Window Manufacturer Sees More Clearly
Fiberglass is listed as one of the U.S. ccupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) priority safety and health hazards because the fibers can be inhaled. This inhalation often occurs during manufacturing or installation. If inhaled, fiberglass dust can cause several health hazards, including irritation to the eyes, ears and throat, breathing difficulty and cough.
As sales increased for a manufacturer of custom new and replacement windows, so did the generation of fiberglass dust in their facility. Production staff and plant management saw increasing downtime related to housekeeping and equipment maintenance. Additionally, safety concerns grew with increased fiberglass dust in the air with the potential of getting in workers eyes, respiration of the dust, and combustible dust potential. The plant was looking for a dust collection solution to maximize their equipment uptime to meet sales demand and mitigate safety concerns.
Several milling machines were used throughout thefacility in the manufacturing of custom window frames.The milling process created a fiberglass dust withvarying concentrations throughout the plant – heavierconcentrations at the source of the mill and lighterconcentrations further away. A properly designed collectionsystem and duct system was imperative to adequatelyremove the dust from the work environment. Additionally,careful consideration had to be given to proper design ofthe system so as to fully comply with relevant combustibledust requirements of NFPA 68 and NFPA 69.
Working with AAF Representative, Jim Bradley of AirAssociates, the required airflow was calculated to safelyvent all milling machines. After evaluation of the customer’sprocess, dust type, and airflow needs, AAF ApplicationsEngineering team, recommended an AAF OptiFlo® PulsejetCartridge collector be used for this application. Tomitigate damage from any potential deflagration event,the OptiFlo® unit was supplied with explosion vents andan AAF XP barrel top adaptor. Additionally, a chemicalsuppression system was installed in the inlet and outlet airduct to prevent fires from entering the unit or returning tothe work environment with the recirculated air.
The AAF OptiFlo® is engineered to permit free-fall ofdislodged dust into the hopper and designed to preventdirect impingement of dust on the filter media, minimizingfilter wear and prolonging filter life. The OptiFlo® is designedfor ease of maintenance with ‘tool-less’ filter changeoutsand filter access from the outside. Personnel do nothave to enter the collector to access or change filters,eliminating safety concerns and reducing maintenance.The customer now has an industrial dust collectionsystem that keeps workers safe, minimizes downtime andhousekeeping within the plant, and complies with OSHA,NFPA, and EPA regulations.
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