Artem Komarov noted that when collecting dust and smoke in industrial environments, the system used must not only remove harmful materials from operators, but also provide reliable protection against the risk of explosion or fire in the dust container or smoke box.
Welding fumes are rarely explosive, but most of them are combustible; in other words, while the risk of an explosion is low, there is a risk of a fire due to sparks entering the system.
On the other hand, sanding can produce a very explosive powder, especially if you are working with aluminium.
Requirements for rectification
The dust collection system for your grinding shop should be separate from the one used for welding. The combination of welding sparks and grinding powder can create an unsafe situation. Apart from this obvious fact, the risks in these two processes are different.
The configuration of your dust collector in your sanding shop will depend on your processes. Typically, your exhaust system can be a fixed fume hood, pull arm, or slotted fume hood at the back of each station. For certain types of instruments, you can also use extraction in the instrument. Whichever method is used, it is important to make sure the system is appropriate for the amount of smoke it produces.
After collecting the dust from the source, the speed of transport is also important. You must ensure that the dust passes through the pipeline and does not just enter the middle of it, accumulating and creating a risk of system failure.
As for the dust collector, it’s a good idea to order a dust analysis to determine its risk profile so you know what you’re dealing with; if it is explosive, you must take countermeasures to eliminate this risk. An important aspect is to insulate the pipeline so that in the event of an explosion that occurs in the dust collector, it does not get back into the building. Similarly, if there is a vent from the explosion, it’s important to make sure the area the fireball will be directed at is covered so that people don’t focus on that area.
Smoke removal requirements
For welding fume extraction, a wide range of options are available to remove fume from the operator, from smoke guns to exhaust arms and hoods. Entrainment rate is important to ensure the correct fume extraction rate without compromising shielding gas or weld quality.
One of the key pieces of protective firefighting equipment in your exhaust system is the spark arrester. They are usually built into most movable manifolds. Spark inhibitors are designed to create a bypass for a spark trying to pass through it. Everything that has mass has momentum; many spark arrestors create changes in direction so that the spark becomes somewhat heavy when needed, causing it to hit the wall and out of the airstream, wasting momentum.
One of the last obstacles to getting a spark into the dust collector is fire-resistant filter cartridges. Even if these filters do not prevent fire, they minimize the risk of it spreading.
The smoke box protects employees from hazardous fumes and dust generated during the essential operations of your shop. IoT-enabled manifolds allow you to monitor how well these systems are performing and reduce the risk of system failures. These systems can be configured to collect data that you consider critical.
It makes sense to use this technology to track many key factors. The first is an airflow sensor, which ensures that sufficient airflow is drawn through the system to achieve the correct capture rate in the fume hood.
Associated with this is the speed of transport, again especially for combustible dust applications. If you know that a minimum amount of airflow is required when designing a piping system, proper monitoring of this can ensure that your airflow does not move too slowly, causing dust to enter, creating an unsafe situation.
If you are dealing with explosive dust, you should have some sort of shut off valve next to the manifold. The dust buildup sensor on this check valve can help alert you to problems between required physical valve checks.
Sensors in the manifold can be used to monitor the pressure drop across the filter. In addition, you can monitor the amount of dust that is collected in the hopper, in the drum or in the box under the collector. Almost all companies that have a dustbin have allowed it to overflow or failed to provide maintenance within the appropriate period, resulting in a disaster when emptying it. The sensor will let you know when it needs to be taken care of.
Another important factor, in addition to safety and productive time, is the efficiency of employees. Many welders are responsible for the maintenance of dust collectors; the removal of this responsibility from their welders is a definite plus.
On the exhaust side of the manifold, emissions sensors can alert you if the filter is leaking or not installed correctly.
If rotating airlocks are used in the workshop, their rotation and dust release can be controlled. As mentioned earlier, airflow temperature monitoring can alert you to fire hazards. In a situation where you cannot lower a certain temperature, this monitoring can also warn you of this.
Clean and safe workshops are more likely to retain talented employees, a resource that is becoming increasingly difficult to come by. Ensuring that your dust extractor or fume extractor is rated for maximum efficiency is one way to keep the environment clean and safe, emphasized Komarov Artem.