Dust containment is a primary concern for many of our customers when it comes to conveying their products. The consequences of not addressing this issue can be severe, ranging from fire and explosion hazards to unexpected downtime and difficulties in cleaning. Implementing effective dust containment measures can improve manual handling efficiency and reduce the amount of product lost to the air.
Check out how our equipment helped a pharmaceutical company to eliminate dust & streamline material handling.
Dust is a Health & Safety Issue
Dust is a serious health and safety issue in the workplace. Employees exposed to dust can experience immediate effects such as eye irritation, headaches, coughing, and sneezing. Prolonged exposure to poor indoor air quality can also lead to serious long-term health effects and lower employee performance, resulting in prolonged absences. Using dust-tight conveying and bulk bagging equipment is crucial in improving air quality, especially for products prone to dusting challenges.
What Causes Dust Containment Issues?
- Bulk Bag Design
- Bulk bags must be designed specifically for dust containment to prevent dust emissions. Without proper containment, particles can escape through the bag’s fabric, creating the appearance of smoke.
- Onset of Product Flow
- The release of the outlet spout during the start of product flow can cause dust emissions. The bulk bag unloader must handle the sudden rush of material during the closed phase to prevent the updraft of dust-laden air. Proper extraction is essential to prevent dust release into the atmosphere.
- Product Flow
- Your bulk bag unloader must maintain dust extraction during the entire discharge cycle. You want to ensure no movement compromises the seal required for proper dust containment.
- Emptying Bulk Bag Removal
- Dust can still be present in an ’empty’ bulk bag. If the outlet spout is not re-tied, dust-laden air will escape into the plant area during disposal. Be careful when handling the empty bag to prevent folding or compressing, which can release dust-laden air. Use a suitable Standard Operating Procedure, and consider using purpose-built bulk bag folders to make the process dust-free. Your bulk bag unloader should support your SOP.
How Can We Overcome these Dust Containment Issues?
- Material Testing
- To ensure that the bulk bag unloader suits your application, have the supplier test your product in the equipment, specifically focusing on dust control and containment capabilities. Learn more about Spiroflow’s testing facilities here.
- Bulk Bag Design
- Proper bulk bag selection is crucial for dust containment during the unloading process. Coated fabric or polyethylene liners can prevent product sifting, and inlet-spouted bags should be used for dusty materials.
- Integral Dust Collection
- Bulk bag unloaders can be designed with integral dust collection systems or ports to tie into a plant-wide system for discharging dusty materials. Learn more about dust control here.
- Dust Bag Seating
- Installing a full bulk bag in the frame of the bulk bag unloader can cause unwanted material dusting. A dust-tight docking seal built into the base of the unloader can significantly help mitigate dusting. Learn more about how we design our dust bags with a docking seal here.
- Bulk Bag Tensioning
- Proper tensioning of the bulk bag and liner is necessary to discharge the complete contents of each bag and prevent residual material from increasing dusting and spillage during bag removal.
- Enclosed Access Chamber
- Nearly half of all spillage and dusting occurs during the bag spout untying. Enclosing the bag spout access chamber and keeping it under slight negative pressure can minimize dusting issues and contain spillage. A glove box arrangement should be considered for hazardous material applications.
- Sanitary Spout Docking
- Positive spout docking arrangements ensure complete product containment and efficient bag stretching. This design option can be used with or without an access chamber.
- ‘Empty’ Bulk Bag Removal
- Tying off the bag spout tightly before bag removal is imperative to prevent dusting. A ‘bag collapsing’ feature that utilizes a dust collector to evacuate the bag can rid the environment of suspended dust. Learn more about how we installed a bulk bag unloader for an adhesives company to help reduce dust emission.
- Downstream Process Optimization
- Allowing sufficient time for the operator to perform each necessary step in the bulk bag unloading process is essential. Strategic time buffers throughout the process can eliminate downtime and allow for a dust-free operation.
We provide various dust control options for our equipment, including dust-tight mechanical conveyors such as Cablevey tubular drag conveyors, aero-mechanical conveyors, and flexible screw conveyors. Our mechanical conveyor comparison chart can help you choose the best conveyor for your product, or you can contact us to discuss your needs.