Dust Collector Systems: A Holistic Maintenance Strategy

By Dominick DalSanto
Baghouse Technologies Expert & Author

When examining the performance of any component of your facility’s dust collection systems, it is vital to take into consideration the interaction between the various elements of the entire system. Problems such as bag failure, may be a symptom of a intake problem earlier in the system. Only by understanding the impact various parts of dust collection systems have on each other, can you effectively troubleshoot problems as they arise.

Let’s look at just a few common situations that may at first glance confound and confuse due to a lack of apparent causes within the specific component.

Baghouse Corrosion

Problem: The Baghouse is experiencing is corroding rapidly without any clear cause.

At first, the most likely cause might appear to be a design/installation problem leading to increased exposure to the elements. Indeed this very often is the leading cause of dust collector erosion. However what if you determine there exists no major flaws in the installation and setup of your Baghouse? Taking a more holistic view of your system often will lead you to the cause and eventual solution to your problem.

Systemic erosion can occur within dust collector systems when gas stream conditions change to include more corrosive elements. For instance, at a coal-fired power plant, has the plant switched to a different coal mixture that produces higher amount of sulfides that in turn can lead to higher concentrations of highly corrosive sulfuric acid within the dust collector? Treatment systems before the Baghouse, such as a air scrubber, could be malfunctioning leading to increased amounts of corrosive compounds being transported to other parts of the dust collector system. Or perhaps maintenance has been performed on the pulse-jet cleaning system, such as installing new lines, valves, etc…and due to improper installation and/or calibration they are condensing water leading causing your moisture source.

Premature Bag Failure

Problem: Filter bags are failing without any apparent reason.

Early or premature bag failure is often a good indicator that any of your dust collector systems are not being operated correctly, within recommended parameters. Regrettably many times inferior bag manufacturing methods on the part of shady bag suppliers/manufacturers lead to substandard products being used, that can not endure the riggers of everyday use in an industrial setting.

However should these theories not be proved true, other causes must be examined. Particulate loads may have increased substantially (increased production rates, change of process/fuel, malfunction of pre-filters [e.g. cyclones], etc…), or cleaning cycle frequency/efficiency might have changed/been affected, leading to increased strain on your dust collector system. Additionally, to meet new mercury emission regulations technology such as activated carbon sprayers located upstream of  your Baghouse may be having a larger impact than calculated. Or changes in maintenance procedures may have unexpected consequences on the service life of the filters.

Holistic Approach Needed for your Dust Collector Systems

In both of the proceeding examples, while initially the most obvious cause of a problem should be investigated first, often times, a taking a wider look at all of the ways in which your dust collector systems interact with each other is needed in order to located the root cause of your problem. Problems in one part of your system will often lead to systemic issues. To ensure this does not happen, maintenance personnel must remain vigilante to even seemingly insignificant fluctuations in operating parameters as these can cause maintenance issues in other parts of the system.



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