Companies are increasingly prioritizing the development and maintenance of safe and environmentally responsible working conditions. Government rules and regulations are strictly adhered to, and the essential health of employees is paramount. Processors of dust-sensitive products also understand the benefits and necessity of removing, minimising and managing dust emissions to achieve a healthy working environment. For example, a processor of soya beans and rapeseed in the Rotterdam port area equipped a number of loading points in its bulk terminal with sustainable de-dusting equipment supplied by Dust Control Partners (DCP). “Previously, it wasn't really possible to enter the room without respiratory protection. Now, the dust is extracted at source and returns back into the production flow,” says Henrik Baas, account manager at DCP.
The project in the port of Rotterdam can quite rightly be called unique. In order to achieve optimal extraction, DCP has fitted four loading points with four custom-made spot filters in the very limited available space. In order to ensure the de-dusting systems would fit, several modifications were made to the design. For example, the filter access doors have been customised, and a compact compressed air cleaning system has been incorporated. As a result, and despite the limited space, optimal de-dusting capacity has nevertheless been achieved. An advanced controller, fitted with Profibus for remote monitoring, ensures that the filter is cleaned while in operation. The friction across the system remains virtually unchanged during this process.
Reuse of residual product
“When a product falls from one conveyor belt to another, a cloud of dust forms. The actual product is valuable, which means that it is desirable to have as minimal a loss as possible. A fan is used to suck the dust cloud into the filter, where the dust is separated from the air flow”, the account manager explains. As a result of the filter cleaning, the dust that settles on the filter elements falls back into the production flow. DCP's customised, sustainable solution ensures that virtually all of the extracted product is ultimately reused. “In addition, the filters are in a so-called ATEX 22 zoned environment. The filters are configured in such a way that there are no ignition sources. This means, for example, that no sparks are created by the fan, and the filter elements are not electrostatically charged. Due to the use of blow-off silencers, noise emission is minimal”.
Corrosion caused by salty sea air
Dust Control Partners not only focuses on the installation and maintenance of their own de-dusting equipment, they also inspect and maintain existing filter installations of other manufacturers on request. This involves a comprehensive analysis, in which not only the dust filter, but the entire de-dusting system is inspected. Experience has shown that over the years several additional connections may have been added to what had been a well-functioning pipeline network. The result? Extraction not working optimally due to incorrectly installed modifications. In these cases, even small adjustments can ensure that the complete system will perform properly again. The old filters in the Rotterdam bulk terminal were experiencing a reduced life cycle, as they were no longer operating correctly. Refurbishing would not have been cost effective.
“Within the Bulk Terminal, we have many loading points, where work such as cleaning, inspection and sampling regularly takes place near conveyor belts. Due to the modest efficiency of the old dust filters, the amount of dust in the rooms regularly created an undesirable situation, such as poor working conditions and the risk of dust explosions. Additionally, we wanted to remove the dust filters from the roofs and install everything inside the building. In the event of damaged filter fabric, there is no direct emission to the outside air”, according to a spokesperson for the Rotterdam processor. In addition, the salty sea air had corroded the equipment over the years. By installing the new filters indoors, they now have a longer lifespan, more efficient extraction through direct extraction at source and maintenance is easier and safer, as technicians no longer need to go onto the roof.
Many companies are aware that removing, minimizing and managing dust emissions will result in a healthier working environment. Nevertheless, selecting the correct method of dust extraction to match the production process is often underestimated, even though this is just as important. It prevents excessive damage to machines, the production process becomes more efficient and more profitable, and the unwanted downtime of a production line or even of an entire factory is avoided. Initially, the investment in de-dusting equipment may seem high. However, when you consider the overall picture of a production process, correctly configured dust extraction delivers more than you would have at first thought. There is a good reason that Dust Control Partners offers a wide range of industrial de-dusting equipment.
“We are not an unwieldy, large organisation, where customers can choose their complete de-dusting installation from a brochure. DCP provides specialist customization, we take care of the entire process from engineering right up to and including commissioning. We have the expertise, and are part of the TBK Group, enabling us to combine different disciplines within the group. Think, for example, of conveyor belt seals, tracker rollers, belt scrapers and industrial sieves. This allows us to offer a total solution in the field of dust control across a variety of situations. “Our broad expertise in the handling of bulk goods, combined with an open dialogue with our customers, means that we can offer that little bit extra”, concludes Baas.