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Combustible Dust Management

Combustible Dust Management Features

Many manufacturing processes can create combustible dust. Process Owner/Operators should review their risk mitigation strategies to select the appropriate combination for their application.

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Fire/Explosion Prevention

Prevention strategies focus on ways to reduce the potential for a combustion event to occur in a dust collector.

Click the orange circle on the collector to view specific product offerings for fire/explosion prevention.

Contact Us to discuss a mitigation solution that fits your needs.
In-Line Spark Abatement

In-Line Spark Abatement

Located within the intake ducting, this device create turbulence in the airstream that cools and arrests sparks without water or chemicals.

Spark Detector & Extinguisher

Spark Detector & Extinguisher

Highly sensitive spark sensors located on the main ductwork automatically trigger the extinguishing device and a spark alarm. The extinguishing assembly reacts within 300 milliseconds of an alarm releasing a water spray curtain to extinguish sparks.

Fire Protection

Fire protection strategies focus on minimizing the physical damage from a fire in a dust collector. Donaldson offers fire suppression packages for many standard Donaldson Torit Collectors.

Click the orange circles on the collector to view specific product offerings for fire protection.

Contact Us to discuss a mitigation solution that fits your needs.
Inlet Damper

Inlet Damper

Inlet damper works with a CO2 fire suppression system to isolate CO2 in the dust collector where a fire is being extinguished.

Fire Suppression System

Fire Suppression System

Delivers clean, dependable CO2-based fire suppression to deep-seated collector fires in seconds.

Sprinkler Couplings

Sprinkler Couplings

Connects sprinklers to a water supply to extinguish fires quickly.

Abort Gate

Abort Gate

Fast-acting abort gates are used in conjunction with spark detection systems to divert sparks, flames, smoke and other dangerous material to a safe location.

Outlet Damper

Outlet Damper

Outlet damper works with a CO2 fire suppression system to isolate CO2 in the dust collector where a fire is being extinguished.

Explosion Protection

Explosion protection strategies focus on attempting to minimize physical damage from an explosion (deflagration) event in a dust collector.

Click the orange circles on the collector to view specific product offerings for explosion protection.

Contact Us to discuss a mitigation solution that fits your needs.
Flow Actuated Isolation Valve

Flow Actuated Isolation Valve

Flow actuated isolation valves on the inlet duct prevent explosions from propagating back into the building from the dust collector.

Actuated Knife Gate

Actuated Knife Gate

Knife gates actuate within milliseconds of an explosion event to prevent the explosion from propagating back into the building from either the inlet or outlet duct.

Chemical Isolation

Chemical Isolation

These systems detect explosive pressure and quickly inject a chemical suppressive to prevent propagation through the inlet or outlet duct.

Deflagration Isolation

Deflagration Isolation

A Donaldson Torit DFE collector was tested to determine if the collector could isolate a deflagration and stop flames or sparks from passing into the clean air plenum. In all tests, the filters successfully isolated the deflagration and allowed no flame or sparks to pass into the clean air plenum.

Explosion Vents

Explosion Vents

Designed to rupture at specific pressure, these vents minimize damage and direct the fireball and pressure into a safe area in the case of an explosion.

Flameless Vents

Combines an explosion vent with a stainless steel mesh to contain the flame front while relieving pressure.

Chemical Suppression

Chemical Suppression

These suppression systems can detect and react to explosion pressures in less than one millisecond to chemically suppress explosions before they become catastrophic.

Flow Actuated Isolation

Flow Actuated Isolation

Flow actuated isolation valves on the outlet duct prevent explosions from propagating further into the duct.

Actuated Knife Gate

Actuated Knife Gate

Knife gates actuate within milliseconds of an explosion event to prevent the explosion from propagating back into the building from either the inlet or outlet duct.

Chemical Isolation

Chemical Isolation

These systems detect explosive pressure and quickly inject a chemical suppressive to prevent propagation through the inlet or outlet duct.

Rotary Valve/Airlock

Rotary Valve/Airlock

Rotary valves prevent explosions from propagating through the dust collector hopper outlet.

Dust collectors are an integral part of many plants’ combustible dust compliance strategies. As such, dust collection companies have had to remain active in supplying dust collectors to support a customer’s combustible dust control strategy by interfacing with the customer and its experts on fire and explosion protection equipment and strategies.

 

What Is Currently Going on in the Industry?

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a National Emphasis Program and continues to communicate with most industries on the hazards of combustible dust. Since passing the combustible dust program (CPL 03-00-008) in March 2008, the agency's focused effort is targeted at reducing combustible dust risks in industrial plant settings.

