For top load units, the cage may have a rolled flange or venturi top, while split collars are used for bottom loads.
Venturi tube cages guide the airflow from the blowing tube to the filter to prevent airflow deflection. They promote the full mixing of ejected air with secondary air. Venturi cages are made of aluminum and carbon or galvanized or stainless steel.
Chapter Four - Baghouse Hopper Discharge Methods
The efficiency of a baghouse dust collector is determined by the air it exhausts into the atmosphere. Baghouses are exceptionally efficient at cleaning dirty air and releasing clean, filtered air. Part of the process is collecting dirt, dust, particles, and other materials produced from manufacturing operations.
The final step in air filtration is to safely, efficiently, and ecologically dispose of the collected pollutants. This has to be completed in the most economical way so none of the collected material is released into the air.
The part of the baghouse that collects the pollutants is called a hopper, which comes in a variety of forms. Failure to empty and clean the hopper will directly and irrevocably affect the operation of the baghouse system.
All recovery hoppers are located underneath the baghouse filter system since the material leaves the baghouse enclosure via gravity and falls into the hopper or collector. A rotary airlock can be located beneath the hopper, allowing for free flow or a slide gate that releases the material to a 55-gallon drum, screw conveyor, dump hopper, or pneumatic conveying system.
Drum or Covered Box
The covered box container has small vents with filters attached to prevent back pressure. It is a very simple system that requires constant monitoring and maintenance. The covered box method is ideal for light dust loads of nonhazardous materials.
Like the box collector method, bag collection collects the dust in a bag. Once a bag is filled, it is removed by hand or mechanical device, and a new bag is attached. This method is an easy way to handle non-toxic dust. However, the bag has to be closely monitored and regularly replaced.
Screw Conveying System
A screw-conveying system removes the need for constant monitoring of the discharge unit. The filtered material falls directly into the screw conveyor that removes it and sends it to a collection hopper. It is an ideal method for heavy dust loads and the disposal of hazardous materials. A screw-conveying system is more expensive than other methods and requires regular maintenance.
Pneumatic Conveying System
A dense phase pneumatic conveying system is connected to the baghouse discharge hopper, and it removes the collected material through a series of pneumatic pressurized pipes. These pipes are installed beneath rotary valves that collect the dust from the hopper. Pressure is supplied by a blower that transports the dust to a silo at the end of the pipeline.
If a system has several baghouses, each baghouse can be connected to the system. Pneumatic systems can operate using pressurized air or vacuum air.
Chapter Five - Materials Filtered by Baghouses
Baghouse systems are the main method of filtration for a wide variety of dust-producing industries that are required to meet air quality standards. As concern grows regarding the number of pollutants in the air, various filtering methods have become an essential part of industries such as grain production, feed production, and silica manufacturing.
Though the process of filtering dust is somewhat similar from industry to industry, baghouses are designed to meet the specific requirements of the dust material that each industry produces. Adjustments to enclosures, filters, discharging units, and other factors are made to ensure the most success for the baghouse system.
Baghouse units are used as a part of the operation of an asphalt mixing plant. The design for asphalt mixing filtration includes several filtration bags in an enclosed chamber. The air from the mixing plant is fed into the baghouse system and passes through the filtering bags. Filter fabrics are woven or felted.
The initial filtering process begins with a cyclone separator that traps and separates the heavier dust. The lighter dust is then pushed to the baghouse system. The filtering system for an asphalt plant must be capable of withstanding extreme temperatures and corrosive gasses.
Grain production requires dust filtration at several points of production, such as milling operations, sifting, grain elevators, and bag filling. At every step of the process, dust and debris are being produced that must be controlled to meet the requirements for the safety of the environment and workers.
As the demand to produce and process grain increases, each aspect of the operation is working faster and producing more air-polluting materials. With the ever-increasing demands on dust control and emissions, more technologically advanced dust control systems are needed, including the use of multiple baghouse systems.
Cement production is an industry with strict standards regarding the particulate matter it is allowed to release into the air. This industry extensively uses pulse jet baghouses. An assortment of waste gasses with high concentrations of dust must be contained and controlled during the cement production process.
In the cement industry, baghouse systems serve two purposes, the first of which is the filtering of gasses and dust. Their second function is the recovery of cement materials that have been released in the cement production process.
In addition to the cement production line, stone crushing, grinding operations, and fly ash processing are aspects of the process that require air filtration.
The chemical industry has the highest and most challenging demands for baghouse operations. Chemical productivity depends on highly reliable and durable equipment to meet the harsh and stressful conditions of the industry. Filtering equipment must withstand exposure to aggressive environments, high temperatures, and high humidity.
Dust loading in the chemical industry is fast, continuous, and requires frequent cleaning cycles to ensure smooth operation. A baghouse system must be able to capture and separate all of the chemical compounds from chemical products.
Filtering silica dust is difficult due to its abrasive nature. Therefore, baghouse filters have to be abrasion-resistant and able to withstand the rapid flow rate and high quantities of dust.
