Leaking dust collector filters mean serious problems for any plant. Even just one leaking filter may result in a plant exceeding the PM emissions limits on its air permits and generate a reportable event. Additionally, leaking filters may cause a buildup of dust throughout a facility, creating a respirable dust hazard for workers or in combustible dust applications a fire or explosion hazard.
In order to more carefully monitor their dust collector’s performance many facilities use triboelectric broken bag detection systems such as those created by Auburn Systems.
But the question arises, what should operators do when their detection systems alert them to a potential leak in their dust collection system?
Interpreting The Data Correctly
It is important for operators to understand what the incoming data means and how to interpret it properly. Often operators expect a triboelectric detection system to function as a sort of "Green/Red alarm system", where “an alarm sounds when the system breaks”. A more effective approach is to use triboelectric detectors as an early warning system that is used to carefully monitor emissions levels and trends.
Therefore, lets consider the two most common data sets the triboelectric system might return and how to properly interpret them.
Slow, Gradual Rise in Emissions
A steady, gradual increase in emissions from a dust collector indicates that the entire set of filters is nearing the end of its useful service life and must be replaced.
By carefully monitoring the trending data operators can anticipate when the filters will no longer be capable of meeting the emissions requirements and plan to replace them at the earliest convenient time (example of predictive maintenance planning).
Sudden Spike in Emissions
A sudden spike in emissions likely indicates that some kind of leak or upset condition has occurred within the system. This could be a large hole or tear in a few filters or even just one. Chemical attack, incorrect installation, mishandling during maintenance or a spark or fire can all lead to holes or stitching damage on a filter.
Even just one leaking filter may cause the unit to exceed the emissions limits and become a reportable event. In these cases it is usually best to try and fix the leak immediately. Before deciding on a course of action it is vital to confirm if it's being caused by a failure in a limited number of filters or by the majority of the filters.
Narrow Down Which Bags Are Leaking Using Triboelectric System and Dye Leak Testing
Once a leak has been detected, technicians can save time and resources by using their triboelectric systems to narrow down the exact location of the leak.
Locating the leaking filters can pose a challenge, especially on larger units, which may contain hundreds, or even thousands of filters in multiple compartments. Since emissions levels spike to their highest levels during the cleaning cycle, it is possible to narrow down the possible locations of the problem filters by comparing the emissions data and the cleaning cycle data side by side. By matching each emissions spike with each cleaning cycle operators can pinpoint leaking filters to each unit, each compartment, and even each row of bags (pulse jets only).
Once the leaking filters have been located, determine whether to replace the problem filters immediately or wait and change the entire set. If the data clearly shows that only one row is leaking it might make sense to replace that entire row. If leaking is spread out over multiple rows technicians should perform a dye leak test to confirm exactly which bags are leaking before beginning the process of ordering new bags and scheduling a changeout.
Conclusion - Quickly Identify Leaking Bags Using BLDS Data
Keeping close watch on emissions data allows operators to identify problems quickly. When a leak does occur the data provided by a bag leak detection system can prove invaluable in determining whether its a general or localized bag failure.
Do you want to learn more about how Triboelectric emissions monitoring can help you run your dust collection system? Click here to download our eBook!
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