Industrial Dust Collector

One Tough Dust Collector. Countless Applications.

Senturion is a cartridge-style industrial dust collector built around you.

Senturion is the most flexible and versatile industrial dust collector on the market today. Our unique modular system allows us to rapidly design and build a dust collection system tailored to your exact specifications—while saving project costs and timelines. And Senturion is built tough for endurance and high performance in challenging environments.

  • Flexible
  • Modular
  • Space-Saving
  • Tough

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Senturion Dust Collector

Customized Dust Control. Fast Project Timelines.

How do we do it? Senturion is built on a revolutionary modular system with components that fit together like building blocks. This modular design allows us to create a dust collection system that can be adapted for virtually any dust or fume collection application, configured around the physical constraints of your facility. With our advanced filter technology, Senturion has the smallest footprint per CFM available.

  • Save floor space.
  • Reduce lead time for installation.
  • Reduce project costs.

Senturion Features

Senturion is ready to guard and protect against any type of particulate, from weld fume and abrasive blasting dust to plastic fines and pharmaceuticals. Get ready to meet the most flexible and versatile dust collector in the industry.

MAXIMUM DUST COLLECTION POWER IN A SMALLER FOOTPRINT

With our advanced filter technology, Senturion has the smallest footprint per CFM available—about 20% smaller than the competition.

  • Our advanced filter cartridge design allows us to reduce the number of cartridges needed.
  • The pulsing system maximizes pulsing efficiency along the entire length of the cartridge for longer filter life and easier maintenance.
  • Crossflow technology maximizes airflow and collection efficiency for the unit.

THE MOST VERSATILE DUST COLLECTOR IN THE INDUSTRY

Senturion will protect your workers and facilities from any type of particulate, from weld fume to abrasive blasting dust to plastic fines and pharmaceuticals. 

By changing out intake plenums, hoppers, explosion vents, after filters, and other elements, we can configure the unit for many different kinds of applications.

  • Thermal fumes (robotic or manual welding, laser or plasma cutting)
  • Bulk and powder applications (food processing, pharmaceutical, seed conditioning, batch mixing)
  • Highly abrasive dusts (wheel blasting, shot peening, surface mining)
  • Combustible dusts (sugar, flour and starch, metalworking)
  • Fine and ultra-fine particulate (plastic fines, graphite, fumed silica, carbon black)
  • Metalworking particulate
  • Woodworking and paper dust

AN INDUSTRIAL DUST COLLECTOR BUILT FOR SAFETY AND ENDURANCE

When we designed Senturion, we rethought everything about industrial dust collector design, from the way the components are manufactured, to the way it is shipped and assembled on site, to the way the unit is maintained.

We started by listening to our customers and their pain points with industrial dust collection. Then we designed a new unit from the ground up to eliminate those pain points. The result is Senturion: a revolutionary industrial dust collector that’s ready for anything.

  • Fast configuration, shipping and assembly. Modular frames and panels are always in stock, ship flat to your site, and are built for fast, easy assembly so we can get you up and running faster.
  • Durable housing for indoor/outdoor use. Built with 7- and 11-gauge steel and powder coated inside and out for superior weather, corrosion and explosion resistance and a longer unit life. Comes with a 15-year workmanship guarantee.
  • Smaller filter cartridges for a smaller unit footprint. Our Pleatlock filter design puts more media into the same space as a standard cartridge, allowing us to reduce the overall footprint of the unit by ~20% compared to competitor’s units with similar airflow. The smallest footprint the industry!
  • East-to-use controls. Our 7”, full-color control HMI dashboard is easy to see, easy to operate and easy to understand.
  • Snap-Lock filters for faster maintenance. No need to crawl inside the collector—just pull out the filter track and snap filters in and out with the quick-change tool provided. Hoppers are built for fast and easy disposal, too.
  • Crossflow technology and advanced pulsing system for longer filter life. Air is pulled into the chamber and across the filter cartridges for maximum capture efficiency. A differential pressure sensor automatically activates the pulsing system when filters are loaded.
  • Built-in fire suppression. Senturion can be equipped with a customizable dual-stage fire suppression system, including airflow dampers, sprinklers, CO2 suppressant system or a chemical fire suppression agent.
  • Explosion safety. Add explosion vents, isolation valves and rotary airlocks when working with combustible dusts. Superior housing strength means smaller explosion vents are needed. All components are designed and tested in accordance with NFPA and ASTM standards.
  • SafeSensor™ Particulate Monitor. This advanced particulate-monitoring device detects leaks past the filters and shuts the equipment down and triggers an alarm should one occur.
  • Quiet operation. We use a stack silencer to acoustically dampen excess fan noise for a quieter, more comfortable facility.

