How do you decide how to monitor your dust emissions?

Posted by Earl Parker on May 22, 2015 10:00:00 AM

Who do you listen to?

I recently had a conversation with one of our sales representatives and he related a very interesting dilemma.  While on a site visit conferring with the project engineer, plant manager and environmental consultant - the question arose as to what to do about monitoring the dust emissions on a couple of their outlet stacks. The representative offered a triboelectric bag leak detector but the environmental consultant suggested using an opacity monitor.  Who do you listen to?

Make an informed decision              

What really makes the story interesting was the reason given for the opacity monitor - "the opacity monitor will only pick up when you have a big problem"   - really?  How is that going to help the plant with their operation, maintenance and compliance?

Fortunately, the plant in question was already a customer and had experience with our bag leak detectors in their other locations.  The representative countered the suggestion by explaining how by properly monitoring the dust collector exhaust stacks with a triboelectric particulate detector, there were many benefits to be gained.  

  • Early detection of "invisible' emissions - allowing proactive scheduling


  • Reduced unexpected downtime - prevent shutdowns
  • Equipment protection - eliminate wear for the fan/blowers
  • Prevent environmental excursions - operate below alarm level

Can a monitor be too sensitive?

We have heard this scenario before - sometimes there is a perception that if the broken bag detector or BLDS is too sensitive it will cause the plant operators problems.  There will be too many alarms to chase down.  This is where it is important for personnel to understand proper use and operation of a bag leak detector.  Too often it can be just another instrument that is installed but no one truly understands the best way to use the technology.

By having the sensitivity to detect sub-micron size particles at very low particulate concentrations - we provide our users with the ability to set and maintain proper baseline signals for trending and monitoring.  It is this ability that gives triboelectric bag leak detection systems an advantage over optical devices, opacity monitors or visual inspections.  

In the past it was acceptable to "not know" what was going on with your dust collection equipment - if I don't record  - I don't have to report - those days are gone.  Today, you are expected to use best available technology - and when that technology actually brings you operational and cost benefits - it;s a win-win situation.

So how do you know what to choose?

So know you see the dilemma caused by the example I presented.  What happens when someone with good intentions goes in search of the right solution - but is given bad advice (that he paid for)!  If the plant manager hadn't had the prior experience with Auburn Systems, they may have gone in search of an optical solution for the wrong reasons.

If you don't have experience in dust collector monitoring technologies or environmental compliance issues - you have to do your homework.  It is common sense to get a second opinion for health matters - right?  Same here - search out a few sources and get information from a variety of vendors and technologies - get referrals.  Search out the experienced professionals in the field.  It will be time well spent.


Finding a partner

Auburn Systems has been monitoring dust collectors and baghouses for over thirty five years.  But more importantly we have always tried to find the best solutions for our customers.  We have never been interested in just selling a detector and walking away.  We have built partnerships with our customers over the years, and we have tried to provide the best possible technology for industry.  We are always available to work with you to help put together the monitoring solution that is right for your company and application.

Take a look at our website , there are case studies and blog posts to help you find the information you need to make an informed decision.  

If you have an emissions application or have the need to monitor particulate in whatever process you have - give us a call (and don't be surprised when an actual person answers the phone!)  - or you can submit your information on our website - and we will call you.



Topics: Baghouse Maintenance, Bag Leak Detection, Environmental Monitoring