System Design Considerations
Dust – A Common Enemy
We are all familiar with dust – it is everywhere. Perhaps what we are not so familiar with are the dangers that dust poses in the manufacturing environment.
It has been known for a long time that continually inhaled dust from such materials as coal or asbestos can cause chronic and debilitating lung diseases such as emphysema and cancer. It has also been known for a long time that suspended particles in the atmosphere can cause some of the most violent explosions known.
Examples in the work place and industry include dust produced from mining, agriculture, food processing, pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, plastics and metal processing.
Pneutrans, because of its interests in manufacturing has an interest in the elimination of dust produced from manufacturing industries. Although Pneutrans is concerned about health issues in terms of adequate filtration and non-release of particles into the atmosphere, the primary concern is with safety issues surrounding potential explosions.
The primary factors for a dust explosion are: oxygen, heat, dust particle concentration, and dispersion and confinement of the mixture. Heat may come from a number of sources including that from an electric spark. Such sparks may be initiated electrostatically. As such explosions like this are called ‘primary explosions’. So-called ‘secondary explosions’ come from accumulated dust on floors, structures, machinery, walls, pipes, beams, etc – in other words from surfaces that have not been cleaned. Explosion detection and suppression equipment is an important part of any collection system. It is mandatory that such equipment be tested and certified by a third party qualified to do so. Pneutrans Systems Ltd. Is well aware of its obligations in all these areas and safety is always a primary concern.