Benefits of Using Triboelectric Detectors When Scheduling Dust Collector Filter Changeouts

Posted by Earl Parker on Mar 18, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Deciding when to replace baghouse filters can be one of the more challenging aspects of dust collection operation and maintenance to get right. Get it wrong and plants can waste large amounts of resources on unneeded filters, lose valuable production time, or get hit with costly fines and sanctions over exceeded emissions limits. 

With this in mind, many have decided that investing in anything that can improve this process is worthwhile. Triboelectric dust monitoring systems from Auburn Systems can enable maintenance planners to make better decisions regarding filter replacement than relying on just opacity or differential pressure alone. To that end, lets review how the filter changeout process works and how triboelectric detection systems improve this process.

Problems with Determining When to Change FiltersBlinded filter bags in a dust collector

Useful filter service life varies greatly from application to application, and even from unit to unit with the same application. It even varies within the same collector, as a number of factors can impact how the filters perform and how long they last. WIth this in mind, deciding when to replace filters proves a dificult task for maintenance planners. 

In the absence of emissions monitoring equipment, the next most reliable guide to filter condition is differential pressure. Over the lifetime of a filter dust particles will gradually become more and more embedded in the depth of the filter fabric. This results in high resistance to flow despite repeated cleaning. When the cleaning system no longer can lower the DP of the system it can be a sign the filters need changing. 

However, while operational DP does have some correlation with emissions levels, high DP does not always result in high emissions nor indicate that the filters are blinded and require replacement. Damaged cleaning system components (such as diaphragm valves, leaking air headers, etc.) or incorrect cleaning system settings result in poor filter cleaning efficiency, which in turn causes higher differential pressure. Additionally, changes in the plant process (e.g. increased production, change in materials, etc.) can alter the load placed on the baghouse, which if not anticipated and corrected in the operational settings can create higher DP. 

The end result is that maintenance planners often have incomplete information to base their decisions on. In many plants, bags are changed much sooner than required simply to ensure they do not get caught between yearly shutdowns when the filters begin to fail. This means often replacing filters that still have useful service life in order to “play it safe” rather than when they no longer can meet the emissions and operational needs.  

On the other hand, other plants push their filters to the limits until they fail (often spectacularly). Then the rush is on to get quotes for new filters (often resulting in paying a premium for no bid ordering) and then expedited shipping. Worst of all, unexpected shutdowns can bring entire plants to a standstill while filters are ordered, delivered, and installed. 

Simplify Bag Changeout Process with Triboelectric Monitoring

Including emissions data with detailed maintenance records provides the best data for making filter replacement decisions. Triboelectric dust monitors from Auburn Systems are the most advanced particulate monitoring devices available today, able to detect emissions down to 0.000002 g/dscf, over 20 times more sensitive than opacity monitoring. Additionally, Auburn’s TRIBO product line can record trending emissions data from a dust collection system, so planners can view emissions trends over the life of the filter bag. When combined with differential pressure readings and maintenance records, this allows planners to predict with relative accuracy when filters will no longer meet emissions requirements. This means they do not need to stick to a set schedule for changing bags, but rather can wait until each set starts showing signs of failure. These extra months over time can result in immense savings in filter costs as well as those incurred from labor and shutdowns. 

This provides plants using TRIBO detectors with “predictive maintenance” capabilities as related to their dust collection systems. By using this data effectively,  personnel can have several months advance notice of impending filter failure, sufficient time to complete procurement properly (i.e. no rush orders) and plan the installation process without major disruption to plant production. This also has the benefit of preventing unexpected shutdowns, which can cripple production or even force a shutdown. 


Clearly, the prevailing method of deciding when to replace filter relies heavily on “guesswork” rather than concrete data. Incorporating a triboelectric particulate monitoring system from Auburn Systems will provide your facility with the tools it needs to effectively manage its dust collection systems. Let Auburn show you how your facility can benefit from the use of triboelectric detection systems today. Click here to see more about predictive monitoring with TRIBO systems. 

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Topics: Baghouse Maintenance