3 Tips to Eliminate Unplanned Downtime Due to Your Industrial Dust Collector

Posted by Justin Dechene on May 23, 2017 10:30:00 AM

The Huge Cost of Unplanned Downtime

Recent survey of auto industry manufacturing executives shows stopped production costs an average $22,000 per minute. A similar study found that of the facilities that can calculate the cost of downtime, most under estimate it by 300% on average! With this in mind, consider that when an industrial dust collector goes down, it almost always takes its associated system(s) down with it. In fact, in many facilities dust collectors used for pollution control must operate at all times. Any malfunction results in a mandatory shutdown of the entire process and even the facility. With downtime costs running into the tens of thousands per minute in many cases, we can see that these costs far outweigh the average costs to maintain the dust collector properly.

When the cost of downtime / hour or shift is measured in the thousands, properly maintaining an industrial dust collector isn't expensive.

Even so, many facilities devote few if any resources to preventative maintenance for their dust collectors despite the crucial role they play. Here are just 3 tips that can help prevent downtime caused by dust collectors in your industrial facility. 

Prevent Abrasion From Damaging Your Bags Example of Filter Bag With Holes

Abrasion occurs when the incoming dust impacts the bags at a high volume or high speed. It can also occur due to physical contact between the filters and other parts of the unit - such as the filters banging against each other, the filter cage rubbing against the filter, etc. Abrasion is the primary cause of early bag wear and thus leaks which require a shutdown to find and replace. 

Abrasion from incoming dust can be avoided through the use of baffle plates, which distribute the incoming air more evenly and slow it down causing the majority of the dust particles to fall out before reaching the filters. Additionally, proper inlet design prevents the air from directly impacting the bags upon entry. Finally, in some cases, the use of pleated filter technology can raise filters up and out of the path of the incoming dust laden air dust proving a larger drop out zone to allow for the air to slow and larger particles to drop out. 

Change Entire Set of Bags and Avoid Endless Spot Changing

A very common, but shortsighted mistake is to try to avoid replacing entire sets of filters and instead only replace individual filters as they spring leaks. Rather than save money, this creates substantial amounts of downtime, as well as raises overall particulate emissions. If the leaks aren't caught early enough, this can lead to a situation where maintenance personnel are constantly “putting out fires” rather than seeing good operation from their systems. 

Sometimes new filters can even fail faster. This is because when a new filter goes in the midst of a group of older, dirtier, more seasoned filters, the lower resistance causes more air to rush through it and the surrounding filters. Thus these filters will in turn fail even earlier than all the other filters in the unit. 

A good rule is that when you have spot changed more than 5% - 10% of the total bags in a unit, you need to replace the entire set. This prevents the cascade of early bag failures that come from continually spot changing filters. 

Use Triboelectric Monitoring 


The use of triboelectric monitoring for your industrial dust collector is one of the best methods to prevent downtime. Tribo monitoring can help detect and prevent downtime due to both early bag failure and end of useful service life bag failure. With a properly installed triboelectric monitor, operators can receive alerts that actually predict a leak - even before it occurs. This advanced warning means that impending failures can be found early enough that they can be addressed at the next available maintenance outage. Additionally, catching the leaks sooner means that it is less likely for the leak to spread to other nearby filters and less remediation work to bring the unit back up. Finally, when a leak does occur technicians can save time searching for the filter with the tribo system’s ability to pinpoint the leaking filter down to a particular unit, compartment, even row of bags. 


These are just 3 basic tips that can help prevent downtime on your dust collector. To learn more about how the TRIBO.dsp Series from Auburn Systems can help prevent downtime.  Click here for more information or contact us today!

Intrigued by the possibility of predictive monitoring of your industrial dust collector? Our on demand webinar lays it out in detail. Watch it here.

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Image of damaged baghouse filter courtesy of Baghouse.com

Topics: Baghouse Maintenance, Dust Collection