MODULAR SYSTEM BUILT FOR MAXIMUM FLEXIBILITY

The modular system is built from a few simple components for rapid installation, maximum flexibility and space savings. We just configure the cartridge frames to suit your application and then add the right combination of side panels, intakes, hoppers and other optional components.

  • Modular 2-cartidge or 4-cartridge frames can be used in any combination to size the dust collector up or down.
  • Frames can be configured in different ways to fit the dust collector into the required space.
  •  Side panels can be removed and replaced with explosion vents for combustible applications, allowing vents to be placed exactly where needed for maximum safety.
  • Intakes can be changed from standard, to abrasion-resistant, to full drop-out boxes for highly abrasive applications.
  • Choose from single or multiple pyramid hoppers depending on your dust volume requirements.
  • Add a HEPA after-filter for collection of ultra-fine particulate or a carbon-activated after-filter for odor, gas and vapor control.
  • Optimize fire suppression for your application, with choice of sprinkler system, CO2 suppression, or FM-200 chemical fire suppressant.
See Your Custom Senturion

Ready to see what your Senturion could look like? Contact RoboVent today to start building your custom dust collection system.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dust Collection

An industrial dust collection system collects and filters airborne dust, fumes and other contaminants created by industrial and commercial processes. It is used to improve indoor air quality (IAQ) and reduce worker exposure to hazardous or irritating airborne particulates. Industrial dust collectors keep companies in compliance with OSHA, EPA and other worker safety and environmental regulations by capturing particulate, collecting it for safe disposal, and returning clean, filtered air to the facility or the outdoors. The collector may be ducted to a point source of contaminants (such as a robotic weld cell, abrasive blasting booth or batch mixing operation) for a source capture dust collection solution. Alternatively, the dust collector may be used in an ambient air filtration system to clean air for the entire facility.

An industrial dust collector works by pulling in dirty air, filtering it and exhausting clean, filtered air. Air is pulled into the filter chamber by a blower. As air passes through the filters, particulate settles on the filter surface or is embedded into the filter media. Excess dust on the surface of the filters is blown off using a filter pulsing system and is collected in a dust tray or bin underneath the collector. Clean, filtered air is returned to the facility or exhausted to the outdoors. 

An industrial dust collector should be used in any environment where industrial or commercial processes produce hazardous or irritating dust, fumes or particulate. Many industrial processes (such as manual or robotic welding, metal cutting and grinding, surface preparation, food processing, pharmaceutical/nutraceutical production, abrasive blasting and surface mining) produce dust and fumes that are hazardous to workers. An industrial dust collector is generally required for: 

  • Dust and fumes that are hazardous to worker health
  • Combustible dusts 
  • Processes that produce large amounts of dust and fumes (even if not otherwise hazardous or combustible) 

OSHA and other agencies responsible for worker health and safety have created indoor air quality (IAQ) regulations that industrial and commercial companies must follow for the wellbeing of their employees. These include general IAQ standards, limits for exposure to general particulate (currently 15 mg/m3 on an 8-hour time-weighted average (TWA)) and specific permissible exposure limits (PELs) for hazardous substances such as hexavalent chromium, manganese, beryllium, fiber-reinforced plastic dust, food additives and pharmaceuticals. 

