One of the most important aspects of dust collection is having the proper filter media for the job. In this episode you will hear how to select the right media, and how to determine which is most beneficial to you. We cover: Types of Filter Media, Quality vs. Cost, the Media Selection Process.
Randi Huckaby 0:06
The most important reason to have the proper media is to protect your people. That's first and foremost, without the right media, you might be letting too much particulate through. A lot of those manufacturing facilities those have hazardous components to them that are detrimental to someone's health. So you want to make sure you're capturing the right size of particles with your media.
Jacob Stewart 0:37
Hello, and welcome to Let's talk clean air, where we find out more about how clean air can affect the quality process for you and the workplace. In our first episode, we get an overview of proper media selection for dust collection. My name is Jacob Stewart, and joining me today is Randy Huckabee, Randy is the product manager for dry filtration here at Camp Phil, how are you doing today, Randy?
Randi Huckaby 0:58
I'm doing great. Thank you, Jacob.
Jacob Stewart 1:00
First off, can you explain why it's so important to have the proper filter media for your collector?
Randi Huckaby 1:07
Sure, this is actually a multifaceted question. The most important reason to have the proper media is to protect your people. That's first and foremost, without the right media, you might be letting too much particulate through and your people could be hurt, you know, stainless steel, titanium, a lot of those manufacturing facilities, those have hazardous components to them that are detrimental to someone's health. So you want to make sure you're capturing the right size of particles with your media. The second is to protect your equipment and your investments, you can have an explosion inside of a dust collector. If you're not capturing the right amount of dust, the equipment can fail too soon or in the middle of your process. So it also helps to ensure your product and your process quality and reliability, not just protecting your people in your workplace.
Jacob Stewart 1:57
Why is it more important to have a quality filter over you know just a cheap filter that you can easily afford?
Randi Huckaby 2:04
Well, I think sometimes people get confused with cheap and quality. There's a couple different facets to partridges themselves. One is the media in it, and two is the construction. If we're talking about just the media itself, sometimes cheap filter media is, is needed. It's a very it's a consumable, the process requires that they're changed out often and they only collect a certain size particulate. So it's not a bad thing to use a cheaper filter. But when we're talking about construction of the filter, this could lead to premature failure. And then you have leaks all over your plant and could ruin your equipment. So in quality filters, you have both the proper media could be inexpensive media or expensive media. But you also have the proper type of constructed filter to design for that particular
process. Again, ensuring reliability and lifetime, the system design pressure drop ignitions, things like that, that were originally designed to keep your people and your process going.
Jacob Stewart 3:12
Just as kind of a follow up question. Obviously, it's important to have a quality filter for any type of focus market. But what focus markets would you say it would be the most important for?
Randi Huckaby 3:24
Well, I think any of those where you're capturing the dust to make a good quality product. So not just waste capture of dust, but to ensure that the product comes out the same quality. So food is a great example. You know, yes, you are capturing the dust to go to waste. But if that dust is all over your factory, you're not making a good clean product. Another might be some surface finish on metals, the look needs to be clean, there can't be jagged edges. And if you're not capturing the right amount of dust, the machine might not function properly. And this can be found in many instances in manufacturing, but there's some that are more important than others. Another good example would be pharmaceutical dusts where it might be toxic. You need to make sure that you capture all that you can so that the work environment is safe.
Jacob Stewart 4:12
So a lot of it boils down to just the health of the workers there in the facility as well as the cleanliness of the overall product,
Randi Huckaby 4:21
right product quality is what's affected in the end,
Jacob Stewart 4:24
right. Okay, so what are the most important factors in your opinion to consider when selecting filter media.
Randi Huckaby 4:32
So we really break this down into two categories. One is going to be your dust particle characteristics, and the other is going to be processed characteristics. So when we're talking about the dust particle itself, we want to know what size these particles are. The size determines how harmful they are, you know you've got 234 microns all the way to sub micron level, which those are the ones detrimental to your health. So you need to know what size you're working with that You need to know their shape? Are they going to be abrasive? Or are they going to ruin the filter? Do you need to drop them out beforehand? How heavy they are could determine how the loading another does characteristics that's extremely important is its combustibility. How explosive, is it? What other precautions need to be in place? Is there a static charge, things like that. So that's talking about the dust particle itself. The other items that are important in the process are the temperature, certain media's are only good up to certain temperatures, the location is their humidity, what's the relative humidity? And then is there static electricity being produced in the process somewhere, for instance, as in plastic manufacturing, or machining of plastics, you might create a static charge and cause an event that could be catastrophic to your facility.
