Russell Hutchinson advises on how to ensure you get the correct air filtration system for your facility
As different types of waste generate different levels of dust and/or odour, there is unfortunately no ‘one-size fits all’ air filtration solution for effective dust management. In order to ensure the best possible system is installed you must first clearly define the problems you are experiencing and the results you want to achieve. This may sound obvious, but if not carried out correctly it can lead to only a partial resolution of your problems and a possible waste of valuable resource.
Objectives for individual businesses will of course be dependent on the level of dust accumulation and the resultant issues. For facilities with reasonable levels of dust you may want to improve the air quality throughout the whole facility. But in facilities where high levels of airborne dust are affecting employee welfare it may be necessary to target problem areas where working conditions are particularly poor. Or overall cleanliness and machinery downtime may be a priority, or perhaps excessive levels of odour and humidity. Whatever the problems, if these can be clearly defined at the outset along with the desired outcome it will help ensure the correct system is specified.
A full understanding of the facility set-up will also help. In general, the main areas for dust generation within recycling facilities are the unloading bays and the sorting lines. So before embarking on the installation of an air filtration system it is important to ensure basic good practice is carried out within these areas to minimise the levels of dust generated. This ensures specific problems areas can be correctly identified and the appropriate remedial action taken.
Having defined the objectives the air filtration units must then be positioned to ensure optimum results. Unlike local exhaust systems which simply extract the air, air filtration systems filter the air to remove the contaminants. As such clean air is then forced back into the environment ensuring an immediate reduction in airborne contamination.
Units are specified according to air volume, so if an overall reduction of dust is required the units must be placed throughout the whole facility, whereas when employee welfare or a specific piece of machinery is the top priority, then the units are installed immediately above the affected area to ensure maximum dust extraction.
Air filtration units can be floor, ceiling or wall mounted which means they are quick and easy to install and also flexible to accommodate changes within the plant. It is however beneficial to consider any future plans for modification before installation to ensure the most appropriate units are used.
Facilities suffering with odour issues will need air filtration units that are fitted with an additional active carbon filter. The carbon filter assists with the neutralisation of odour and can be adjusted to meet individual requirements. For those also suffering with high humidity, air filtration systems provide a welcome side-effect. By mixing the air and the humidity within the building they lower high peaks and equalise the humidity levels throughout the whole building for a more comfortable working environment.
With each facility having its own individual set of requirements, to ensure you get the most effective dust management solution for your plant it is best to contact a reputable air filtration system provider. They should offer you a free on-site dust monitoring survey and will assist you in setting and meeting your objectives. By taking advantage of this service you will be sure to improve the working environment for your employees, as well as the operational efficiency of your plant for the future.
Russell Hutchinson is team leader at Zehnder Clean Air Solutions