While all combustible dust presents a hazard in some way, operations that deal with mass amounts of dust face significant challenges in providing safe environments for workers. Flammable particles can drift upward and accumulate on suspended ceilings or pose a fire hazard on surfaces elsewhere. Even machines themselves can pose a risk if they’re not engineered with dust-explosion-proof measures.
As an industry leader in combustible dust mitigation, Delfin offers an extensive catalog of certified industrial vacuums and dust collection accessories. We’ve put together this post to help you better understand the dangers of combustible dust and how you can be more efficient in your dust collection process.
Combustible Dust 2021 Statistics from Dust Safety Science
According to the Dust Safety Science Combustible Dust Report 2021, fire and explosion incidents remained at similar numbers as the 2020 report. In other words, there was very little improvement made year-to-year.
Worldwide, industries handling combustible dust saw 51 fire events and 28 explosion events with a total of 44 injuries and eight fatalities. That’s nearly one fire per week and at least two explosions per month across all industries. Of these incidents, the food industry saw a significant portion.
One tragic example: 10 workers were injured and three were killed in an explosion at a potato starch plant in Singapore in late February. Following the event, the Singapore Ministry of Manpower conducted an evaluation of combustible dust hazards across nearly 500 companies. Of those companies, three were issued stop-work orders for having had inadequate control measures amid serious combustion risks.
4 Ways to Achieve Better Efficiency in Combustible Dust Mitigation
While the core principles remain the same, combustible dust solutions are regularly evolving to adhere to safety standards and protect workers. Sometimes the change is a matter of federal compliance, sometimes operations themselves transform and need to adapt for a better approach.
#1 Collect Combustible Dust in Bulk With Endless Bags
Endless bags are a safe way to collect bulk dust. For workers in manufacturing plants, a drawback of routine dust upkeep is the ongoing demand to change out and dispose of industrial vacuum bags. Unlike individual, disposable bags, endless bags secure dust in place and may be adjusted as per the needs of the vacuum operator.
These bags are engineered for long-term use while ensuring combustible dust containment. They’re made of 3-layer coextruded polyethylene—a thickness of 68 microns—and are 22 meters long. They can also be stored in extreme temperatures while maintaining material integrity and have a multi-year shelf life.
#2 Install a Central Vacuum System
Large shops and manufacturing plants working with combustible dust may want to consider installing a central vacuum system (CVS). In a CVS setup, separate ports are installed throughout the facility for immediate suction during cleaning phases.
This means workers can quickly and efficiently remove combustible dust and prevent accumulation. CVS installations may also include direct extraction on machinery and pre-separators for removing solids from dust.
#3 Consider Using Three-Phase Industrial Vacuum Cleaners
Three-phase industrial vacuums complement continuous use operations where power is in high demand. This is because three-phase power allows less voltage through each wire, dropping heat transfer and accommodating higher loads.
While a single-phase vacuum is just as safe and efficient at collecting combustible dust, three-phase vacuums provide the extra support combustible dust industries need for 24-hour cycles. That said, the right vacuum for your operation will depend on a multitude of factors – certification requirements and filtering process among them.
#4 Anti-Static Filtration & Filter Cleaning Systems
Speaking of filters, anti-static filters should be used in combustible dust-laden operations. This will help further prevent disasters from dust ignition. You’ll also want to look for intuitive (or automatic) filter cleaning systems in your vacuum and dust collection equipment.
Intuitive filtration cleaning systems support the operator in several ways. Most importantly, they increase worker efficiency while making it easier to prevent the dangers of combustible dust.
Industrial Dust Collection & Vacuum Systems
Delfin provides customized solutions for dust collection challenges across a wide range of industries. That includes pharmaceutical plants, food and agriculture manufacturing, chemical processing, and many more.
Check out our educational resources to learn more about combustible dust and our aim to improve your industry’s dust collection methods. You can also reach out online or give us a call for more information.