Why Should I Use Leak Detection Powder?

Leak detection powder is used in leak testing procedures during regular dust collector maintenance or when troubleshooting potential emissions issues. Leak tests can be conducted as part of periodic preventive maintenance or in the event that a noticeable drop or change in the differential pressure of the system occurs. The application of leak detection powder works to help identify the source leaks in any filter bag, but also to test for leaks after a new filter has been installed or after a filter change out.

Industrial dust collectors are found in factories and manufacturing environments, processing plants, and production facilities of all sizes. The systems are specifically designed to collect, separate, and filter harmful particles and dust produced in the work or natural environment from the air. A properly designed, well-maintained dust collector can remove particulate contaminants from ambient plant air and plant exhaust stacks with 99.9% efficiency. To ensure that dust collector systems are operating at peak efficiency at all times, emissions monitoring or scheduled leak testing ensures filters are functioning as designed and that the media has not prematurely failed.

Leak Testing
Regular leak testing should be performed as an ongoing diagnostic evaluation by system operators. Routine, even daily, emissions monitoring is a common predictive maintenance measure that makes sure that the dust collection system is working. Dust collectors come in various designs with varying filtration media. Nonetheless, all filters can be subjected to types of erosion, abrasion, chemical degradation, and so on. Visual emissions monitoring can detect or identify problem areas in the material causing performance issues. It may be as obvious as seeing excessive emissions leaking out a pea-sized perforation in the filter material, causing a drop in pressure or failure.

Though visual monitoring of emissions is important, it cannot always guarantee to locate a leak or, more importantly, all the leaks in the filtration system. There may be more than one leak causing the change in differential pressure that is undetected during a visual inspection. To additionally test for leaking, system operators introduce a tracer compound into the system. Referred to as leak detection powder, the compound safely assesses a system’s emissions performance. The powder will identify whether there are any damaged areas and determine if there are any filter leaks.

The Leak Detection Process
Leak detection powder is a very fine, fluorescent tracing compound substance applied to the interior of the filters for testing purposes. As the powder begins to flow through the system, it leaves a residue of trace amounts on any material that has come in contact with the powder. Once the powder has been thoroughly applied, the system is taken offline for visual inspection with a specialized black light. Visual inspection is conducted by a certified technician who examines the clean air side of the collector. Upon inspection, any fluorescent powder passed or sifted through affected areas becomes brightly illuminated and will glow under the blacklight.

The technician checks the entire system with the black light—filter bags, seals, tube sheets, or any other potential areas where unwanted emission may be occurring. The inspection will reveal and detect small tears, holes, or worn areas in the filter material that need corrective attention. Once all the areas in the system have been examined and any problems corrected and addressed, the system can be put online and further evaluated to make sure it is functioning properly.

An industrial dust collector is a major capital investment for any company. Operations and facility managers should establish a regular maintenance schedule to ensure optimal performance and longevity of the dust collection system. Routine dust collector maintenance procedures will provide unfailing operation of the system for years.

One important step in any maintenance program is periodic leak testing of the system utilizing leak detection powder. Whether troubleshooting or routine maintenance, leak detection inspections will keep production downtime and maintenance costs to a minimum.

CPEF provides a range of dust collection system maintenance and testing services. We also stock leak seeker powder, fluorescent dye for blacklight leak testing of new installations and troubleshooting of emissions from existing installations.