Fugitive dust monitoring, early detection to avoid catastrophic events

Posted by Justin Dechene on Feb 6, 2015 4:00:00 PM

What are you doing to monitor unexpected rises in ambient dust within the workplace? Electrostatic Triboelectric dust monitors can provide an early warning detection of increased dust and potential catastrophic problems.

Many dusts are combustible and operations generating or handling dusts can require special efforts to minimize dust emissions. Here in the United States, and globally, the issue of health and safety in the workplace have brought an increased concern over dust detection methods and monitoring capabilities…

Therefore it is vital to keep track of, and monitor areas of your plant where ambient or fugitive dust build-up can cause negative or adverse effects. This is especially appropriate in areas of the plant where there is no dust collection systems present.

One technology that has been used with success more and more recently is electrostatic/ triboelectric dust monitoring. While it is true, we are known globally as a provider of broken bag detectors and bag leak detection systems for your baghouses and dust collectors --- we can also help monitor in areas where no dust collection is available. Especially in areas where equipment and processes can be sources of ambient fugitive dust excursions and there is a fear that increases in dust levels could be hazardous and result in catastrophic events.


How do you use tribo technology (typically used as Bag Leak Detection Systems) to effectively provide fugitive dust monitoring? Using a standard triboelectric probe along with a special sensor assembly which uses compressed air to create a venturi effect, room air is drawn through the sensor, generating the triboelectric signal. This provides a reliable monitor that can indicate increases in the ambient dust in the immediate area.

To help make it real, and to best enable you to picture where this technology and solution might be of benefit, below are some examples where triboelectric fugitive dust monitoring is being used successfully:

Food manufacturers have been using this technique to: 

  • Monitor sifter rooms - if a sifter develops a leak the room can fill with grain dust- we all understand the implications and dangers….. Catastrophic!
  • Monitor the rise in dust levels in sugar and flour silo penthouses
  • Monitor levels of dust near weigh hoppers- again monitoring any increase in dust levels was important due to potential explosive hazard of the dust

Paper / Product Transfer area

  • Used to monitor rooms where corn starch is unloaded from a rail car, the primary purpose to detect a sudden rise of dust levels which could prove explosive in nature


  • Plastics manufacturers can use very fine plastic powders which can be explosive, however, by using electrostatic triboelectric monitors these plants can monitor work areas for an increase in dust around the equipment in order to create safe and optimal work environments

While it’s important to note that an electrostatic triboelectric dust detector should not be considered an “explosion prevention” device, it can be used to help as part of ones best practices in order to detect early rise in ambient and fugitive dust (along with other stop gap techniques) to best create a safe and optimal plant environment.

Lastly, with this kind of monitoring and the consequences potentially attached, make sure you select a unit that utilizes the full tribolelectric signal (both the DC and AC portion of the signal) – thereby providing the most reliable and repeatable signals…. This application is too important to use any basic dust detector.

As a function of good predictive and preventative monitoring, take a look at ambient fugitive dust detection and where it can help you in your plant to enable best safe and proactive practices.

For more information on Intelligent Monitoring and Best Ways to utilize Bag Leak Detection Systems take a look at this:

 New Call-to-action

Topics: Air Quality, Triboelectric Detection, Dust Detection