OSHA has increased its regulatory attention due to three catastrophic dust explosions that resulted in 14 fatalities. The events at West Pharmaceutical, CTA Acoustics and Hayes Lemmerz resulted in the US Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board (CSB) publishing a report stating dust fires and explosions in the last 25 years had resulted in 119 fatalities and over 700 injuries.

Some of the common problems OSHA sees include:

  • Missing or ineffective dust control leading to housekeeping issues
  • Dust collectors indoors, rather than outside as OSHA expects to see if the collectors filter combustible dusts
  • No isolation on inlets and/or outlets to prevent the propagation of an deflagration to other process equipment
  • Explosion vents
    • Dust collectors with no vents that are filtering combustible dusts
    • Dust collectors with vents that are venting to an unsafe area

We are told that when an OSHA inspector walks into a facility, housekeeping is one of the first things he/she evaluates. If a high percentage of surfaces are covered by combustible dust, OSHA inspectors take notice. The measurement that serves as a type of benchmark in the industry is 0.8 mm / 1/32 in. deep of dust.

In addition to the above items, OSHA may also evaluate ducting and piping. Inspectors may look at bonding and grounding. They may also look for ignition control efforts.

It is important to note these examples of commonly investigated items are not all inclusive when it comes to reviews of facilities. When OSHA visits facilities, the most commonly referenced standards are the NFPA standards. Know that these standards go through regular revision cycles and are updated every 4-5 years. OSHA is also in development of its own combustible dust standard, but its publication date is unknown at this time.

Often when it comes to understanding these issues and standards, customers ask for guidance in who to consult so they can know what to do to be in compliance.  The first key player a customer should seek out is an Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ). By definition in NFPA 68, an “AHJ is an organization, office or individual responsible for enforcing the requirements of a code or standard, or for approving equipment, materials, an installation or a procedure.”  A few examples of AHJs include but are not limited to: insurance inspection departments, rating bureaus, Fire Marshalls and certainly OSHA inspectors.

Since each AHJ may have a specific set of codes he or she references, you may need to have general knowledge of more than one standard or code. As a process owner, you are responsible for the selection of your combustible material management strategy. You also need to assure your process and facility comply with all applicable federal, state, and local codes and standards. Many standards and codes may influence your decisions on dust control, including the local, state, and federal regulations. Knowing the codes that apply to your facility is critical, and you should always research the code requirements in your area. Just to reiterate, a few commonly referenced standards for combustible dust risk management strategies include those issued by: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the International Mechanical Code, the International Fire Code, Factory Mutual Property Loss, and OSHA (federal).  Since these standards are often cited by OSHA, and have been adopted as code in many areas of the country, they may be a good starting point for consideration in developing your combustible dust management strategy. For more free information visit www.nfpa.org.

 

Why Dust Collectors Should Be Part of Your Strategy Decision

 Many process requirements make elimination of combustible dust, mist, or fume impractical.  However, it may still be very possible to manage the dispersion of dust within your plant by using an appropriate and effective industrial ventilation system including dust collection. A well designed, maintained, and operated industrial ventilation system including good hoods, proper duct sizes, and properly selected collection equipment can provide effective dust control and can therefore help manage the presence of dispersed dust. This not only reduces housekeeping frequency and expense, but also may help you reduce the risk of dust explosions in your facility, particularly the destructive secondary explosions, by helping reduce the presence of dispersed fuel in your facility.

Fire risk management strategies traditionally focus on the control or elimination of one of the three key elements necessary for a fire — often represented by the fire triangle. Managing one or more of the elements in the triangle can decrease the fire risk.

Explosion risk management strategies consider a slightly expanded set of elements often represented as an explosion pentagon. In addition to the key elements from the fire triangle — fuel, heat, and oxygen, the explosion pentagon includes two additional elements necessary for an explosion: Dispersion of Dust and Confinement of Dust. As with fire management strategies, the management or removal of one or more of the elements in the explosion pentagon can reduce the explosion risk. While many explosion management strategies focus on controlling the same elements in the fire triangle, explosion risk management strategies that focus on the dispersion of dust, or the containment of dust alone, may require a separate strategy to address any remaining fire risks. 

Combustible dust remains a widely discussed topic and management of dust using filtration technology will have a role in many risk management strategies. To see how dust collectors can work help with your combustible dust risk management strategy, visit with your local dust collector representative​. 

Free Offer: Combustible Dust Mitigation

If your facility has potential combustible dust hazards, a good place to start is with your own dust hazard analysis.

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Combustible Dust Roadmap

Walk through a series of high level steps to assist you in identifying your facility’s combustible dust risk.

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