In some cases, a combination of industrial ventilation and standard HVAC filtration may keep dust levels low enough to meet these standards. However, for most industrial applications, a separate dust collection system is needed to adequately protect workers and meet regulatory requirements. If you are not sure whether your IAQ currently meets the standard, talk to us about our facility testing services.  

An industrial dust collector is used for any industrial or commercial process that produces hazardous or combustible dust or large amounts of dust and fumes of any type. Some of the most common applications for industrial dust collection include: 

  • Manual and robotic welding
  • Manual metalworking (cutting, grinding, polishing)
  • Laser or plasma cutting
  • Metal surface finishing 
  • Abrasive blasting (wheel blasting, shot peening, etc.) 
  • Wood cutting, grinding or finishing
  • Paper production, compounding, silo storage and material handling 
  • Pharmaceutical/nutraceutical production
  • Food processing
  • Glass production, processing or finishing 
  • Plastic production, processing or finishing 
  • Surface mining 
  • Recycling
  • Seed conditioning 
  • Bulk-and-powder/batch mixing 

The most common types of industrial dust collectors used in industry include cartridge-style dust collectors, baghouse (or fabric filter) dust collectors, inertial separators and oil mist collectors. 

  • Cartridge-style dust collectors use consumable cartridges filled with pleated filter media to filter particulate out of the airstream. They are the most commonly used style of industrial dust collector on the market today. The pleated media used for cartridge dust collectors provides excellent filtration for fine particulate. Cartridge dust collectors are compact and efficient, making them an excellent choice for indoor applications and confined spaces. 
  • Baghouse-style dust collectors use large fabric bags to capture particulate. Baghouse dust collectors are typically very large and accommodate much higher airflow than cartridge-style collectors. They are typically used for applications with very high volumes and coarser dust. 
  • Inertial separators use centrifugal, gravitational or inertial forces to separate particulate out of the airstream. Baffle chambers, settling chambers and centrifugal collectors are all examples of inertial separators. Inertial separators are best used for applications with coarse, heavy particulate that is not considered hazardous; they do not do a good job of removing fine respirable particulate. They may be used as a pre-cleaner to separate out courser materials before air enters a baghouse or cartridge dust collector. 
  • Oil mist collectors are used for collection of particulates that are mixed with oil or other liquids. They typically use a special filter called a coalescing filter, which allows liquids to collect on the surface until they form droplets large enough to fall off the filter into a collection bin. Applications involving metalworking fluids and other lubricants usually require the use of an oil mist collector. 

Cartridge dust collectors use consumable cartridges filled with pleated filter media to remove contaminants from the airstream. They are the most commonly used type of dust collector for industrial and commercial applications. Cartridge dust collectors are compact, efficient and suitable for a wide variety of applications. They can be installed inside or out and are suitable for use in confined spaces. 

Cartridge collectors can be sized for a variety of applications, from source capture for a single weld cell or manual welding booth to whole-facility dust collection. Filter cartridges are available with various MERV ratings, media types and coatings for different applications, including weld fume, metalworking dust, plastic fines, abrasive dust and other challenging dust types. 

Compared to baghouse collectors, cartridge dust collectors:

  • Are more versatile and can be used for a broader range of applications. 
  • Provide higher filtration efficiency. 
  • Have more filter media per square foot of floorspace, allowing for a smaller footprint overall.
  • Are easier to maintain; filter changes and dust bin emptying can typically be done with minimal contact with particulate.  
  • Are more energy efficient and have lower operating costs per CFM. 

A baghouse dust collector, or fabric filter dust collector, uses large fabric bags to filter dry particulate out of the air. They are typically used for very high-volume, high-airflow applications and applications with excessive heat or moisture, such as power plants, steel mills, mine sites, mill transfer points and mega-manufacturing facilities. Mechanical shaker, pulse-jet and reverse air dust collectors are all types of baghouse collectors. 

