Baghouse PMs - skipping them seems OK....until it's not
Maintenance of dust collectors often gets overlooked. When it is tracked, often the goal is to rush through it as quickly as possible. This leads to many plants making key mistakes in their preventative maintenance programs for their dust collectors. Here are what we've observed to be the top 5 most overlooked baghouse maintenance steps.
#1 Confirm DP Gauges Are Functioning Properly
Our first entry is the most common and also one of the most crucial for proper operation. Differential pressure readings guide nearly every baghouse maintenance and operation decision. For that reason accurate readings are essential. DP sensors require regular cleaning and periodic replacement. Even a small amount of dust in the airlines can result in false readings. That same small amount of dust if it enters the pressure sensor will quickly foul it and cause irreparable damage.
Weekly, or biweekly cleaning of the airlines is required to keep them in good operation. Further, from time to time the accuracy of the gauge should be confirmed by using a handheld gauge (magnehelic gauge works best) to confirm the readings are accurate. Any damaged gauges should be replaced immediately.
#2 Emptying The Hopper
Many plants see the hopper section on their dust collectors and assume its designed to store the collected material. This might seem logical as hoppers in other applications are used this way. However, it is absolutely vital that dust collector hoppers never be used for storage of material. These hoppers are designed for temporary collection only. In this instance, temporary means long enough for the discharge device (usually a screw conveyor) to empty the contents. Material in the hopper of a baghouse can disrupt the carefully engineered airflow within the unit leading to excess wear on the filters and dust re-entrainment. In some cases it can even “plug” the system by blocking off inlets. Additionally, material kept in the hopper creates a concerning combustible dust hazard by providing an ample source of fuel for any potential ignition source such as sparks, embers or fire from the duct work.
#3 Using the Correct Parts
Filters, cages, or cartridges must fit correctly in order to function at peak efficiency. Further, filter media with proper treatments and coatings must be used according to application requirements and system design. Frequently failure to pay attention to details while ordering, or neglecting to verify proper fit and type of parts, can lead plants to use improper parts in their systems.
#4 Programming Cleaning Settings Correctly
Baghouses run best when using a clean on demand (clean on pressure) control system. While many systems come standard with these controls, sometimes principles of cleaning based on DP are overlooked. Sometimes plants simply default to a simple timer based cleaning mode. Unfortunately this often results in inefficient cleaning, wasted compressed air, shorter filter life and higher average DP.
#5 Making Sure The Bag Leak Detection System Is Set Correctly
Many plants with bag leak detection systems fail to deploy their systems properly. Incorrect setup and/or implementation into the plants procedures can result in frequent false alarms that plant operators and technicians eventually grow tired of chasing down. That can lead to casual response to legitimate alarms, or in some cases changing alarm thresholds. This obviously creates a host of maintenance and operational problems, but also can lead to serious trouble with air quality inspectors who consider these systems integral to overall plant compliance.
Maintaining an industrial dust collection system requires consistent attention to "the little things." By making sure not to overlook these crucial steps, your plant can ensure its baghouses stay running at peak operation condition!
Are you responsible for keeping a dust collection system running smoothly? Our free Guide to Baghouse Maintenance is packed full of tips and even a baghouse maintenance checklist that will help. Download your copy here.