How can Triboelectric Monitoring Improve Dust Collection and Pneumatic Conveying Systems Operation

Is the "Status Quo" Good Enough?

For many plants that make use of pneumatic conveying systems, maintaining the status quo seems sufficient. Many manufacturing plants have many years of service in them and many believe fully in the adage “if it aint broke, don’t fix it”. While it makes for a catchy slogan, when misapplied it can lead to stagnation and a gradual decline in quality and competitiveness over time. Because in many cases it actually is broken...but nobody has bothered to fret too much because there's been no good solution.

It's common to hear stories about blockages that cause unplanned downtime, quality problems with blending applications and wasted product during line restarts. Maintenance issues and product damage/loss are also common pain points.

The problem is that there's really never been an accurate way to measure actual particle speed. Calculations were made based on system parameters, and in some cases air/gas speed was measured. Those are substantially different than actual particle speed itself which will often determine which baked goods will crumble, which resin will smear and which products will create blockages.

To this end, many have seen the benefits of incorporating triboelectric monitoring systems into their dust collection and associated pneumatic conveying systems to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs and increase reliability. Let’s consider 2 areas that are commonly overlooked where a triboelectric system can provide real benefits. 

1. Flow/No Flow and More Flow/Less Flow Monitoring Prevents Blockages in Pneumatic Conveying Lines

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Supplementing the Use of Differential Pressure with Triboelectric Broken Bag Detection

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. 

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3 Tips to Eliminate Unplanned Downtime Due to Your Industrial Dust Collector

The Huge Cost of Unplanned Downtime

Recent survey of auto industry manufacturing executives shows stopped production costs an average $22,000 per minute. A similar study found that of the facilities that can calculate the cost of downtime, most under estimate it by 300% on average! With this in mind, consider that when an industrial dust collector goes down, it almost always takes its associated system(s) down with it. In fact, in many facilities dust collectors used for pollution control must operate at all times. Any malfunction results in a mandatory shutdown of the entire process and even the facility. With downtime costs running into the tens of thousands per minute in many cases, we can see that these costs far outweigh the average costs to maintain the dust collector properly.

When the cost of downtime / hour or shift is measured in the thousands, properly maintaining an industrial dust collector isn't expensive.

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Methods for Measuring PM Emissions and Fabric Filter Performance Part 2

As we considered in our article Different Methods for Measuring PM Emissions and Filter Performance, plants face a difficult task comparing data derived from various methods of measuring PM emissions. Often  fabric filter manufacturers, dust collection system OEMs and other product manufacturers use units that are different than those used by regulatory authorities for emissions standards and for specific requirements of air permits.  

In the last article we considered methodologies used by control equipment manufacturers and their purpose such as grains per standard dry cubic foot, or parts per million. Now we will consider those used by regulatory agencies, their reasons for doing so, and how we can convert back and forth between them when needed. 

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Use Your Next Air Permit Renewal to Improve Three Baghouse Frustrations

A Hassle, but an opportunity

Many air permits are outdated. Sure, they're still approved and "compliant" but they were written around technology that was available at the time. Typically that is much less accurate than what's available today, and often relies on systems which require frequent calibration, have significant labor requirements, fail to provide early warning of impending issues and involves data management and reporting burdens. But often when an air permit renewal date approaches, it's just one more hassle - and many permits are simply resubmitted with the same language time after time.

But for many plants, their compliance assurance monitoring plans (CAM Plans) are seriously out of date. 

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3 Commonly Overlooked Baghouse Maintenance Steps

Baghouse Maintenance - Focus Where it Counts

Many maintenance and engineering teams assume that baghouse dust collectors require substantial amounts of maintenance in order to  function properly. Since many plants maintain legacy systems they often “settle” for letting the unit run poorly as they feel its not worth it to invest the time and resources to optimize an older collector. That's a common but dangerous assumption as most industrial dust collectors, even older ones, require only minimal investment in key parts and operational practices in order to bring them up to acceptable condition. In contrast, failure to maintain these systems often results in excessive downtime and lost productivity - plus the well understood potential for costly health/safety and environmental violations. 

Rather than just lecture about maintenance, though, let’s consider 3 of the most overlooked maintenance tasks for baghouses and how they can make a real difference with only minimal resources. 

  1. Accurate DP Readings
  2. Functional Pulse Jet System
  3. Replace Bags When Blinded
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4 Ways You Can Cut Your Dust Collector Maintenance Budget This Year

Doing More With Less

Its rare for baghouse maintenance budgets to see any kind of increase each year. Usually, maintenance planners, managers and technicians must do more with even less each year. With this in mind we've pulled together a list of steps your plant might explore to reduce dust collector maintenance costs. Most require a minimal capital investment but quickly provide returns in the form of less man hours, lower operating costs and increased reliability - in other words not just lower costs, but delivering big, measurable operational benefits. 

1. Install a Triboelectric Bag Leak Detection System

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Should I Change My Filters on a Schedule?

When to change filters on an industrial dust collector is not by any means uniform across all industries. Many times it's not even entirely clear who has the responsibility to make plans, maintenance planners?, operators?, plant management?, production staff?, compliance engineers?, etc. 

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Benefits of Using Triboelectric Detectors When Scheduling Dust Collector Filter Changeouts

Deciding when to replace baghouse filters can be one of the more challenging aspects of dust collection operation and maintenance to get right. Get it wrong and plants can waste large amounts of resources on unneeded filters, lose valuable production time, or get hit with costly fines and sanctions over exceeded emissions limits. 

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Triboelectric vs. Optical Bag Leak Detectors - Finding Leaks in Minutes Instead of Days

When dust collector filters begin leaking operators must act quickly to remedy the problem. Even just one leaking baghouse filter can be enough for an entire system to exceed its emissions limits for PM 2.5. Additionally, the longer leaking filters remain in use the worse the leak becomes, potentially creating large amounts of dust accumulations in the collector and areas near the exhaust. 

For this reason, many facilities have decided to supplement traditional optical detection with a triboelectric bag leak detection system into their process. Additionally, many industries now fall under MACT (Maximum Achievable Control Technology) standards from the EPA. Many of these MACT standards include provisions requiring the use of bag leak detection systems for all dust collectors used in certain applications.  

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