4 Signs You Need a Filter Replacement (How a Bag Leak Detector Helps)

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

Photo_02-11-13_16-17-48_(Daniel_Eller)_(5)Managing an industrial dust collection system is an integral part of many engineering applications; one that helps engineers meet strict air permit compliance needs and mitigate environmental and EH&S exposures.

Traditionally, managing a dust collection system involved monitoring to determine when a failure occurred.  And then a host of reporting, shutdown, clean-up and mitigation tasks began. Fortunately, triboelectric tools exist that can help users catch and predict bag tears and failure risks before incidents occur; when it comes to proper filter replacement procedures, a proactive approach is key.

1.) Unreliable, Traditional Baghouse Monitoring

Industrial dust collection systems are fundamental components in a great array of applications, from the food industry to cement and steel manufacturing. These systems help engineers comply with relevant air permit and regulatory requirements. However, these collection systems (often bag houses) are imperfect as standalone systems; with no way to measure filter performance, maintenance must routinely replace bags based on a spec and calendar, or run the risk of their systems failing altogether.

If you have bare dust collection systems installed in your facility without the proper monitoring system, there is no accurate way of telling when your filters need replacing. Thus, for the sake of compliance, you’re forced to change out filters more often than necessary, which can lead to huge expenditures over time – an “insurance” investment of sorts that companies make to preclude the even more expensive reportable events that they fear.

In dust collection systems without sophisticated predictive monitoring technology, there will often be zero warning of a filter failure – whether before or after the manufacturers recommended replacement cycle. Degrading performance will go unnoticed, and when the signs of baghouse failure finally do arise, it’s often too late to prevent failure – instead crisis response is required which disrupts operations. Without appropriate monitoring devices, there are few ways to catch filter fabric tears or progressive damages at practical response times.

2.) Bag Lifespans Have Been Ignored

Without industrial dust collection monitoring tools, the only guides for gauging your filter bag lifespans are the pre-established specs provided by manufacturers. However, these specs are imperfect. Manufacturers balance an attractive spec against their exposure.  Companies are hesitant to gamble and therefore often preemptively replace baghouse filters prematurely; it’s an expensive and unrealistic burden.

That said, ignoring the lifespan specs of manufacturers can place your dust collection system at higher risk of failure – and an indefensible position in case of a reportable event. Absent bag leak detector predictive monitoring there’s no way to ascertain when a baghouse performance is deteriorating..

Because of this, engineers are generally presented with three choices:

  • Comply with manufacturers’ suggested replacement specs,
  • Run the risk of failure by ignoring recommended lifespans,
  • Or install technology that measures filter performance, to indicate bag replacement requirements

3.) Monitoring Systems Indicate a Risk

The most efficient and practical means of determining filter failure risk, and thus estimating proper replacement times, is through the use of bag leak detector technologies. These systems use triboelectic principles to assess baghouse risks before tear or failure incidents typically occur.

These predictive capabilities  allow engineers to replace their dust collection filters at optimal intervals – like when performance degrades.  This is clearly a capability far beyond  traditional monitoring techniques (such as optical detection, or differential pressure monitoring which typically only catches failures after the fact).

These systems provide the best signs of a filter bag failure. Facilities with early warning leak detection systems can avoid major, costly system shutdowns and operational disasters. They’re the most practical monitoring option available, providing not only compliance but also operational value, and help users maximize their filter bags’ lifespans.

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4.) There is No Reporting System In Place

The most telling sign you may need a filter replacement, however, is the lack of a triboelectric bag leak detection system altogether; particularly if baghouse filters are left unmonitored beyond factory spec dates. Often air permit requirements merely require use of a baghouse and don’t stipulate monitoring.  In this situation one can simply guess about bag effectiveness and remaining lifespan. They could last another six months, or fail within one week… without a proper reporting system, the risk of incidents occurring is severe. After all, even if your air permit doesn’t require monitoring, it still demands reporting (and involves consequences) of dust events.  And we’ve all heard stories of neighborhood reporting even before incidents are recognized internally!

Perhaps the single greatest benefit these systems bring is their prevention capabilities. When installed, these reporting systems can detect potential events before they ever occur,.  This predictive edge arms maintenance, operations, and engineers with a huge advantage in meeting compliance and performance standards.

Without an efficient dust filter monitoring system in place, there is no reliable estimation of how long filters will last, or how at-risk a baghouse is to costly failures. Instruments and software tools for bag leak detection ensure that engineers replace their baghouse filters when most appropriate, and keep their dust collection systems at peak performance.

With proper bag leak detection technologies, engineers can stop major bag leaks before they occur, and get the full benefits of failure prevention; these include:

  • Significantly lowered replacement costs
  • Savings on cleanup and labor costs, as incidents occur infrequently
  • Full compliance with event response time
  • Optimized filter and bag lifespans; filters are no longer replaced prematurely
  • Mitigating the risk for equipment shutdowns
  • Eliminate damage to neighboring bags when a single bag fails

So whether because of incorrect assumptions about implementation cost, a misguided belief that not monitoring means not having to report, or simply being unaware of the capability, the single greatest mistake companies make with their dust collection systems is to eschew today’s bag leak detection technologies,.  These technologies can prevent filter failures and major shutdowns, and generate both short- and long-term savings. These tools make replacing your dust collection filters an exact, performance-based science, as opposed to the guessing game or scheduled rhythm of the past.

Contact us today for more information on how to keep your industrial dust collectors at top performance with triboelectric monitoring, or download our free ebook, “Tips for selecting the Best Bag Leak Detection System.

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