Supplementing the Use of Differential Pressure with Triboelectric Broken Bag Detection

Posted by Earl Parker on May 25, 2017 10:30:00 AM

For many, differential pressure has been the only operation data they have ever monitored on their dust collection system. For decades, DP  has been the go to for monitoring performance, used as an indicator of total emissions and for diagnosing maintenance issues. Even though monitoring technology has advanced significantly since the 1970s when these regulations were first put forth, many plants continue operating under their older requirements.  "That's what we've always done," and "That's what my permit calls for us to do," usually lead the way.  Even today where superior monitoring methods are available, it is common to find plants that feel there is no need to monitor anything more than their DP to achieve compliance. 

However, in recent years as enforcement has increased and exceptions permitted under grandfather clauses has faded away, more and more plans are being confronted with the need to include additional dust collection monitoring techniques to stay in compliance. Even plants that have managed to hang on to their coveted old permits has begun asking how they can gradually introduce newer monitoring methods along side their existing DP monitoring. Let’s examine how triboelectric monitoring can supplement the indicative monitoring of differential pressure. 

Monitoring Differential Pressure for More than Emissions


Differential pressure has long been used to to measure emissions from dust collectors. This has lead many to conclude this is its primary purpose. However, the reality is that the concept of   measuring DP actually has more to do with monitoring the collector's performance. The idea to use DP as an indicator for emissions arose from the need for some kind of monitoring scheme that could accurately gauge emissions levels. Since operating a dust collector between a specific range (usually 3” to 6” of DP) results in the highest collection efficiency on the filters, this was used as a stand in for direct monitoring of emissions levels (which was not possible with great accuracy until the last few decades). 

With this in mind, we can understand the origin of differential pressure monitoring for emissions purposes. However, while this use of DP has been superseded by newer technology (such as triboelectric broken bag detectors), monitoring it still plays a vital role for monitoring performance of a dust collector. 

Triboelectric Monitoring for Performance and Leak Detection

Triboelectric monitoring systems primarily serve as emissions monitoring devices for today’s industry. However, their capabilities extend far past emissions and continue into performance and maintenance applications. Maintenance technicians can use tribo data to further diagnose dust collector problems first indicated by differential pressure readings. 

For example, consistently low differential pressure readings can indicate a number of possible problems, from a malfunctioning differential pressure device to massive leaks from filters or leaks in the collector housing. By confirming the triboelectric readings show normal emissions levels maintenance techs can know the problem lies with DP measurement and not massive leaks from the filters. 

In addition, triboelectric monitoring can also provide guidance where just DP alone cannot. For example, DP monitoring alone cannot predict eventual filter failure as accurately as triboelectric emissions data. Nor can DP pinpoint a leaking filter down to a specific unit, compartment or even row of filters like tribo broken bag detection systems are able to. 



Differential pressure readings continue to play a crucial role in helping maintenance technicians monitor performance of their dust collectors. But in some areas, DP will only take technicians so far…in these cases supplementing it with data from a triboelectric bag leak detection system can prove invaluable for optimizing performance and reducing downtime and operating costs. Learn more about the award winning TRIBO.dsp series from Auburn Systems, the inventor of the world’s first commercial triboelectric dust monitor by clicking here!


Topics: Baghouse Maintenance, Bag Leak Detection, Air Permits