One of the most important components in an industrial vacuum is the filter. A properly maintained filter ensures consistent airflow of the vacuum system. Maintained filters also lead to maximum vacuum suction, which means it will pick up material efficiently and increase the life of the vacuum system. Here are a few important tips for vacuum filter maintenance:
- Add vacuum filter cleaning/replacement to your Periodic Maintenance (PM) schedule
- Try to piggyback the filter change with other PM activity to reduce down time.
- Making filter changes part of a regular PM protocol will not only make your industrial vacuum system more reliable and efficient, it can also uncover other issues before they become downtime.
- Monitor the vacuum pressure gauge
- In most cases 15 inches of water is a good indication that it’s time to clean or replace the filer(s).
- If the filter pressure gets too high, the vacuum will automatically shut off, resulting in downtime.
- Replace filters as needed
- Replacing filters at the correct intervals will not only extend the life of your system, it will also reduce energy costs.
- A properly maintained filter will reduce the number of times you need to replace it throughout the life of the vacuum.
- Order extra filters
- If you need to pick up a larger amount of material than normal, having an extra set of filters in stock will enable you to change the expired filters quickly, without losing any time.
- Inform your maintenance team
- Train your maintenance team how to replace and clean the filters. Some vacuum systems will have a different cleaning requirements and filter access may vary depending on model; top, bottom or side entry access.
- Always refer to the vacuum operation and maintenance manual for specific instructions.
For more information on industrial vacuum filters, including how to select the right media for the material you are picking up, please contact us or visit the DEMARCO Vacuum Accessories page.
In our ongoing series of posts highlighting companies that have taken extra steps to satisfy Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) safety requirements in their Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), a cooperative program that recognizes employers and employees who proactively prevent worksite injuries and illnesses, here we look at Tecton Products, LLC.
In 2011, the custom fiberglass pultrusions designer and manufacturer’s Fargo, ND, location achieved VPP recognition through its commitment to continuous improvement in workplace safety and health.
Having already earned North Dakota’s first Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) designation for its safety and health management systems in 2005, Tecton Products formed a project team in 2009 to begin documenting the company’s efforts in pursuit of VPP recognition. Following OSHA’s VPP onsite evaluation in February 2011, Tecton was approved as a VPP Star site in August 2011. Due to its commitment to VPP, Tecton let its SHARP status expire in March 2011.
Through the VPP program, Tecton commits to a proactive approach to safety and health management while maintaining injury and illness rates below the industry average. The company’s historical injury and illness rates have been significantly below the national average for its industry.
Between 2008 and 2010 alone, Tecton’s “Days Away, Restricted or Transferred (DART)” incident rate was 78 percent below the national average for its industry. The average VPP worksite has a DART case rate of 52 percent below the average for its industry. During the same period, Tecton’s Total Case Incident Rate (TCIR) was 20 percent below the national average for its industry.
The health and safety issue of combustible dusts reached its apex back in 2009, when the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) released their National Emphasis Program NEP on combustible dust. The NEP was released in order to focus attention on the agency’s efforts to mitigate dust-related explosions. Part of the NEP standard 1910.307(b) posted stipulations about the use of electric industrial vacuums in areas where combustible dust accumulates. This standard is defined by NFPA 70 from the National Electrical Code.
An explosion proof industrial vacuum / dust ignition proof vacuum or a combustible dust safe pneumatic industrial vacuum should meet requirements for use in the OSHA dust classifications of: Class 1, Group D and Class II, Groups E, F, and G.
For more information on industrial vacuum filters, including how to select the right media for the material you are picking up, please contact us or visit the DEMARCO Vacuum Accessories page.
Summary of Class I, II, III Hazardous Locations*
|I Gases, vapors, and liquids (Art. 501)
B: Hydrogen, etc.
C: Ether, etc.
