Facilities may need to control exposure to certain materials they handle that pose issues to workers such as heavy metals, strong acids, alkalis, toxins or poisons. This can be true even of facilities that handle otherwise “benign” materials that when in dust form and dispersed in the air pose a health hazard (such as silica). And still others need to control fugitive dust levels to prevent cross contamination or maintain clean environments, such as food or pharmaceutical manufacturers. Therefore, many facilities find it beneficial to monitor ambient dust levels at various locations throughout their facility. This assists with maintaining a clean and safe environment and provides early warning of failures or inadequacies elsewhere in the plant’s dust collection systems.
Auburn Systems Ambient Fugitive Dust Sensor (AFDS)
To meet its customers’ needs in this area Auburn Systems has developed a triboelectric ambient fugitive dust monitoring system. Using its patented dust detection technology, Auburn Systems’ AFDS consists of one TRIBO.dsp 3000 series unit (exact model varies depending on the output and features desired) and a mounting rig. Using supplied compressed air, the airflow through the probe creates a venturi effect, drawing room air through the sensor and past the electrically isolated probe generating the electrostatic/triboelectric signal. The monitor can then be placed at any location(s) throughout the facility to passively monitor dust levels. If the ambient dust levels rise, the sensor will detect the increase and then depending on the exact model either trigger an alarm via relay contacts or send back a continuous dust level signal via 4-20 mA or other digital output.
Municipal Water Treatment Plant - One water treatment facility uses the Auburn AFDS to monitor chemicals at several points along a transport line that travels through several floors of the water treatment facility. Due to the abrasive nature of the chemicals, the pipe will wear and occasionally allow the chemicals to leak, filling the unmanned area before they know it. The fugitive dust sensors are used to detect the rise in dust along the pipe line.
Food Manufacturer - One food application uses the AFDS to monitor the levels of dust in the work environment near weigh hoppers as an early indicator and additional maintenance alarm for increased dust.
Food Manufacturer - The AFDS is being used to monitor a room where they have large sifters as an early indicator of increased dust. The sensors detect the rise in dust levels to signal an alarm so personnel can. The AFDS is also used to monitor the sugar and flour silo penthouses. In many instances a manufacturer will use this solution in plant areas not easily accessible to personnel.
Paper Company/Product Transfer Area - The Auburn AFDS is used to monitor the room where they unload corn starch from a rail car. Primary purpose is to offer an addiional early indication solution to detect a sudden rise of the dust level in the air.