Baghouse collectors are very large and are usually positioned outside the facility. They can accommodate airflows of 1,000 CFM to more than 1 million CFM. The best baghouse filters can provide filtration efficiency of up to 99%. Compared to cartridge-style dust collectors, baghouse collectors:

  • Can accommodate higher dust volumes and airflow.
  • Require more space per CFM and typically must be installed outside. 
  • Are more difficult to maintain; the operator must usually climb inside the collector to change filter bags, creating an exposure hazard. 
  • Have higher operating costs per CFM. 

source capture dust collection system is used to capture dust, mist or fumes from an enclosed point source, such as a weld cell, laser cutting enclosure or spray booth. In a source-capture system, dust and fumes produced by the process are contained within a hood or enclosure or pulled immediately away from the source using a fume arm or intake plenum. This keeps contaminated air from propagating throughout the facility. An industrial dust collector is ducted to the enclosure, fume arm or backdraft system to pull contaminated air out. The air is filtered before being vented to the outside or returned to the facility. 

Source capture is the most efficient method of dust and fume control because it minimizes the airflow (CFM) required to collect contaminants. It also keeps contaminated air out of the rest of the facility and away from the breathing zone for operators. Source capture solutions include: 

  • Overhead hoods
  • Fume guns/extractor guns
  • Fume arms
  • Backdraft/sidedraft table or booth

An ambient dust collection (or air filtration) system collects and filters air for an entire facility. Ambient systems are used when source capture is not possible (due to facility layout, use of overhead cranes or production process) or for low-volume, low-hazard applications where minimal dust collection is needed. An ambient dust collection system may also be used as a backup to source capture for high-hazard applications or when ultra-clean air is required in the facility. 

Ambient dust collection provides clean air for the whole facility. It requires more airflow (CFM) than a source-capture solution because it is moving air for the whole facility instead of just a small enclosure. Ambient systems may use a ducted push-pull system in the ceiling or floor-mounted units that create circular airflow patterns. Dirty air is pulled into the dust collector and clean air is returned to the facility. 

Both source-capture and ambient industrial dust collection systems have their place in the industry.

  •  For heavier and more dangerous particulate levels, it is generally best to capture as close to the source as possible for maximum safety and energy efficiency. Use source capture whenever possible for dust- and fume-creating processes that can be enclosed in a hood or booth and particulate that can be captured using a fume arm, backdraft plenum or fume gun.
  •  Ambient systems are best used for whole-facility air cleaning when the particulate load is light and/or not very hazardous, when source capture is not possible, or as a backup system when source capture alone cannot achieve the desired indoor air quality.
Source CaptureAmbient Filtration
  • For dust and fumes that can be contained in an enclosure or captured by a fume arm or intake plenum
  • Prevents dust and fumes from propagating through the facility
  • Keeps dust and fumes out of the breathing zone
  • Lower CFM, energy use and operating costs
  • Best for hazardous or combustible dust
  • Cleans air for the whole facility
  • For environments where source capture is not possible OR with where dust and fumes are minimal
  • Can be used as a backup to source capture
  • Requires higher CFM

An industrial dust collector should have safety features appropriate for the type, volume and hazard level of the dust being collected. Basic dust collector safety features include automated shutoff for motor overheating, a particulate monitor to detect leaks past the filters, and a sprinkler or fire suppression system to prevent dust collector fires. Combustible dust and spark-producing processes require additional safety features.

  • A particulate monitor detects leaks past the filters. It should have an automated shutoff mechanism to shut down the dust collector if a leak is detected.
  • All dust collectors should be equipped with a fire safety system, including a smoke- or heat-activated detector and some type of suppression system. A sprinkler system can be installed that will spray the inside of the filter cabinet with water if a fire is detected. A carbon dioxide (CO2) or chemical fire suppression system starves the fire of oxygen and keeps it suppressed until firefighters arrive. A dual-stage fire suppression system will also include dampers to shut off the flow of air into the collector.
  • If the collected dust is combustible, the dust collector should also have a deflagration system including explosion vent panels, isolation valves and a rotary airlock for the collection bin.
  • If sparks are produced near the dust collector or ductwork, a spark arrestor should be used to prevent sparks from reaching the filter media. These systems may use baffles or plates inside the ductwork or in the dust collector intake to block the path of sparks. The RoboVent Delta3 Spark Arrestor uses centrifugal force to cool and kill sparks.

