The manufacturing facility of the 21st century is not static. In order to stay competitive plants constantly need to innovate, adapt and optimize production. As such, many plants see regular changes to their operations. These changes, whether minor or major in scope can have a substantial impact on a plant’s dust collection system. Below we have outlined 3 common changes that may occur at a manufacturing facility and why these should give cause to concurrently analyze any connected dust collection systems.
Expansion of Production (New Production Lines, Increased Output, etc.)
The simplest change that requires an update to dust collection involves increasing production. This could be in the form of new production lines, higher throughput, etc. Amazingly, many plants simply ignore dust collection when making these changes and assume the existing systems (including collectors, fans, filters, ductwork and pickups) will support the new production without any problem. Any change in dust generated, or airflow required for proper ventilation or new equipment use requires a complete re-examination of the dust collection strategy in use. Most commonly, larger, more powerful fans with higher airflow and sometimes greater static pressure are required. Also, anytime airflow increases or dust loading increases additional filter area is required to prevent production bottlenecks or high emissions.
Change in Air Permit
While many plants manage to stay operating under essentially the same air permit for years, even decades, it is increasingly common for regulatory agencies to rescind these grandfather clauses and require plants to meet updated emissions standards. (Frequently the case in industries covered by MACT standards). In these cases, plants might find themselves suddenly having to replace outdated dust collection systems to meet new emission standards. This could mean replacing older shaker or reverse air units, switching to more efficient filter medias, or other installing modern emissions monitoring technologies, such as triboelectric systems.
Changes to Production Schedule
There are a variety of reasons for plants to decide to alter their shift schedules. This can include adding additional shifts to increase production, such as working on weekends or running 24/7 with little to no regularly programmed downtime. One possible problem that could arise is that the unit becomes overloaded. If designed properly, a dust collection strategy should be able to handle a continuous load without the need to shutdown to clean. However, undersizing of the unit, poor maintenance or other factors lead many to operate systems in a way that requires them to have off time to clean down the filters in between use. In such a case, decreasing the downtime between shifts could overload the unit.
The key here is not to make a long list of changes that could require a plant to re-examine its dust collection systems. Rather, the key is for plant decision makers to understand the importance dust collection plays in the successful and profitable manufacturing process. Rather than treating it as an unwelcome pest, they should learn to give it the importance it calls for and make it a priority when considering any plant changes.
Would you like help identifying how to make sure your dust collection system can handle changes in your production? Contact us today for a free consultation!