Broken Bag Detectors, Particulate Flow Monitors for the the Food Industry

Posted by Earl Parker on Jan 25, 2016 11:00:00 AM

Where can I use Bag Leak Detectors in my Food Manufacturing Plant?

Particulate monitoring is critical in all food processing plants where dust and particulate matter are problematic. Many food dusts are combustible and those operations generating or handling food dusts can require special efforts to minimize dust emissions in these areas. There are often issues with breakage or build up that require early detection to flow/no flow monitoring, or velocity issues that need to be appropriately monitored. In addition, filter failures or baghouse leaks may require costly shutdowns and result in product loss that can be avoided with proper monitoring using bag leak detectors. Recent initiatives by OSHA and the NFPA have brought an increased concern over dust collection methods and monitoring for the Food Industry.

Triboelectric Bag Leak Detectors have been used successfully as solutions to dust or particulate problems in Food Manufacturing plants globally. To help shed some light on how your colleagues are doing this, we have provided examples below:



Dust Collector Monitoring/Maintenance

Dust collector maintenance is a major part of operation for a food processing facility. Often there are dozens of dust collection points and each is a potential of being a dust source. There are many ways to monitor this equipment however, DP gauges or visual observations only notify you when you already have a major problem. Monitoring that offers early warning of impending filter failure shutdowns; allowing for non-disruptive, maintenance scheduling is a better solution. Triboelectric bag leak detectors eliminate the guess work of isolating compartments or performing time-costly dye tests and can also safely extends the use of filter media beyond manufacturer’s recommendation, resulting in fewer preventative maintenance shutdowns. 

With the addition of OSHA and NFPA initiatives dust collector maintenance is more of an issue especially for any filter that can exhaust inside the plant.  NFPA 652 outlines the general requirements for controlling combustible dust hazards and refers to NFPA’s five industry- or commodity-specific standards when applicable. One of those standards -  NFPA 654: Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing, and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids is particularly relative for the food industry.  Although it is up to the facility to decide the method of monitoring for these filters, triboelectric bag leak detectors are an economic and reliable solution for a facility to consider.  Often eliminating the need for more expensive secondary filters or fire detection/supression systems and helping to avoid fines for non-compliance.

So while they help to provide a solution for OSHA compliance, at the same time they provide a great maintenance benefit giving the facility a proactive maintenance tool and assurance of reliable dust collector monitoring.


Process Improvement

The conveying or transporting of dry particulate for manufacturing processes requires a reliable means to monitor flow/no-flow conditions verifying the presence and flow of the dry solids in the process. Loss-of-flow detectors are in use for a wide variety of flow applications. Typical examples include: monitoring for blockages or for no-flow detection in pneumatic conveying/material handling systems, to monitor particle flow from screw feeders or material injection.  The simple construction of a triboelectric particulate monitor makes it a reliable method for monitoring in an otherwise difficult process.  Other technology with moving parts tend to wear quickly in the flow stream.  Tribolelectric monitors can be constructed with a solid probe inserted into the flow stream or one can monitor with non-intrusive ring sensors  that do not protrude into the line and obstruct flow in smaller line sizes.  

Another unique application for Auburn particulate flow sensors is the ability to provide an accurate particle velocity by performing a cross correlation technique using two probes.  This ability can provide a useful parameter for providing more information in a process application - such as monitoring the velocity of particles to reduce product breakage for cereal manufacturers.  

Ambient Dust Monitoring 

As we already mentioned many food dusts are combustible and those operations generating or handling food dusts can require special efforts to minimize dust emissions in these areas. Often times there are areas in a plant where sources of dust leaks are located but that are not handled by dust collection equipment.  Particulate monitoring using a Ambient Fugitive Dust Sensor allows for early detection warnings of ambient or fugitive dust in these areas.

This technology is used to detect unexpected rises in ambient dust levels within the workplace. Using compressed air to create a Venturi effect, room air is drawn through the sensor, generating a triboelectric signal. The signal level can activate a relay contact or be represented as a continuous 4-20 mA output for monitoring and recording. The Ambient Fugitive Dust Sensor can be used to detect dust in areas such as: silos, silo penthouses, bulk packaging areas, loading/unloading, dry mixing/sifter rooms, filling/product transferring, and hazardous dust monitoring.

Application Example:

Sugar Plant

While installing 40 new baghouses at a rebuilt sugar plant, the plant realized that they needed to focus on 23 of the new collectors as they were exhausting inside the facility. Triboelectric bag leak detectors were installed on all of these collectors to provide assurance that the filters were in good operating condition and notify immediately via an alarm if there is a leak. The installation of these detectors assists the plant in staying within OSHA and NFPA regulations for dust within a facility.

We hope this gives you some suggestions on how to use Bag Leak Detection Systems in your food manufacturing plant. For more information on bag leak detection and how to best use this solution, please take a look at our Guide To Intelligent Dust Monitoring.

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Topics: Bag Leak Detection, Particulate Monitoring, Process Control