Dust collector fires and thermal events are a serious safety risk for facilities. All industrial dust collectors must have some form of fire detection and suppression system. The fire safety system must be able to 1) detect a fire in the dust collector cabinet (by smoke or by heat) and 2) take action to suppress or put out the fire. If sparks are produced near the dust collector, a spark arrestor should be used to prevent sparks from reaching the filter media. Fire safety features for industrial dust collectors are governed by OSHA and NFPA standards. 

Fire safety options for industrial dust collectors include:  

  • Fire detection system (smoke detector, heat sensor or both)
  • Automated blower shutoff if the detection system is set off
  • Damper system to shut off airflow into the machine if a fire is detected
  • A sprinkler or fire suppression system. These systems may be activated by the fire detection system or set off automatically by the use of tubing, which bursts when temperatures in the cabinet rise. 

There are three basic types of fire suppression systems to look for in an industrial dust collector. 

  • A sprinkler system sprays down the filter media to put out the fire. It is piped to the facility’s water system and activated by heat or smoke. Water will put out the fire but can cause damage to the dust collector and may flood the facility. These systems are best used for outdoor dust collectors. They are a good low-cost option for dust collector fire safety. 
  • A carbon dioxide (CO2) system fills the cabinet with CO2 when a fire is detected. It is typically activated by heat-detecting tubing. CO2 starves the fire of oxygen and prevents it from growing. It is not meant to put out the fire but simply to keep it suppressed until firefighters arrive. A carbon dioxide dust collector fire suppression system is highly effective at preventing catastrophic damage to the dust collector and the facility and avoids problems associated with water flooding.
  • A chemical fire suppressant releases a chemical agent to smother the fire or starve it of oxygen. The FM-200 fire suppression system uses FM-200 gas, a clean agent gas that is safe for both humans and electronic equipment and minimizes mess. Like carbon dioxide, it is designed to suppress the fire and prevent it from spreading until firefighters arrive. 

When collecting combustible dusts, the dust collector must be equipped with explosion safety features that comply with OSHA and NFPA safety standards. A deflagration system limits damage if a combustion event occurs inside the dust collector. Dust collector explosion safety elements may include: 

  • Heavier doors and side panels.
  • Explosion vent panels, which provide pressure relief by blowing out to safely direct the energy of an explosion when pressure inside the collector rises to an unsafe level. These panels must be carefully placed to direct explosive energy away from people.
  • A rotary airlock between the collector and the collection bin or hopper. This prevents dust in the hopper from escaping back into the dust collector chamber and providing additional fuel for the explosion.
  • An isolation valve to prevent a pressure wave from propagating back into the facility and triggering a dangerous secondary explosion. 

Specifications for the dust collector and explosion safety features depend on the KST rating (a measure of explosive potential) of the dust. Combustible dust is classified into four classes, from 0 (no explosive potential) to 3 (the very highest explosive potential). Most industrial dust falls into Class 1 or Class 2, requiring explosion mitigation for dust collection. 

Industrial dust collectors can consume a significant amount of electricity for a facility. Limiting airflow (CFM) requirements through the use of efficient source capture is the first step to designing an energy-efficient dust collection system. In addition, look for energy-saving features in the dust collector itself, such as variable frequency drive (VFD) and automated start/stop. 