D: Hydrocarbons, fuels, solvents, etc.
|Normally explosive and hazardous
|Not normally present in an explosive concentration (but may accidentally exist)
|II Dusts (Art. 502)
|E: Metal dusts (conductive,*and explosive)
F: Carbon dusts (some are conductive,* and all are explosive)
G: Flour, starch, grain, combustible plastic or chemical dust (explosive)
|Ignitable quantities of dust normally are or may be in suspension, or conductive dust may be present
|Dust not normally suspended in an ignitable concentration (but may accidentally exist). Dust layers are present.
|III Fibers and flyings (Art. 503)
|Textiles, wood-working, etc. (easily ignitable, but not likely to be explosive)
|Handled or used in manufacturing
|Stored or handled in storage (exclusive of manufacturing)
These industrial vacuums should include vacuum features such as motor, switches, filters, and inner chambers that are designed specifically for use in combustible dust applications or situations. In addition, an explosion proof vacuum should have a graduated filtration system that traps and keeps the combustible dust particles from moving out of the equipment back into the air. A HEPA filter is most often used in order to clean the exhaust of the vacuum. High quality HEPA filters provide a strong defense for prevention of small dust particles escaping back out into the air.
For companies that must regularly handle the removal of combustible dust, an explosion proof industrial vacuum is a smart investment. Before purchasing, however, research is a must – ensuring the right machine is matched to each specific situation. When matched properly, the right machine can be matched to the needs of the company in question, ensuring proper plant safety.
In our ongoing series of posts highlighting companies that have taken extra steps to satisfy Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) safety requirements in their Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), a cooperative program that recognizes employers and employees who proactively prevent worksite injuries and illnesses, here we look at DUNMORE Corporation, a provider of engineered and laminated film.
Headquartered in Bristol, Pa., DUNMORE produces coated film, metallized film and laminating film substrates for a wide range of industries. In 2010, the company’s film contract manufacturing facility in Bristol achieved VPP Star certification for superior workplace safety.
The VPP Star program is designed for exemplary worksites with comprehensive, successful safety and health management systems. Companies in the Star program have achieved injury and illness rates at or below the national average of their respective industries. These sites are self-sufficient in their ability to control workplace hazards. Participants are re-evaluated every three to five years, although incident rates are reviewed annually.
“DUNMORE has pursued this certification to enhance the framework to drive future improvement in our already strong health and safety systems,” Tom Rimel, VP of operations and development at DUNMORE, said in a statement at the time. “Safety and associate well-being is a core value of the company, and we believe that no activity of our business is as important as associate safety.”
DUNMORE’s commitment to safety and associate wellbeing does not begin or end at its initial VPP Star certification. The company, which has been continuously improving its safety and health programs throughout its entire 40-year history, has also begun working toward VPP Star certification at its Brewster, NY, manufacturing facility.
In our ongoing series of posts highlighting companies that have taken extra steps to satisfy Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety requirements in their Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), a cooperative program that recognizes employers and employees who proactively prevent worksite fatalities, injuries and illnesses, here we look at Tesoro’s Mandan oil refinery.
Located in Mandan, N.D., the refinery manufactures gasoline, diesel fuel, jet fuel, heavy fuel oils and liquefied petroleum gas, of which most are shipped via pipeline to the eastern part of the state and Minnesota. The facility has a daily capacity of 58,000 barrels, processing mainly low-sulfur domestic crude oil.
By focusing on continuously improving its workplace safety and health, the refinery has experienced a 45 percent reduction in injury and illness rates since 2004. The refinery earned VPP Merit recognition in August 2007, and in January 2011, it was designated a Star site, the highest level of recognition offered by OSHA’s VPP. A VPP Star site maintains employee injury and illness rates below the national average for its industry.
Part of the Mandan site’s safety successes can be attributed to its “Triangle of Prevention System” (TOP) incident investigation program, a worker-driven and company-supported safety and health program. The TOP program is a system-based safety program that uses a three-pronged attack on hazards in the workplace by identifying failures in the system, making recommendations to correct these types of failures and tracking the recommendations to completion.
