How Do Industrial Dust Collectors Work?

An industrial dust collector is a type of air pollution control equipment used in factories, plants, warehouses and other industrial or commercial settings to meet environmental and workplace safety requirements. Effective dust collection systems control, reduce, and remove potentially harmful particulate matter and fumes from gases from a manufacturing process or the air and the surrounding environment during production and manufacturing. The equipment is specifically designed to purify and filter hazardous dust and fine particulate contaminant matter released into the work environment or atmosphere to maintain and improve air quality.

Types of pollutants can differ by industry. Therefore, industrial dust collector designs are specific to the extraction method required for each industry. Dust collector systems work in general by drawing dust and particulates from the air through a filter that first captures and separates the matter, and then discharges purified air back into the workplace or environment. The objective of each design application is essentially the same—to filter, separate, and capture dust and particulate matter and release sanitized air.

Basic components of dust collectors include a blower, dust filter, filter cleaning system, dust receptacle and dust removal system. Five common types of dust collection equipment are fabric filter baghouses, inertial separators (like mechanical cyclones), cartridge collectors, wet scrubbers, and electrostatic precipitators.

Baghouse dust collectors come in various designs and are the most commonly used system because of their 99% efficiency.

Dust collection is critical to a number of industrial sectors such as woodworking, agriculture,  food processing, pharmaceutical, recycling, cement and rock products, metal fabrication, mining, and chemical processing among many others. Dust collectors referred to as filter receivers are essential parts of processing systems in many thermal and size reduction applications and as receivers for pneumatic conveying.

Popular Dust Collection Systems

Shaker Dust Collectors
Shaker dust collectors are a shake-cleaning baghouse system. The system either cleans off-line when the airflow is temporarily halted or sections the baghouse into compartments. A compartmented design offers continuous cleaning of the unit as a whole while allowing for the individual compartments to be taken offline for servicing. These units are common where it is impractical to supply compressed air for bag cleaning, as in foundries, steel mills, the mining industry, power plants, and smelting industries. They are also used where dry material is stored in silos and other bulk storage containers.

Pulse Jet Dust Collectors
Pulse jet dust collectors are another kind of baghouse system that comes in a variety of designs to meet the application needs of the industry. The bag cleaning system operates via a rapid, high-pressure air jet cleaning which sends a blast or shock of air through the bag that shatters and discharges the dust cake for disposal. The rapid pulse of air allows for continuous operation with the fan running, and because of it the system is not generally compartmentalized. Pulse jet models are the most common type of industrial dust collectors, due to their ability to be easily customized, capability to handle a wide range of temperatures and pressures, and their high collection efficiency.  They can be found in most manufacturing environments wherein bulk solids are processed, including chemical and mineral production, food processing plants and metal fabrication. Pulse jet collectors can be fabricated from a wide range of materials, including carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, Inconel, Hastelloy and other special alloys.

Cartridge Collectors
For certain applications, cartridge collectors are a type of fabric filter designed for specific applications. They offer an advantage where smaller space requirements are necessary for the same airflow of a larger baghouse system. Cartridge collectors pack more fabric area into a smaller space, utilize fewer filters, and filters can be changed from outside the collector, which minimizes safety hazards. These features also reduce the time to change the filters and associated labor costs. Find cartridge collectors in commercial and industrial environments with very fine-to-light dust and moderate dust-like powder coating, metalworking, woodworking, fume collection, thermal spray, pharmaceutical manufacturing, among other processes.

Cyclone Dust Collectors
Cyclone dust collectors are a type of inertial separator that separates dust from a gas stream through centrifugal force. Air is purified by creating a cyclonic action within the cyclone collection chamber. An intense circular airflow resembling a vortex pushes the dust particles against the wall of the cyclone, which slide down to the base of the hopper for collection. Cyclone systems can remove heavier and oversized particles that mix in with fine dust. They are often used as pre-cleaners before baghouses. Cyclones are often used in woodworking, pulp and paper, shot blasting, mills, grain and agriculture, recycling plants, and many other industries, especially when particles are over 20 microns in size.

Electrostatic Precipitators
Electrostatic precipitators are used to separate soot, ash, and dust particles from exhaust gases using static electricity. Operating on the same principle as an Ionic air purifier, electrostatic forces negatively charge airborne particles while they flow through an ionized field between the electrodes within a chamber. Once the particles are charged they are a positively charged electrode where they are captured. Electrostatic precipitators are found at industrial power plants that burn fossil fuels such as oil and coal for electricity.