  • A variable frequency drive (VFD) motor adjusts the blower speed in response to filter loading. A VFD dust collector motorsaves energy by reducing the motor speed when filters are new and clean, reducing energy use by approximately 20-40% over the life of the filter.
  • A power usage sensor with automated start/stop can turn the collector on when tools are active and off when they are not. This saves energy by running the collector only when it is needed. These systems work well for processes that are not continuous, such as manual welding or cutting or robotic equipment that is used intermittently.
  • An air quality monitor can be used to automate dust collector operation for ambient air filtration systems. A sensor monitors particulate levels in the ambient air and turns on the dust collector only when it is needed. 

variable frequency drive (VFD) motor is used to adjust the blower speed for the dust collector in response to filter loading. As filters become loaded with particulate, it is harder to move air through the filter media. Without a VFD, the blower speed must be set to the speed required when filters are fully loaded at all times. That means that when the filters are new and clean, the blower is working harder than it needs to. VFD saves energy by reducing the blower speed when filters are clean. As the filters become loaded (measured by pressure drop across the filters), blower speed increases gradually to compensate. A VFD motor decreases energy use by 20-40% and improves filter life by about 30%. 

Dust collector cartridge filters are available with a variety of filter media options for different dust collection applications. Filter cartridges are classified by MERV efficiency ratings and the media composition. 

  • Standard filters for dry particulate are often made of a cellulose/polyester blend, which may be combined with a nanofiber exterior layer for easier filter pulsing.
  • Fire-retardant additives should be used when collecting flammable or combustible dusts.
  • A PTFE cartridge filter uses a PTFE coating or membrane on top of a polyester spunbond substrate. The PTFE coating provides superior particulate release and a high level of filtration efficiency.
  • Oleophobic filter media is used for hygroscopic or sticky dusts, such as those found in some food processing applications. Hygroscopic dust absorbs moisture from the air. An oleophobic coating allows sticky dust to be shed more easily.
  • For oil mists (e.g., metalworking fluids and lubricants), an oil mist collector with a coalescing filter should be used.
  • Aluminized or carbon-impregnated filter media is used for statically charged dust. These filters dissipate the static charge safely. 

MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is a measure of how efficiently the filter removes particulate of a specific size (3-10 microns, 1.0 – 3.0 microns, or 0.3 – 1.0 microns). The higher the MERV rating, the more efficient the filter is at removing smaller particulate. Most dust collector filters have a MERV rating between MERV11 (for particulate 1.0 – 3.0 microns) to MERV16 (approaching HEPA-level filtration efficiency). 

For applications requiring even higher filtration efficiency, or for collection of gases and odors along with dry particulate, after-filters can be used. 

  • A HEPA after-filter is used to capture ultra-fine dust and particulate.
  • An activated carbon after-filter is used to capture vapors, gases and odors. 

A dust collector filter pulsing system is used to blow excess dust off the surface of the filters. This reduces filter loading and extends the life of the filters. It works by periodically pulsing a blast of compressed air down the filter cartridge to release dust entrained on the surface of the filter media. This can be done manually, on an automated schedule, or in response to changes in pressure drop that indicate that filters are becoming loaded. An automated filter pulsing system will significantly extend filter life. RoboVent’s patented Dynamic Pulse System uses a synchronized pulsing action to prevent re-entrainment of dust on the filters and improve pulsing efficacy. 

Hoods and enclosures are used for source capture of dust, fumes and particulate. Hoods can be used to contain robotic welding cells and other point sources of dust and fumes. The industrial dust collector is ducted to the hood, which keeps dust and fumes contained so they do not escape into the ambient air of the facility. Hoods can dramatically increase the efficiency of dust collection by reducing the amount of air that must be moved to collect contaminants. They also improve safety by keeping dangerous or toxic dust and fumes away from areas where people are working. They should be used wherever practical for dust- and fume-producing processes that can be safely enclosed without interfering with overhead cranes or production equipment. 

Hoods are primarily used for robotic and automated processes; they may not keep dust and fumes out of the breathing zone for any workers inside the hood. For manual welding and other processes that require workers to be in close contact with the fume-producing process, fume extractor guns, backdraft/sidedraft tables, or fume arms may be more appropriate. 

The hood must be properly sized for the application for maximum collection efficiency. Look for a streamlined, modular hood system that can be sized precisely for your application for best results. 

