The Importance of Choosing the Right Size Dust Collector

In industrial environments, choosing the best dust collector should not be guided simply by the size of the unit. Installing an ill-fitting, undersized, or too large of a dust collector can lead to a number of issues all of which relate to performance and higher energy and maintenance costs. Therefore, the best dust collector is the one that is best-suited for a company’s specific work environment. Its importance cannot be understated. It must provide clean air to ensure a safe working environment. This improves employee efficiency and production, increases employee retention, preserves equipment that in turn lowers equipment maintenance and replacement costs.

Airborne Particles

Most industrial environments can create a range of airborne particles; from sub-micron sized particles to dust to large pieces of material waste like plastic or wood. Some, but not all, particles, dust, and airborne debris may be laden with hazardous by-products that present safety and health issues. Industrial dust collection systems are used to clear, filter and clean the discharged air inside and outside of plants in operations that generate particulate matter, create fumes, or smoke.

Choosing the right size dust collector then, will make sure the system is efficient at capturing particulate matter. Dust collector sizing is dependent on a number of factors, with the airflow volume (CFM) and the air-to-cloth ratio being two of the more important ones that determine the efficiency of a system and the kind of system to install.

Airflow Volume

A dust collector’s airflow volume is measured by the amount of air filtered in Cubic Feet per Minute—its CFM. CFM is the common standard for measurement of airflow in HVAC-related systems, especially air conditioning and heating, but also ventilation environments that require dust collection and filtration. A barometer of efficiency in all dust collector applications is the CFM.

Essentially, CFM is measured by how much air a dust collector can move each minute. One of the keys for choosing the best dust collector for an enclosure is in calculating its CFM requirements, which are determined by the size of the space that is to be filtered and the quantity of dust which is produced.
In high-production manufacturing facilities that produce large volumes of particles, dust, and fumes, the air must be turned over faster than plants that generate a low volume of particulates in the air. A dust collector with higher CFM requires a dust collector with larger blowers and motors, usually resulting in higher initial capital costs, higher energy usage, increased energy costs, a greater area needed for air filtration cloth media, and disrupt the filtration process of the application. On the other hand, when the volume of a system is too low, air filtration is inefficient, will not filter dust effectively, which has the subsequent negative impact on production, reducing air quality, and reducing the life cycle of a dust collector unit.

Air-to-Cloth Ratio

The system’s filter velocity, its air-to-cloth ratio, is another measure in determining which dust collector is best suited for a facility. The air-to-cloth ratio is measured by the amount of air passing through each square foot of filter media per minute. It is calculated by dividing the amount of airflow, the CFM, by the size of filter media in the dust collector. For example, with an airflow measured at 4,000 CFM using 2,000 square feet of filter media the dust collector’s air-to-cloth ratio is 2:1.

Manufacturing plants and facilities that generate higher volumes of dust and particulates need more filter media than facilities producing lower particulate matter. The more particulates per each cubic foot of air passing through a collector, the lower the air-to-cloth ratio will need to be. That is due to particulate matter being more concentrated. In source capture systems, a lower air-to-cloth ratio is required than in ambient systems.

In the long run, the right dust collector unit will save money and time. Knowing the CFM and air-to-cloth ratio will ensure that the dust collector performs as required and the air quality is at an optimum level. Installing the right dust collector is beneficial to employee health, and will also minimize equipment and operating costs.

Contact the Experts at CPE Filters

Whether you are dealing with heavy dusts, light and stringy materials, or sub-micron particles, CPE Filters can custom tailor a dust collection system with proper air-to-cloth ratios, the right filter media and velocities required to efficiently collect and retrieve your product or dust. Contact us today to get started!