Sand and gravel are extracted from pits using earth-moving equipment. The collected material is then taken to a processing plant, where it is crushed, screened, and sorted by size. Specially designed pulse baghouses collect and remove particulate matter from a huge volume of dust, debris, and assorted fragments produced by this process.
The below industries and manufacturing methods all rely on baghouses.
Chapter Six - Baghouse Regulations
Baghouses fall under the auspices of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) due to the impact of improperly performing baghouses on environments and workers and the possibility of combustible dust. Each year, the EPA has been steadily revising its standards to make them more stringent and increase protection for the public.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
The main concern of the EPA regarding baghouses is the production of particulate matter and its possible release into the environment. Particulate matter (PM) is microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are small enough to be inhaled and cause serious health problems. The size of the dangerous PMs is measured in micrometers, and they are not visible to the naked eye.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
The NFPA develops standards for the prevention of fires and dust explosions.
NFPA Standard 654 stipulates the proper handling and conveying of dusts, vapors, gasses, and combustible dust.
NFPA Standard 68 contains requirements for baghouses to have explosion relief vents.
NFPA Standard 664 prevents fires and explosions in wood processing and woodworking facilities.
Occupational Safety and Health Association (OSHA)
The focus of OSHA is on the health and safety of workers. The organization has developed several standards regarding baghouses. A few of OSHA's concerns include:
Installation of dust collection equipment with hoods, fans, and other devices.
In support of NFPA-68, baghouses are required to have explosion relief venting.
Isolation devices are required to keep deflagration confined to the baghouse.
If an indoor baghouse cannot be fitted with an explosion vent, it must be moved outdoors.
Baghouse Inspections and Maintenance
A baghouse is like any form of industrial equipment and requires scheduled inspection and maintenance in order to function properly. During the inspection of a baghouse, three key problems that have to be examined: high opacity, differential pressure, and short bag life.
High Opacity – The warning signs for high opacity are mechanical leaks in tube sheets and unsealed dampers. Bags with holes and dust on the clean side of the bag are another indication, which can be prevented with regular dye testing.
High Differential Pressure – High differential pressure is indicated by blinded filter bags that need additional fan power. Differential pressure provides insight into the condition of a baghouse. If not properly monitored, dirt can build up in the airlines, which starts with dust gathering at the taps. Airlines should be cleaned on a monthly or weekly schedule.
Short Bag Life – Short bag life is indicated by opacity spikes, dust on the clean side of the baghouse, and excessive power required from the fan. Dye leak testing helps to identify problems with damaged bags and should be part of a weekly or monthly maintenance schedule.
Leaking Diaphragms – Leaking diaphragms waste huge amounts of air and decrease the efficiency of the cleaning pulse, leading to poor bag cleaning. Poorly cleaned bags create a higher differential pressure, which increases operating costs. Cleaning the diaphragm valves is simple and inexpensive, enhancing the system’s performance.
To avoid poor performance from a baghouse, manufacturers recommend the establishment of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly inspection and maintenance schedules.
A baghouse dust collection system is highly susceptible to dust explosions, which require explosion prevention systems designed to control and suppress dust ignitions. When explosions happen, the pressure inside a baghouse dust collector rapidly rises and activates various fire suppression and control methods.
Explosion panels or vents are designed to rupture when the pressure in a dust collector rises above a set pressure level. The rate at which the pressure rises depends on how rapidly the dust ignites and the pressure increases. When the pressure reaches the set limit, the explosion panel ruptures and vents the ignited materials.
Flameless venting has a flame arrestor element, vent panels, and a flanged housing, which is a combination of explosion venting and flame arresting. In certain designs, the flame arrestor is installed over the vent panel such that when the vent ruptures, the burning dust flames enter the flame arrestor.
Explosion latches work like explosion panels but can be used multiple times. They use multiple doors that release when the set pressure is reached and reset when the latches open. As a result, they are a very effective explosion prevention and containment solution.
A no return valve is placed in the inlet duct, serving as a weighted dampener held open by air flowing into the dust collector. When a deflagration occurs, the increased pressure closes the no return valve, preventing the explosion from reaching other equipment upstream of the dust collector.
A more technological method for detecting fires and explosions is the use of spark detection sensors that detect sparks in burning material. At the point of detection, they activate an extinguishing assembly, releasing water to eliminate the fire hazard.
It is essential to determine potential fire hazards based on the combustibility of the materials to be filtered when installing a baghouse dust collector. OSHA and insurance companies also require that some form of fire and explosion system be part of the installation.
A baghouse is a pollution control device that uses tubes, envelopes, or cartridges to remove, capture, and separate dirt, particulate matter, and dust from the air of a manufacturing or processing facility.
As the air is filtered, the collected matter forms a solid layer on the sides of the filtering material, commonly called a dust cake. It continues to grow until its thickness and size restrict airflow. This requires the bags to be cleaned.
Baghouses are classified by how they are cleaned.
The right baghouse filter can maximize the performance of the filtering system, increase filter life, and reduce downtime.
The efficiency of a baghouse depends on the method used to dispose of the collected dust and particulate matter.
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