Industrial dust collectors require regular preventive maintenance to ensure optimal performance and safety. Basic maintenance tasks include emptying dust trays or bins (daily to weekly) and changing filters (quarterly to annually). The maintenance schedule for an industrial dust collector will depend on the volume and type of dust that is collected.  

In addition to these basic maintenance tasks, the dust collector should be inspected fully each time the filters are changed. A dust collector inspection includes the blower and motor, controller, pulsing system and pulse valves, spark arrestance system, and a visual inspection of the cabinet and ductwork. 

RoboVent offers complete preventive maintenance services for industrial dust collectors. When you sign up for an extended service package for new RoboVent equipment, we will extend the warranty on all non-consumable parts for a full 15 years. 

Cartridge filters for an industrial dust collector must be changed on a regular basis. The exact schedule will depend on the volume and type of dust being collected, but typically ranges from quarterly (for very high-volume applications) to annually (for very low-volume applications). Filters should be changed if:

  • The pressure differential across the filter is 6” or greater (this indicates that filters are plugged and air can no longer flow through them freely).
  • Dust collector cartridge filters are visibly dirty, worn or torn.
  • The particulate monitor indicates that dust is escaping past the filters.
  • You notice a drop in air quality in the facility (noticeable dust or fumes in the air). 

Heavy, abrasive dust and sticky hygroscopic dust will require more frequent filter changes. To get the maximum life out of your filters, make sure you are using the right filter media for your application and your filter pulsing system is working. 

Industrial dust collector fires are a serious safety risk in a manufacturing facility. To prevent a dust collector fire, it is important to prevent sparks from reaching the filter media. It is also essential to have a fire suppression system in place to prevent a fire from spreading if it starts. 

Fires require three elements to start and spread: fuel, oxygen and an ignition source (known as the “fire triangle”). Filter media inside the dust collector provides the fuel, and the airflow from the blower provides the oxygen. If sparks from production processes make their way to the filter media, it is easy for a dust collector fire to get out of control. Eliminating one or more elements of the fire triangle will stop a fire from starting or spreading. Since the fuel source (the filter media) cannot be eliminated, fire prevention and suppression should focus on the first two elements: ignition and oxygen. 

  • Ignition: Keep sparks out of the filter cabinet by installing a spark arrestance system. This can be installed in the dust collector intake or in line with the ductwork. It is also important to keep the dust collector away from open flames or high heat from production processes.
  • Oxygen: Make sure the dust collector is equipped with a fire detection system that will automatically shut off the blower if a fire starts inside the filter cabinet. An automatic damper system will shut off all airflow to the dust collector. Carbon dioxide (CO2) or chemical fire suppressants fill the cabinet to starve the fire of oxygen. 

The Supprex-200 fire suppression system uses a clean chemical agent which is safe for both humans and electronics. 

Dust collector explosions are a serious risk when collecting combustible dust. The dust collector must be equipped with a deflagration system when collecting dust with a KST class of 1, 2 or 3. 

A dust explosion requires five elements, known as the “Dust Explosion Pentagon”:

  • A fuel, which is the combustible dust
  • An oxidant, which is typically the oxygen in the air
  • An ignition source capable of igniting materials when they are dispersed as a cloud
  • Dispersion, which is when the accumulated dust is spread out and creates a dust cloud
  • Confinement, which leads to pressure rise and a potential vessel rupture, facility obstruction or structural collapse

An efficient dust collection system is essential to prevent the buildup of combustible dust in the facility that can lead to an explosion. To prevent a dust explosion inside the collector itself, or mitigate the damage if an explosion should occur, take these steps: 

