4 Ways You Can Cut Your Dust Collector Maintenance Budget This Year

Posted by Earl Parker on Mar 2, 2017 10:30:00 AM

Doing More With Less

Its rare for baghouse maintenance budgets to see any kind of increase each year. Usually, maintenance planners, managers and technicians must do more with even less each year. With this in mind we've pulled together a list of steps your plant might explore to reduce dust collector maintenance costs. Most require a minimal capital investment but quickly provide returns in the form of less man hours, lower operating costs and increased reliability - in other words not just lower costs, but delivering big, measurable operational benefits. 


1. Install a Triboelectric Bag Leak Detection System

Upgrading your baghouse monitoring system is the easiest way to improve operation and reduce maintenance on your industrial dust collection system. We have written extensively about the benefits of using triboelectric bag leak detectors for facilities, specifically improved reliability, more efficient dust collector maintenance and improved compliance among others. 

Tribo bag leak detectors help baghouse maintenance technicians by detecting leaking filters at the very beginning of any leak. This means they can be found faster, before they cause the system to exceed its emissions limits. It also helps prevent damage to surrounding filters since the leak is not allowed to grow to a significant size. And it can cut down on remediation efforts required after a leak to 1/8th of what was required when using an opacity based leak detector! 

Tribo bag leak detectors further help cut costs by providing clear data on baghouse operations that other methods cannot. This helps maintenance planners predict when filters will eventually fail and thus allows for predictive maintenance planning, reducing unexpected shutdowns, lost production and emergency change outs when filters fail unexpectedly. 

2. Empty Your Hopper

Any experienced dust collection OEM will tell you that one of the cardinal rules of dust collector operation is never store dust in your hopper. Despite what many so-called “experienced” plant operators may try to tell you, dust collector hoppers are only designed to store dust temporarily (just long enough for the discharge device to empty it). Failure to keep the hopper empty can cause a myriad of problems including abrasion on the bottoms of the filters (leading to early failure), dust re-entrainment and blockages in addition to forming a severe fire/explosion hazard. 

The best method for keeping hoppers emptied depends on the application. In low dust loading applications it might only require a daily PM task for someone to empty the hopper. On high dust loading applications it might require the use of a continuous discharge such as a rotary airlock and screw conveyor to carry the dust away. 

Poor_Bulkhead_Fitting_on_Pulse_Valves.jpg3. Switch to Clean on Demand Controls

One of the aspects of cleaning system optimization is to switch from timed or manual cleaning to on-demand cleaning system. An on-demand controller measures the differential pressure in the baghouse and only activates the pulsing system when the DP reaches a set HIGH point. Once activated, the system will pulse one row (sometimes two rows) at a time until the DP drops below the set LOW point. By only cleaning just as much as required to stay within a given operating range clean on demand cuts air consumption drastically over timer-based cleaning. Additionally, as the bags are pulsed less frequently, they suffer less wear and tear and therefore last longer and suffer fewer tears and rips. 

4. Update and Refresh Your Pulse Jet Cleaning System

Probably the highest return for the lowest investment comes from upgrading/updating/repairing the pulse jet system. Poorly functioning systems waste large amounts of (relatively expensive)  compressed air, experience increased emissions and poorer performance. Begin by making sure all the pulse valves are in good working condition including replacing any worn out diaphragms. Make sure the compressed air supply is free of dirt and moisture/oil, and seal any leaks in the system.  

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The items above do not require any large scale investment. For under $2,000 you can noticeably improve operations and improve reliability with a triboelectric detection system. Clean on demand controls can cost as little as $250 and significantly improve filter life. Replacement diaphragms for pulse valves can cost less than $50 each (if you know the right people) while improving cleaning efficiency. And keeping a clean hopper is often as simple as sending someone to clean it or modifying operational practices as your facility. 

With these 4 tips you can begin 2017 with reduced dust collector maintenance load, lower operation costs and increased reliability. What's preventing you from starting on these items right now? 

Want more help optimizing your dust collection system and emission monitoring? Let Auburn Systems use it’s decades of experience to help you improve your baghouse maintenance and operation today! Contact us for a free consultation now! 


Topics: Baghouse Maintenance, Bag Leak Detection