Jacob Stewart 5:54
You mentioned heavier dust particles. Now, what are some markets that would produce some heavier particles like that?
Randi Huckaby 6:02
When we say heavy and I guess I mean, there's twofold, maybe more fibrous particulate. So one would be in metalworking, if there's some chips coming out and you have large pieces were shot blasting might get the full shot blast bead rather than the dust of what's generated during the shot blasting process. And it's important to get those out of the collector before you hit that media. Otherwise, we're just going to abrade the media and cause it to prematurely fail. What sets
Jacob Stewart 6:30
cam fills filter media technology apart from the competition,
Randi Huckaby 6:34
we have a multi step process to ensure that the media meets camfield standards. First, we make sure that we test these ourselves, we test them in a laboratory, and we test them both at our camfield headquarters in Sweden, and then we test them here internally in jonesborough, to make sure that they meet all our benchmark standards for collector performance design. Next, we trial them in the field, do they work well, when heavily loaded, light loaded? What kinds of desks do they work well with, don't they work well with. And then we also have the media's third party tested to ensure their Merv rating, their minimum efficiency reporting value. And then we also they're just proven over time, once we find something good, we tend to stick to it and continually apply that not making large changes without thoroughly testing each one. The other is, you know, coupled with our manufacturing technology that I hit on earlier, it's something that's hard to beat, we've got Hemi cleat capability, which ensures pleat spacing in the filter configuration. We have proprietary gold cone technology, which adds media so we have a lot of media that's evenly spaced and really works well in heavily dust loaded environments. Those two things, trialling them in both the lab and manufacturing them in certain configurations ensures that our technology is better than
Jacob Stewart 7:59
most others. What are some of those standards that you look for initially, whenever you're trying to make a new filter video to some
Randi Huckaby 8:07
of the initial standards include your typical benchmark values that you get straight from media manufacturer, which is going to be its Merv rating, how efficient is it? How many particles does it capture? pressure drop? This is extremely important a media with a high pressure drop, you have to force a lot of airflow through it. And so your system has to work really hard. Another is its strength. how durable is that media, both in a machining direction and across direction, tensile strength, and there's quite a few things that we test, just ensuring that it meets the manufacturer's standards. And we do that all right here on site.
Jacob Stewart 8:44
Could you briefly discuss the types of filter media?
Randi Huckaby 8:48
Sure, there's really two basic ones in dry dust collection. The first is going to be a non woven cellulosic blend, basically paper, we call this Silas. Then there is synthetic polyester or a polyester silicone blend that we refer to as spunbond. Those are your two base media's and then those can be treated with a plethora of different styles of treatments as far as membranes, fire retardancy treatment, they can be infused with carbon or aluminium or copper to help dissipate static electricity. And there's also some chemical treatments or baths like such as oleophobic treatment that helps them repel moisture in certain environments.
Jacob Stewart 9:31
Can you discuss more about the difference between cellulose and spunbond filter media?
Randi Huckaby 9:37
Sure, so the cellulose is going to be your most cost effective media out there. It's about typical blends or 80% paper with 20% synthetic fibre kanthal we've learned over the last 2030 years that there's a little different blend than that that works well for us. So ours is just a little bit different, but that cellulose media works well. In most applications, it's got a pretty high working temperature, depending on how the filter is configured, but it works great. And the majority of applications, then spunbond. Here, you've got the synthetic fibres, all 100% synthetic, so you can go to higher working temperatures, it works, it's got great durability, since it's all synthetic, it's typically a heavier weight than a cellulose media, it recovers really well for moisture, although I gotta say we are not intended for wet or you know, real humid environments, it does have the ability, though, to recover from being introduced any moisture in the process, such as condensation, or high humidity swings in the environment. Now, again, both those can have all the treatments such as the fire retardancy, or a membrane or nano layer to help improve efficiency.
Jacob Stewart 10:54
So you mentioned that we do our own analysis right here on site, can you go further into what sort of analysis goes into the media selection process, you know,
Randi Huckaby 11:03
your first call is definitely going to be your your local expert, that local expert is probably going to have a lot of knowledge, they've been doing it for a while. And we keep track of what works well on certain applications. So if you've got silica, we know generally what one or two media's work best there. But there's a few other things you need to take into consideration. The first thing that needs to be done since 2020, is a d, h, a, or a dust hazard analysis. This is the first step in dust collection system design. And this will tell you a lot and it really incorporates the analysis of those dust characteristics that will help lead you to that proper media. And from there, you know, you there's benchmark testing done here at camfil with those dust characteristics, such as size and weight, and then the explosive ability testing that should all be incorporated in making that decision of which media is right for your application.
