Comparing CPMS, PEMS, & COMS dust detection solutions

The "Alphabet Soup" of Industrial Dust Detection

Continuous Opacity Monitoring Systems (COMS) for dust detection form an integral part of many facilities’ environmental control systems. While we don't sell COMS dust detection systems, we field a lot of questions from engineering and maintenance teams about how they compare to other solutions. This article will answer a few of the common questions.

In many facilities, COMS systems were required by early permits to monitor particulate matter emitted from the facility. They were the "go to" CPMS (Continuous Parameter Monitoring System) for several years until USEPA first amended the MACT standards to incorporate triboelectric instruments.

Most COMS dust detection systems are placed after the emissions control system(s) such as a fabric filter dust collector to monitor its operation and efficiency at all times. They were an early technology, however, and in recent years, the limitations and inherent drawbacks of COMS for dust emissions detection have led some to investigate new technologies. One such technology mentioned is PEMS or Predictive Emissions Monitoring System. 

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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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Reporting Software & Triboelectric Dust Monitoring Data Collection

One thing engineers in countless industries often discover when integrating dust monitoring systems in their facilities is the need for an advanced software system for managing and organizing emissions data. Many monitoring suppliers actually produce their own data management software tools, compatible with their detection systems and others, that serve just this purpose.

When evaluating dust monitoring data software options, your best bet is a system that both meets your compliance reporting needs and your company’s individual needs; similar to selecting monitoring hardware, this shouldn’t be a bottom-line, “check-the-box” compliance decision.

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Triboelectric Dust Detection Tech Basics - 3 Articles to Read First

Lots of information, but where to start?

As of Dec '16 we've published more than 75 articles on triboelectric dust detection technology and particulate emissions monitoring. They cover technical details, tips on use, suggestions to reduce downtime and operating cost and even how our technology is increasingly finding application in process industries for monitoring and control bulk dry goods conveying. 

We're committed to building this body of knowledge for emissions monitoring and process control experts worldwide. But with so much information, we know that sometimes folks new to the discipline may not know exactly where to start. So instead of boiling the ocean, here are three basic articles that we recommend reading first.

  1. Triboelectric Dust Detection vs. Opacity Meters - Is there a difference?
  2. Triboelectric instrumentation for process improvement
  3. AC vs. DC - The role of signal Spectrum in triboelectric monitoring
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Make Your Air Quality Inspector Happy with a Triboelectric Dust Monitor

Time to work together

Many fear the day when the air quality inspector comes to their plant. They might feel that no matter how much or how carefully they prepare, the inspector will always find fault with their operation and thus issue citations and fines. However, there is a way to make the inspector view your operation much more positively. What is it? 

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Triboelectric Ambient Fugitive Dust Monitoring — How It Works

Invisible (or barely visible) threats

When we talk about dust emissions, particulate emissions or PM 2.5/PM 10 we are usually referring to emissions that go outside from a dust collector outlet or a stack. Since these are usually the focus of any regulatory or process concerns it is usually what we default to when talking about dust issues. 

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Should I Calibrate My Triboelectric Bag Leak Detection System?

Who needs one more PM task....

Many wonder if their triboelectric bag leak detection system needs any kind of calibration to function properly. That's entirely understandable since many are accustomed to working with opacity meters or other older generations of equipment. Opacity meters require an initial calibration along with periodic calibration and rebuilds at specified intervals in order to stay accurate. 

While many OEMs can quickly state that “triboelectric systems do not need calibration” it can be confusing when some incorrectly refer to certain actions as “calibrating” their triboelectric unit.

So what is the truth, do you need to calibrate your triboelectric detector? 

Current generation Triboelectric Bag Leak Detection Systems Do Not Require Periodic or Initial Calibration

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What's the Best Triboelectric Detector For My Company & Application?

When first visiting our website, some might feel overwhelmed by the number of different detection systems we currently offer. Especially because visitors often come with the question "What's the best triboelectric detector for my application" only to face another question "Which Auburn TRIBO is the right technical fit?"

With our main TRIBO line consisting of 8 different models plus additional options it can appear to be a complicated process to decide which one is correct for your application. In this article we thought it would be good to review some of the differences and help you understand why we have different models. Be assured that you need not feel intimidated by the selection of models we offer.  

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How can I monitor fugitive dust in multiple locations throughout my plant?

Combustible dust fires and explosions have proven some of the most devastating industrial accidents in recent decades. In many cases, the greatest contributor to dust accumulations that fueled the most powerful conflagrations was fugitive dust. Despite the large contribution of fugitive dust to combustible dust incidents many facilities do not give it as much attention as direct dust emissions monitoring or source monitoring. In order to effectively control, prevent and protect against combustible dust hazards plants need to pay careful attention to ambient dust levels as well. 

Why Do Fugitive Dust Levels Matter So Much? 

Fugitive dust refers to dust that is generated by various processes that then disperses throughout a large area or even an entire plant. This differs from source emissions or localized dust buildup. For example, a malfunctioning conveyor system may spill dust onto the floor or generate airborne dust that settles relatively close by the source (for example within the same room). However, these localized sources may also generate airborne dust that then travels throughout the facility. When multiple sources combine it creates a high concentration of airborne dust throughout the facility. This general level of airborne dust is what we refer to as ambient dust levels. High ambient dust levels can then lead to worker health and safety hazards as well as contribute to dust accumulations in multiple locations in a plant creating additional housekeeping work in order to properly control it. 

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Which is better - an AC or DC triboelectric bag leak detection system?

What Does It All Mean

When considering a triboelectric bag leak detection system OEMs, sales reps, and other re-sellers may throw a number of seemingly confusing technical specs at the project engineer. One that frequently gets cited is whether the unit processes an AC signal or a DC signal. Often this is even touted as an advantage over other makes and models.  But not much explanation accompanies these claims as to the difference between the AC or DC signal, or why it even matters. So we often field questions from visitors to our site who have noted the various technical specifications of our units, as well as read much in our blog about our our Unified AC/DC signal processing technology.

But what is the difference between triboelectric systems that use AC and those that use DC? And what benefit does AC/DC unified technology provide? Lets take a look at the differences and highlight what one is used over the other. 

Superior Signal Vs. Adaptability to Harsher Conditions

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