10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Choosing Dust Monitoring Equipment

Posted by Earl Parker on Nov 7, 2014 6:00:00 AM

The best dust monitors not only meet compliance needs, but also improve labor and maintenance processes throughout your facility.

If you’re a veteran of dust collection you know that far more goes into system selection, installation and maintenance than others may assume.  But if you just recently picked up responsibility for bag house operations you’re probably eager to learn as much as you can about the tools and considerations.  Welcome!

So let’s jump in. While you may think of choosing monitoring equipment as a simple compliance decision, finding the right system can actually benefit many other areas of your operations, such as maintenance labor and material costs.

These other implications actually bump choosing the right dust monitoring equipment up to a more meaningful business decision than a simple emissions compliance need. When choosing a monitoring technology, there’s more at stake than air quality compliance… there’s the huge potential financial upside of cost reduction and maintenance efficiency just as there are the potential costs and consequences of a reportable event.

Knowing the right questions is an important step toward finding the perfect dust monitoring system for your facility. In this blog, we’ll outline 10 important things to ask yourself and potential suppliers when choosing new triboelectric systems.

1.) What’s Missing from My Current System?

Before you can choose the right dust monitoring system for your applications, you’ll need to identify the weaknesses of your current monitoring/compliance system. If you don’t know what could possibly be better than that with which you’re accustomed, how can you improve?

Things to consider when evaluating your existing system include problem areas such as:

  • The scope of the triboelectric spectrum analyzed by existing equipment
  • The sensitivity and accuracy of your equipment
  • Past reporting failures or result inconsistencies
  • How well your system works with other facility equipment
  • Signal filtering effectiveness
  • Reporting challenges

2.) What Makes New Equipment Better For My Needs?

In addition to understanding the weak points of your older monitoring systems (or even the implications of visual monitoring and other alternatives, it’s beneficial to know exactly what makes current generations of equipment beneficial; what exactly is so special about newer triboelectric dust collection monitoring systems?

Modern monitoring systems simplify emissions compliance with predictive capability and integrated logging/reporting in one centralized unit.

3.) How Do I Find the System Ideal For My Facility?

Finding the perfect monitoring system for your unique applications and facility is simultaneously much simpler and more complicated than you probably expect.  Today’s monitoring systems are far more flexible and reliable than early generations. They can perform at peak performance under virtually any circumstances, and in any industrial environment.

However, “the devil is in the details” as the saying goes, and decisions such as what output signals you will use, and how you’ll use them will impact the decision.  It’s more than just sticking a probe in a duct and connecting a wire! To find the best system for your needs, treat the buying decision as a business decision, one with clear implications that is more than just a compliance requirement.

4.) What Are the Implications of A Good or Bad Choice?

But what are those implications? You should weigh the decision to buy a new triboelectric detection system carefully, as the positive or negative repercussions of this choice will be felt throughout your operation.

Where a bad choice will only complicate the day-to-day maintenance needs in your facility, and wind up costing you precious labor hours, a good choice will actually eliminate a large portion of compliance maintenance needs, and end up saving both maintenance and response/remediation costs in the short and long haul.

5.) What Principles Drive the Best Monitoring Systems?

Today’s most effective bag leak detection systems (BLDS) monitor both AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current) electrostatic spectrums, scanning for trends in particulate flow. This spectrum unification is a huge improvement over earlier systems which were only capable of detecting portions of this spectrum.

Today’s most efficient monitoring systems detect particulate changes through a process of charge transfer, electric isolation and particle stream probing. This process delivers consistent, incredibly accurate particle emissions changes, including those as miniscule as 0.005 mg/m3 which expands the capability from simply alarming upon an out of range reading to monitoring trends for early warning and preemptive intervention.

6.) Beyond Compliance, What Can I Gain From New Equipment?

It’s well known that modern triboelectric monitors will improve your emissions control compliance, but considering the additional benefits of innovative monitoring systems is another helpful factor in compliance decision-making.

Advancements in BLDS technology allow engineers to replace baghouse units and perform maintenance tasks as needed, based on predictive bag failure or performance issue. This efficiency leads to thousands of dollars in savings every year, and allows facility managers to better allocate maintenance labor throughout an operation. To put things simply, the cost of an upgrade is deceptive – your legacy system is probably costing you already.

7.) How Do I Justify Purchasing A Monitoring System?

Often, the hardest part of upgrading or initially purchasing a dust monitoring system is justifying this decision to higher-ups in your company. You’ll encounter a “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” response, and convincing company decision-makers of the ROI and benefits of an upgrade will be part of your process.

For this reason, it’s helpful to have an extensive record of your dust event and routine compliance reports and air quality results on hand, which you can use to highlight areas of improvement. By identifying existing pain points in your company, you can move onto explaining how BLDS technology is the perfect solution for those areas.

8.) How Do These Systems Return On Their Investment Costs?

Also important to understand before choosing a dust monitoring system is how exactly these systems return on their investment costs, and with what speed. After all, when justifying this purchase to company decision-makers, you need to solid numbers rather than just vague speculation.

In addition to the costs in remediation which will be saved, bag replacement costs will likely be reduced.  It’s not unusual for a modern unified signal BLDS to generate thousands in savings on reduced frequency bag replacement every year, and typically return on their initial investment costs in only 6 to 7 months.

9.) How Do I Find the Best Supplier?

When deciding on a broken bag detector and compliance system, it’s also important to consider the supplier’s expertise as another factor. Ideally, your triboelectric detector supplier should be considered more of a business partner than equipment seller; make sure to find a triboelectric supplier with excellent support staff and services, in addition to the high quality detection tools you’re looking for. In some cases, finding the right detector is only part of the challenge of improving your facility’s compliance system.

10.) What Do I Do Next?

Don’t put this compliance decision aside, or hold it off indefinitely; acting now and upgrading your dust collection system translates into immediate, tangible results for your company. You’ve got many pressing priorities for sure, but  this is a place you can “move the needle!”.

Want some more info?  Check out our free eBook below – our “Guide to Intelligent Monitoring.”

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Topics: Triboelectric Detection