  • Make sure the dust collector is compliant with NFPA 654, NFPA 68 and NFPA 69 and carries CE and ATEX certifications. These standards and certifications mean that the dust collector has been built to safely contain combustible dust and is equipped with safety features to mitigate damage from an explosion. Look for heavy-duty cabinet construction with high-gauge steel along with a deflagration system compliant with NFPA standards.
  • Keep sparks out of the filter cabinet by installing a spark arrestance system. This can be installed in the dust collector intake or in line with the ductwork. It is also important to keep the dust collector away from open flames or high heat from production processes.
  • The deflagration system must be rated for the KST class of the dust you are collecting. Explosion safety elements in the dust collector include heavy-duty doors, explosion vents to safely release excess pressure inside the collector, isolation valves to prevent pressure waves from propagating back into the facility, and rotary airlocks to prevent dust from escaping the collection bin to fuel the explosion.
  • Change filters on a regular basis and empty the dust bins as needed. Clean out the filter cabinet regularly to prevent excess dust from accumulating inside the chamber. A clean, well-maintained industrial dust collector has a much lower risk of a dangerous dust collector explosion. 

In the U.S., the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) sets standards for indoor air quality and exposure to hazardous dust, fumes, mist and particulates. There are a number of standards relevant to dust control and air quality for manufacturers, some general and some industry-specific. In addition, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) sets standards for control of flammable or combustible dust, including equipment specifications. 

The OSHA General Duty Clause requires employers to maintain an environment “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees.” This includes control of irritating or hazardous dust, fumes, mist and gases. In addition, OSHA has set specific standards for exposure to airborne particulates. Employers are expected to use engineering controls (such as industrial ventilation and air filtration) to keep exposures within the permissible limits wherever possible. Some of the relevant OSHA and NFPA standards for dust control include: 

  • Nuisance dusts: Many industrial dusts fall under the OSHA definition of “nuisance dusts,” which are regulated under the general particulate matter concentration limits set by OSHA. The general limit for “Particulates Not Otherwise Regulated” (PNOLs) is 15 mg/m3 (8-hour TWA limit) for total particulate and 5 mg/m3 for respirable particulates. Employers must also follow general Housekeeping standards (OSHA 1910.22, Walking-Working Surfaces) to prevent accumulation of dust on surfaces.
  • Toxic or hazardous dust and fumes:  Toxic or hazardous substances are regulated under OSHA’s Permissible Exposure Limits (PELs), which are specific to the regulated chemical or substance and may be many times smaller than the general PNOL limit. Regulated substances include heavy metals such as cadmium, mercury, lead, barium and lithium; chemicals and plastics such as polyvinyl chloride or benzene; and other materials such as asbestos, silica or other substances with serious health concerns.
  • Combustible dusts: Combustible dusts are regulated under OSHA’s General Duty Clause (Section 5(a)(1)) with additional requirements under the Hazardous Locations (§1910.307), Hazard Communication (§1910.1200) and Housekeeping (§1910.22) standards. In addition, manufacturers dealing with combustible dusts must follow NFPA standards for prevention of fires and explosions. Most industrial dust falls under NFPA 654, Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids. OSHA’s Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (NEP) outlines policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces that create or handle combustible dusts.

There are additional industry-specific regulations as well. For more information on regulations for a specific industry, look for our industry and application guidelines. 

ACGIH® is a non-profit scientific organization that advances occupational and environmental health. While they do not have regulatory powers, their guidelines for industrial ventilation and air filtration design and engineering are widely recognized as best practice both in the U.S. and internationally. Their guidance includes: 

  • Threshold Limit Values (TLVs) for exposure to toxic or hazardous materials. The TLVs are based on current scientific consensus and are often lower than OSHA PELs. Forward-thinking manufacturers should consider aiming for the TLV level instead of the PEL in cases where the TLV is lower.
  • Recommended practice for design, operation and maintenance of industrial ventilation and air filtration systems.
  • Guidance for facility testing and air quality evaluation.
  • Industrial hygiene guidelines for chemical and biological agents. 

RoboVent follows current ACGIH guidelines for industrial ventilation and air filtration system design. We can help you design, engineer, install and maintain an industrial dust collection system that fully meets both ACGIH guidelines and applicable regulations.