Jacob Stewart 11:58
Do you all do individual testing for each different customer?
Randi Huckaby 12:02
We can't that is absolutely a service that we offer. And I don't think many companies do that, but we will take the dust we will look at it under a microscope, we will put it through a vacuum system where we can tell the particle size and weight, we will look at it under an SEM microscope if needed. scanning electron microscope so we can tell what exactly is in that dust? What elements you know, magnesium, copper, iron, we can tell right down to the element, what exactly is in it. And then we can recommend the best media for that application.
Jacob Stewart 12:39
Can you name some more of the common types of dust and the best filter media for dealing with those,
Randi Huckaby 12:45
the first one that comes to my mind is something sticky like maybe a sugar or a food. It's got some moisture in the process and so that combined with sugar is going to make it sticky. Think of gum manufacturing of gum, our recommendation in that application would be a spunbond Media. So it's moisture repellent and then probably add the oleophobic treatment to help repel that moisture even more and improve your dust release. Another one like we touched on was the pharmaceutical or hazardous dusts types. In that case, we're going to recommend a membrane on spunbond Media. One four dusts released to the membrane, preferably PT a fee to capture those really tiny, hazardous particulate and then also to help with the dust release so that filter functions as long as possible. Another common one for metalworking is going to be we really go two different routes here, depending on the particulate size, one is just going to be a cellulose with a fire retardant treatment. And the next would be adding a membrane to that in most cases, we use nano and to just really help capture those really fine particles when using some of those dangerous metal such as titanium.
Jacob Stewart 13:56
What would you say is the most common dust that you all typically run into?
Randi Huckaby 14:01
Over the years it's really transitioned into that metalworking realm. I think that there's a lot obviously there's a lot of woodworking. But as time is evolving, we're seeing more plastics introduced new new composites being made every day. But really heavy is that metalworking because we're talking about cars, planes, trains, lots of manufacturing in those environments. And typically, there's a lot of people close to those processes. So again, you want to protect those people and your, your manufacturing process, right.
Jacob Stewart 14:33
So what is the most efficient method for somebody to choose the best filter media would you say?
Randi Huckaby 14:39
Contact your local Best expert? I don't think it's you know, it used to be all the manufacturing processes were pretty similar. But as technology is improving, there's new methods out there all the
time and the dust may have just changed shape, or the loading may be different. So you really need an expert to know exactly When media is right for you, any small change in a process will change the way that dust reacts and looks. So it's really, really important to contact an expert and make sure that you're getting the right media for your process.
Jacob Stewart 15:12
So in your opinion, how do you address air quality with the current pandemic,
Randi Huckaby 15:18
there's a little bit of a different approach when going into manufacturing processes. When we're talking about high traffic areas or indoor areas where it's typically in your hv AC system, you really want to be on the side of caution and really use something with a high Merv rating or even off that Merv scale, and protect those people. in manufacturing, you know, typically, the room is very large, there's lots of air turnover. So you can usually address any concerns that you may have with a Merv 15 filter. So here we're talking either cellulose or spunbond. With a nano or ptfa treatment, really easy to get and performs really well in every single application you may need. But if you really want to ensure the safety of your workforce, you want to get that HIPAA level filtration, especially if you're returning the air into the workspace near any workers or near the process. And in that, in that case, you can purchase the camfil APC, integrated safety monitoring filter or even a remote safety monitoring filter and put a heppa in to ensure you get 99.97% of the particulate out there as the
Jacob Stewart 16:34
current pandemic changed anything about the analysis that goes into the filters?
Randi Huckaby 16:39
No, it really hasn't. You know, we've always been aware air filtration is our bread and butter. That's what we do. So we've always been aware of the harm that can come from some of the particulate that's out there are viruses. I think it's just really brought it to the forefront of people's minds and indoor air quality is going to continue to get attention globally.
Jacob Stewart 17:00
Well, thank you very much, Randy. If you would like to find out more about these things. Just follow the links in the show notes. You'll find those in the description of the podcast. They include links, contact details and anything else you might need to get more information. This podcast was produced by camfield, the world leader in the production and development of air filters and clean air solutions. You can find out more at Canfield calm. Be sure to join us next month and hit that subscribe button to get notifications for future episodes. Until then, I'm your host Jacob Stewart and this has been let's talk clean air. Thank you for listening