Case Study | Chemical | Pipe Workers Breathe Easier
A manufacturer of polyurethane pipes, intended for use in the oil and gas industry, had a problem with nuisance dust stemming from various processes along their production lines. These fine polyurethane particulates were generated from their grinding, sanding, polishing and buffing operations.
The main operations within the factory were performed in two purpose-built rooms, both of which lacked proper ventilation. At this facility, personnel performed most of the processes by hand, exposing them to a majority
of the dust created.
Due to the size of the plastic dust from the finishing processes, the workers were unable to wear traditional paper masks. Instead, they were required to wear respirators equipped with full visors to prevent the fine dust from entering their eyes and breathing zone.
In addition to the size of the plastic particles, the facility encountered another issue; the light particulate stayed suspended in the air even after production ceased, causing it to not only linger in the air, but to build up on operational equipment as well.
Workers in the facility complained that the personalprotection equipment they were required to wear for theirsafety was not only heavy, but it hindered their ability tocomplete the operations efficiently.
Additionally, light particulate from the various processesperformed lingered in the air long after production ceased.This accumulation caused build up on operationalequipment, thus increasing clean-up time from theprevious days’ operations.
AAF proposed a solution that focused on properventilation for the facility’s processes. This solutionincluded designing several booth enclosures around theheavy dust generating processes. An OptiFlo® cylindricalcartridge collector was installed to clean the air comingfrom the booths.
As an additional feature, AAF offered a damper in thedownstream ductwork to provide the customer with theability to save on energy costs by recirculating the airduring the winter and summer months. For the spring andautumn months, the customer would exhaust directly intothe atmosphere.
Since the installation of the facility’s newly designedventilation system, the customer’s production personnelare no longer required to wear the heavy respirators andfull visors. Instead, they are now able to wear a simple,lightweight paper mask as an added precaution.
Additionally, the workers are able to perform quickerand more efficiently now that they have a cleaner, morecomfortable work environment.
Recirculating the air during the winter and summermonths has helped the facility save on operationalcosts as well.
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