A recurring challenge for processors that handle any dry bulk material is dust. Dust is created by mixing and blending, conveying, adding ingredients, and more.
Depending on the material being processed, the hazards of dust exposure can range from irritating and unclean, to extremely dangerous for your health. It can be difficult to pinpoint where the dust is coming from, but it is important to know so you can maintain a clean and safe operating environment. Oftentimes, bulk bag discharge is a place processors overlook as a point of dust creation. Typically equipment and bag manufacturers’ offer dust mitigation equipment from material storage and discharge.
Dust can sometimes get through leaks in the equipment, so it is important when selecting a bulk bag unloader to address those areas, and pay attention to proper sizing and selection of equipment. A significant source of dusting can come from removing and handling the bags improperly.
It is important to also understand important information regarding bulk density of the material you are working with as the inaccurate component selection for the type and bulk density of the material is another reason for dusting issues, as is the sizing and selection of the bag and spout.
The accuracy of this information is crucial to effectively designing a bulk bag unloader for your application, but also to mitigate dusting.
As far as equipment options for controlling dust, there are Dust Collection Systems and stand-alone pieces, like the one from Hapman that reduces material waste and eliminates the need to constantly clean. “Dust is naturally generated when material is emptied from bags, boxes, drums, and other containers, into a collection hopper. Hapman’s Dust Collector features a self-contained filtration system, allowing for 99.9% retention efficiency down to 1 micron,” notes Hapman’s Product Manager, Steve Grant.
Of course, which dust collection system is needed will depend on the type and volume of dust created with an area or plant. It will also depend on what type of material you are processing, as well as the operating environment. Particle pollution is something that takes place when you are without a dust collector, or dust collection system. It is particle matter in the air that is a mixt of solid and liquid droplets. The particles can come in a wide-range of sizes. Any that are less than 10 micrometers in diameter are so tiny that they can get into your lungs, which could create serious problems.
While eliminating dust in bulk material handling operations has always been a challenge for processors, there are ways to do so with the proper equipment in place. Controlling dust either with a stand-alone unit, or a collection system can help ensure compliance, while most importantly, keeping your workers safe.