Justin Dechene

Justin Dechene
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Checklist: 5 Preparations for an Air Quality Inspection

As air quality inspections by federal and local agencies, such as those by the U.S. EPA, are typically done without prior notice, preparing for one can be a challenge. These agencies may just show up at your facility’s door, with intent to inspect your emissions control on an individual facility, company or industry basis; there’s often no telling when, or even why, an inspection may take place.

It’s because of this that the best way to prepare for an air quality inspection is by optimizing monitoring processes universally, throughout your facility, and training your maintenance team in the best monitoring, baghouse upkeep and reporting techniques.

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How can Triboelectric Monitoring Improve Dust Collection and Pneumatic Conveying Systems Operation

Is the "Status Quo" Good Enough?

For many plants that make use of pneumatic conveying systems, maintaining the status quo seems sufficient. Many manufacturing plants have many years of service in them and many believe fully in the adage “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. While it makes for a catchy slogan, when misapplied it can lead to stagnation and a gradual decline in quality and competitiveness over time. Because in many cases it actually is broken...but nobody has bothered to fret too much because there's been no good solution.

It's common to hear stories about blockages that cause unplanned downtime, quality problems with blending applications and wasted product during line restarts. Maintenance issues and product damage/loss are also common pain points.

The problem is that there's really never been an accurate way to measure actual particle speed. Calculations were made based on system parameters, and in some cases air/gas speed was measured. Those are substantially different than actual particle speed itself which will often determine which baked goods will crumble, which resin will smear and which products will create blockages.

To this end, many have seen the benefits of incorporating triboelectric monitoring systems into their dust collection and associated pneumatic conveying systems to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and increase reliability. Let’s consider 2 areas that are commonly overlooked where a triboelectric system can provide real benefits. 

1. Flow/No Flow and More Flow/Less Flow Monitoring Prevents Blockages in Pneumatic Conveying Lines

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3 Reasons Why Particle Velocity is the Most Accurate Measure of Powder Feed Rate and Dilute Phase Conveying Velocity

Stop guessing & start controlling

Controlling bulk material feed rates is essential for a wide range of industrial processes. Traditionally though process engineers have had to calculate, or frankly, guess. Industry has lacked an effective instrumentation for monitoring actual particle velocity often using gas/air velocity as a very approximate proxy.. Auburn Systems has solved this with an adaption of their patented triboelectric technology for use in bulk flow monitoring.

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3 Pneumatic Conveying Hassles that can push Engineers to use Screw Conveyors

Positive Physical Control vs. Indirect Control

The two primary means of conveying bulk products are by pneumatic and mechanical conveying with the most common type of mechanical conveyor being the screw conveyor. Both methods have benefits in certain applications over others. In general, finer, more consistently sized materials as well as some granular and pelletized materials work well with pneumatic conveyors whereas larger, irregularly sized materials, as well as moist, doughy, and packable materials work better with screw conveyors. However, in the middle reside the majority of materials for which both systems could be appropriate. 

In cases where either system could be used, sometimes previous hassles or perceptions of pneumatic conveying problems may lead engineers to use a screw type system. Let’s review three of these and consider why engineers should not be hasty to rule out pneumatic conveying - in fact how to overcome these problems to make pneumatic conveying more reliable. 

3 Pneumatic Conveying Challenges:

1. Justifying Investment in “Complex” Pneumatic Systems

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

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.

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How to improve collector efficiency for reclaiming precious metal dust

Not just scrap!

Reclamation of precious metals is big business. US Census Bureau data indicates that nearly 14,000 metric tons of precious metal scrap were exported from the U.S. in 2012 valued at $5.5 billion.

In precious metals reclamation applications, efficiency means the difference between profitability and bankruptcy. Many precious metal reclamation processes make careful use of industrial dust collection systems at multiple points along the process. In addition, many other industrial processes that make use of precious metals in their processes (e.g. platinum catalysts in refineries) often have secondary reclamation systems installed to reclaim as much of these materials as possible. In both cases, any improvement in collection efficiency can result in increased profits. 

Different Ways of Using Dust Collectors to Reclaim Precious Metals

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3 Commonly Overlooked Baghouse Maintenance Steps

Baghouse Maintenance - Focus Where it Counts

Many maintenance and engineering teams assume that baghouse dust collectors require substantial amounts of maintenance in order to  function properly. Since many plants maintain legacy systems they often “settle” for letting the unit run poorly as they feel its not worth it to invest the time and resources to optimize an older collector. That's a common but dangerous assumption as most industrial dust collectors, even older ones, require only minimal investment in key parts and operational practices in order to bring them up to acceptable condition. In contrast, failure to maintain these systems often results in excessive downtime and lost productivity - plus the well understood potential for costly health/safety and environmental violations. 

Rather than just lecture about maintenance, though, let’s consider 3 of the most overlooked maintenance tasks for baghouses and how they can make a real difference with only minimal resources. 

  1. Accurate DP Readings
  2. Functional Pulse Jet System
  3. Replace Bags When Blinded
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How to simplify emissions compliance reporting

Everyone's favorite job....NOT

Emissions regulations can seem daunting even just to begin reading. Many standards taking up over 100+ pages in addition to basic outlines established by Title V requirements. And it will come as no surprise to readers of this blog that some of the most onerous aspects of modern emissions regulation involve emissions compliance reporting. Non-compliance with these recording and reporting requirements frequently lead to fines in excess of those related to actual emissions excursions. 

But it's a lot of work, and dreadfully monotonous. So most folks look for ways to reduce the difficulty and complexity of compliance reporting, both to improve efficiency and avoid fines over incorrect reporting. Let’s looks at one way your plant can simplify its emissions compliance reporting. 

Use Triboelectric Monitoring as the Basis for Your CAM Plan

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Am I better or worse for having CEMS emissions data when there's a dust excursion?

Ignorance may not be bliss....

Environmental regulations have evolved over the decades becoming increasingly strict around emissions standards. As this occurs, many older industrial facilities find that it's not financially viable to invest in new pollution control technology. In some cases, exceptions have been granted to older facilities to facilitate the transition to stricter standards. This has meant that some facilities have received exemptions, often called “grandfather” exemptions from certain standards or specific requires of larger sets of emission standards. Often though, these exemptions are forfeited when any significant upgrades or modifications are made to the plant’s systems. 

For this reason, many plant decision-makers have developed the viewpoint that as long as they refuse to upgrade to newer systems they can continue to avoid compliance with new regulations.. This leads them to avoid at all costs any modification or upgrades to their emissions control systems in the mistaken belief that by doing so they will avoid difficulties (and costs) associated with complying with newer, stricter environmental standards.

This can be seen by some plants refusal to install a CEMS or BLDS for fear it will increase their risk of getting fined or sanctioned over emissions excursions. The reality however is the contrary...

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Triboelectric Monitoring Systems and the Cement Industry

Cement is a building block industry of global progress.  Roads, buildings, bridges, factories, stadiums, airports and more - everywhere we go, and everything we do is built on cement.  And because it’s everywhere many take it for granted….but not all of us

In fact, we’re focused on the cement industry and Auburn’s triboelectric detection devices are used for many different functions in cement plants around the world.

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