Many industrial processes such as grinding and welding produce dust made of different particulates. As a result of the nature of these materials, they can pose a health risk to workers who inhale it. Furthermore, reports show that the majority of indoor air has up to five times more pollutants than outdoor air. Therefore, workers who expose to this air are at risk of suffering from headaches, respiratory problems. More severe and long term exposure can lead to irreversible issues such as cancer.
How can we improve industrial air quality?
To curb the risk from pollutants in industrial processes, we should use dust and particle filtration systems. Dust and particle filtration systems refer to systems that we use to separate particles with dust from air or gas. This system is specifically designed to handle large volumes of dust loads released from commercial and industrial processes. Typically, an industrial dust collector system comprises of a dust filter, a blower, dust removal system, and a filter cleaning system.
What are dust are particle filtration systems for?
We can use dust collector systems to separate difficult dust properties from the air. Difficult dust properties refer to dust particles that are difficult to handle or separate. In case there is a mixture of liquid and solid particles, it can be described as difficult dust properties.
Dust particles can also be said to be difficult to separate if the particles have a small sticking efficiency. In addition to this, particles with poor flowability which we cannot remove from separator or collecting surfaces are said to be difficult dust properties. Depending on the particle shape and size including flowability, different types of dust collectors can be used. For example, we can use cyclones to remove conductive particles like diesel soot from gases. A wet scrubber may be used to remove small flow rate particles in case it is not economically feasible to use electrostatic precipitators. The following are the five main types of dust collector systems that we use in industrial processes:
Cyclones are mechanical dust separators that use centrifugal force to remove high and large volumes of dust particles from industrial applications. We use cyclonic separation to eliminate particulates like dust and dirt from gas, air or liquid. We are then able to use a hydrocyclone to eliminate particulate matter from the liquid. On the other hand, we often utilise a gas cyclone while removing particulate matter from gas. We will only use cyclones in industrial applications if particles are bigger than 1-10. Dust contaminated air enters the mechanical unit via the air inlet and flows in a helical pattern before ending at the bottom end of the unit. Inside the inner cylinder, clean air is carried and discharged to the atmosphere.
2. Electrostatic precipitators
Commonly abbreviated as ESP, electrostatic precipitators are filtration devices that we use in industrial applications to remove fine particles such as smoke and dust from a stream of gas. Typically, we use electrostatic precipitators for dust or smoke particles that are greater than 1. An ESP usually consists of different elements that include an ionizing source, dust removal method, an external enclosure, and power supply. This device also has two inlets that serve different purposes. One inlet allows polluted air to enter the device while the other discharges clean air into the atmosphere. The elements in an ESP work together to eliminate dust from the air, store removed dust and discharge clean air. The electrostatic force is the primary force that we use in an electrostatic precipitator.
3. Wet scrubber
A wet scrubber is a type of dust collector that uses liquid to remove pollutants from gas streams. Usually, the polluted gas comes into contact with the scrubbing liquid so that the pollutants can be removed. The greater the contact of the scrubbing liquid and gas, the higher the dust removal efficiency. Thanks to their versatility and method of production, wet scrubbers can differ in ways which allow maximum contact of the polluted gas stream and scrubbing liquid. This device removes dust particles from polluted gases by capturing the dust in liquid droplets. You can use a wet scrubber that relies on a low energy power in order to collect particles larger than 5. While high energy wet scrubbers are more suitable for small particles of 1 or less.
4. Fabric filters
Fabric filters are devices that we can use to eliminate particulate matter from a gas stream by passing it through a cloth. This air pollution control device traps particulate matter on the fabric surface while clean air can pass. Also known as baghouses, fabric filters are particulate removal devices for use in industrial applications. The ability of a fabric filter to collect micrometer or submicrometer of particles depends on the accumulated dust and not the fabric. Even if the size of the particle is very small, a fabric filter can achieve a particulate collection efficiency of 99 percent or more.
5. High-temperature filtration
We can use glass fiber materials on commercial scale for high-temperature filtration. Other high-temperature filtration elements available today include metal and ceramic. For metal elements, it can operate at a maximum temperature of 600 degrees Celsius depending on the grade of steel used. For ceramic elements, temperature range can go higher than 850 degrees Celsius. It is important to take into consideration the high rate of chemical reactions while operating high-temperature filtration equipment.