Why Dust Collector Maintenance Teams Should Demand Triboelectric Monitoring

Posted by Justin Dechene on May 23, 2016 1:30:00 PM

With the push for efficiency demanded by the current economy many industrial plant managers press every department to find new ways to do more with less. In particular, maintenance departments frequently feel the pressure to do more with less, cutting costs but owning responsibility for the same or even increased number of systems. 

For this reason, maintenance departments look for any ways they can to cut capital costs and reduce labor costs. We know it's easy to wish for expensive equipment upgrades or new installations, but  these frequently fall far outside the budget for many facilities. 

How can maintenance departments deal with this situation? 

Minimal Investment in Triboelectric Monitoring Brings Outsized Gains for Maintenance

Triboelectric monitoring for dust control has the potential to provide significant benefits to facilities making use of dust collection systems such as baghouses, cartridge collectors and cyclone collectors. These benefits include preventive maintenance and improvements in system reliability.

Let’s consider the benefits triboelectric dust collector monitoring can bring in these two areas. 

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Find Problems Before They Force a Shutdown

triboelectric monitoring provides great dust collection maintenance insightIts well-known throughout industry that maintenance departments frequently mention dust collectors as one of their least favorite responsibilities and it shows in how many facilities habitually neglect these systems. However, while often ignored, these systems frequently lead to stoppages in production or even entire plant shutdowns when they malfunction or degrade due to neglect. When a shutdown occurs, in addition to receiving much of the blame for the incident, maintenance staff often must work long hours under intense pressure to get the systems back up and running as quickly as possible. 

Preventative maintenance for dust collectors can go a long way to prevent such stressful and costly incidents for maintenance departments. 

The primary purpose of Triboelectric dust monitors is to monitor emissions from the dust collection system. Having real-time data about emissions removes much of the guess work for maintenance staff. Examining emissions levels in real time can help diagnose several issues including malfunctioning cleaning systems, filters past their useful service life, and upset conditions in the process among others.  Additionally, a properly functioning dust collection system is key to preventing buildup of nuisance dust levels throughout the facility, reducing labor needs for abatement work later. (This is especially important in facilities handling combustible dusts)

Triboelectric systems are frequently used as bag leak detectors. For many facilities even just one leaking filter can cause them to exceed their maximum allowable emissions limits. With other monitoring methods such as visual inspections (EPA methods 9 and 22), opacity meters or differential pressure monitoring  they can only detect a problem once the leak has become so severe that the system is far beyond its emissions limits. 

Additionally, triboelectric bag leak detectors simplify the process of leak detection by helping to pinpoint the area of the leak. This reduces the time and labor required to visually go looking for the leaking filter(s). This means technicians can know where in the unit the leaking filter is, down to the unit, compartment and even row of bags! 

Improve Reliability with Better Performance Data

The data provided by a triboelectric monitoring system provides maintenance planners and technicians valuable insight into the operation of each unit, allowing them to make more informed decisions that otherwise would not be possible and thereby reducing costs and system downtime. 

For example, by analyzing emissions data trends, planners can predict with accuracy when entire sets of filter bags will fail, being no longer able to capture a sufficient percentage of emissions for the plant to comply with its air permit.  Since filters often fail quickly, this advanced notice means that rather than have a sudden, unexpected shutdown maintenance planners can arrange to change the filters at the most convenient time (e.g. quarterly shutdown) or be ready with replacement parts and additional labor to carry out the changeout quickly. 

In addition, having accurate emissions data removes the uncertainty of compliance. No more guessing if the plant is complying with its air permit. And if at any point the emissions begin to rise above acceptable limits maintenance can take remedial action immediately even before it becomes a reportable event.


While any plant would be interested in gaining these benefits, many plants might think that the cost of such a system would preclude them from obtaining it given their current budget. However, a new triboelectric monitoring system often times requires only a modest capital investment, basic models can be less than $2,000 per point.

With such potential for easing dust collector maintenance demands triboelectric monitoring systems are worth investigating. Auburn Systems has been a leading manufacturer and developer of triboelectric detection systems for over 40 years, having invented and patented many key aspects of the technology. If you would like more information about how TRIBO products can benefit your facility please contact us here or read more about our technology in our blog. 

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Topics: Air Quality, Triboelectric Detection, Particulate Monitoring, Dust Detection