3 Common Failures of a Dust Collection Monitoring System

Posted by Earl Parker on Oct 14, 2014 6:00:00 AM

Dust collection monitoring systems help engineers meet strict compliance standards.Accurate dust collection monitoring systems can help keep your engineering applications and production running smoothly. But some systems are more accurate than others.  Many  systems use only part of the available triboelectric signal spectrum.  They cannot properly filter out background noise, and frequently alarm engineers of problem events after the fact. In other words, key data is often drowned out by “noise,” and potentially valuable predictive and preventative capabilities are missed – resulting in dust collection system malfunctions.

Fortunately, new innovations in triboelectric dust collection technology have enabled engineers and production professionals to minimize these shortcomings, and overcome traditional industrial dust collection challenges.

Missing Key Data

Reverse air baghouseIf you’ve ever worked with triboelectric dust collection monitoring, you’ve probably bumped into the big choice - alternating current (AC) versus direct current (DC).  But did you ever get a complete answer about why it matters?  Traditionally there are pros and cons – tradeoffs between the two. In dust collection monitoring systems operating with DC, industrial noise and background interference are common problems.  Proper signal filtering is the secret sauce that often distinguishes systems from one another, and minimizing interference is crucial to monitoring that works.

For dust collection systems engineered around AC, turbulence and velocity can interfere with reliable monitoring. And the significant amplifying and averaging which are required in collection systems with AC, results are typically much less sensitive during ongoing monitoring applications; they’re effective for alarming when an over limit condition occurs, but not as an ongoing dust collection monitoring solution to provide preventive and predictive information.

Furthermore, older generations of monitoring built on dated analog technology often manifest false signals and drifting. Regular maintenance requirements are commonplace; and the systems might only detect events (rather than indicate developing trouble) leaving engineers and maintenance to complete time consuming and expensive event assessment, clean-up and reporting - and lines may be shut down. 

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Restricted Signal Spectrum

Another weak point of common dust collection monitoring systems is the extremely limited signal spectrum they monitor. In collection monitoring systems running with AC, only 20% of the total signal spectrum is typically addressed; and as noted above this spectrum is further constrained by interference and low resolution. DC monitoring systems, conversely, cover about 80% of the total signal spectrum, granting them stronger signal reception strength, yet still yielding imperfect results by today’s standards.

For important dust collection monitoring applications, the wider the signal spectrum monitored, the more reliable, and even predictive, the readings can be. Sophisticated triboelectric monitors can detect and pinpoint collection bag leaks before a large-scale system failure can occur, and identify filter fatigue early on, so engineers and operators can know which baghouse section row must be inspected. As strong as DC monitoring is, however, many engineers and maintenance folks now from experience that a DC based monitor of industrial dust collector is still prone to technical limitations.

Alarms Set-Off Only After an Event

Traditionally, even the most accurate dust collection monitoring systems only triggered system alarms in the event of reportable event, and not before. Simply, these systems catch a problem after the fact, missing the opportunity for proactive steps to avoid the expense and hassle of a reportable event. This approach to “closing the barn door after the horse is gone” may satisfy compliance requirements, but doesn’t help companies prevent events. However, if a collection monitoring system were equipped with the right software and sensor detection, the potential for predictive maintenance would offer substantial business value.

When equipped with the ideal monitoring processes and technologies, these systems could use predictive maintenance to completely change how engineers and maintenance teams handle dust collector leaks. This includes:

  • Quick response within MACT compliance times
  • Lower filter bag replacement costs (reduced frequency)
  • Limiting the risk of extensive remediation
  • More effective maintenance scheduling
  • Significantly reduced cleanup cost times
  • Maximized bag life potential
  • Limit of compliance penalty costs
  • Particulate trend monitoring and predictive power 

Modern Innovations That Limit These Weaknesses

dust collection monitoring with triboelectric dual signal processingFortunately for engineers in any industry seeking for innovative solutions to these collection monitoring problems, new advancements in monitoring technology substantially eliminate these weaknesses.

One example is the merger of both AC systems and DC, through unified signal processing.  The combination delivers the most accurate, reliable and dependable results – leveraging the capabilities of each while offsetting the limitations.

These technologies perform crucial dust emissions monitoring duties preventively, limiting event severity, and cutting down on compliance reporting and maintenance. These monitoring systems also extend the life of your filter bags, as collection efficiency is continuously and accurately monitored, allowing you to change bags when required – not simply after x number of months.

Tired of fighting classic triboelectric monitoring demons?  Check out the capabilities of modern triboelectric monitoring systems, which not only predict and then pinpoint collection system leaks, but can also help you perform preventive maintenance to avoid reportable events entirely. Wondering what might be possible in your facility?  Download our free eBook “Tips for selecting the best Triboelectric dust monitoring system” or contact us today.

Topics: Dust Detection, Dust Collection