Successfully conveying chemical powders requires giving careful thought to the issue of product dusting. Aside from the challenge of continually cleaning deposits of airborne dust, there is the added consideration of preventing a fire or explosion due to the accumulation of combustible dust. Taken together, all of these considerations add up to risk – risk that can only be addressed by selecting conveying equipment specially designed and engineered to effectively control product dusting.
The Hazards of Chemical Powder Dust
Chemical powder processers are all too aware of the hazards of airborne dust. Plant productivity and efficiency can be seriously compromised by having to continually clean up airborne dust deposits. Continually washing down dust deposits from equipment results in downtime, resource consumption, and increased costs.
Material handling activity that creates dust should always be evaluated to determine if there is a risk of that dust being combustible. Dust can collect on surfaces such as plant superstructure, roofs, suspended ceilings, ducts, crevices, and other equipment. Under certain conditions, when the dust is disturbed, there is the potential for a serious explosion to occur. The build-up of even a very small amount of product dust can lead to deflagration and cause serious, even catastrophic, damage.
Deflagration is a term often used to describe combustible dust explosions. A deflagration is a “common variety” fire, such as that which may occur on a gas stove, with the burning of wood or paper, or with the combustion of gasoline vapour within the cylinder of an automobile engine. In a deflagration, the substance which is burning releases heat, hot gases, and sparks that serve to spread the fire.
In a dust explosion, the deflagration processes happens so rapidly that the heated air and gaseous fire products produce extreme air pressure that can blow out walls and destroy structures.
UniTrak Solutions for Conveying Chemical Powders
At UniTrak, we help processors to surmount the dusting challenges associated with conveying chemical powders with four completely sealed conveyor designs.
For high volume conveying, TipTrakTM PEC and Monocoque units are a preferred choice to address the challenges of product dusting. TipTrakTM PEC conveyors have a fully enclosed design which can reduce the effects of product dusting where the risk of fire or explosion is non-existent.
Where product dusting must be fully controlled, due to the risk of fire or explosion, TipTrakTM Monocoque units are the preferred model choice. TipTrakTM Monocoque units have fully enclosed designs that feature gasketing between sections and around all access doors, providing dust-tight operation.
Dust collection systems are an available option on both TipTrakTM PEC and Monocoque models. A dust collection system removes airborne dust from within the unit, thereby eliminating the need to clean out any accumulated dust from within the interior of the conveyor.
For lower volume or batch conveying needs, Powderflight aeromechanical and UniFlex flexible screw conveyors are fully sealed units which mitigate the effects of product dusting. These fully sealed designs contain any product dust generated during conveyance, eliminating the possibility of any dust becoming airborne.
If you have a chemical powder processing application which requires addressing the risks associated with product dusting, our application specialists will be pleased to speak with you.