Among the site’s other notable efforts are its emergency preparedness and response teams, proactive hazard analysis systems and employee training systems.
One of the worst-case scenarios for a business owner is an industrial accident causing property damage or personal injury to workers. One possibility could be an industrial accident caused by combustible dust, or tiny airborne particulates that can suddenly explode under the particular circumstances.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines combustible dust as: “Any finely divided solid material that is 420 microns or smaller in diameter (material passing a U.S. No. 40 Standard Sieve) and presents a fire or explosion hazard when dispersed and ignited in air.” Some typically well-known sources of combustible dust include: wheat grain, powdered sugar, lactose, powdered aluminum, and plastic resins.
As leaders in industrial hazard mitigation, we’ve been championing the practice of routine dust removal by vacuuming for years. Recently, in this space, we’ve even been blogging about the subject to get the word out. Here are a few examples:
The threat of a combustible dust accident is so alarming that the U.S. government has also gone to great lengths to educate the private sector about ways that businesses can mitigate the risks of one occurring. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued very detailed guidelines for combustible dust mitigation.
The latest Safety and Health Information Bulletin (SHIB 07-31-2005) from OSHA on combustible dust, “Combustible Dust in Industry: Preventing and Mitigating the Effects of Fire and Explosions,” lays out the agency’s oversight scope in the regulation of combustible dust in the workplace. It states in part: “This Safety and Health Information Bulletin is not a standard or regulation, and it creates no new legal obligations … Pursuant to the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employers must comply with hazard-specific safety and health standards promulgated by OSHA or by a state with an OSHA-approved state plan … Employers can be cited for violating the General Duty Clause if there is a recognized hazard and they do not take reasonable steps to prevent or abate the hazard.”
To help our customers understand the ramifications of the OSHA standards, we’ve put together an e-book that offers you a detailed overview of them, called Meeting OSHA Recommendations for Combustible Dust. We hope it will answer many of the questions you may have on this important topic.
Want to learn more about OSHA Guidelines?
In our ongoing series of posts highlighting companies that have taken extra steps to satisfy Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety requirements in their Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), a cooperative program that recognizes employers and employees who proactively prevent worksite injuries and illnesses, here we look at Clow Valve, a subsidiary of McWane, Inc.
Since 1926, Clow Valve has been recognized as one of the country’s leading and most experienced manufacturers of ductile iron pipe. The company’s machine shop and metal casting facility in Oskaloosa, Iowa, manufactures fire hydrants and water valves. The metal casting facility produces gray iron, ductile iron and brass castings for valves and hydrants.
Even after decades of safety efforts – including written safety programs, training, machine guards, lockout/tagout programs and more – Clow Valve was experiencing incident rates above the national average for its industry. In 2005, the company overhauled its safety programs to incorporate core VPP elements. In 2007, Iowa OSHA’s VPP team conducted a nine-day VPP onsite audit, and Clow Valve’s metal casting facility achieved VPP Merit status.
Clow Valve’s work with on-site consultation and participation in the Iowa VPP resulted in improved workplace safety, health performance and other benefits. For instance, the metal casting facility reduced its incident rates to below the industry’s national average, and employee turnover rates fell from 89 percent in 2000 to 13 percent in 2010.
Today, commitment to safety and health is part of the company’s culture, with employees engaged and taking ownership of safety. Clow Valve is now an advocate of OSHA cooperative programs, such as VPP, and mentors other facilities seeking to enter the VPP process.
DeMarco Industrial Vacuums like many other manufacturers have a long history of making revolutionary advancements in products and processes to improve efficiency, quality and safety. In an effort to showcase innovation in manufacturing, over the coming year, we will be highlighting companies that are making strides to increase innovation, quality, and productivity.
One company that is building on a legacy of innovation is Rolls-Royce. Rolls-Royce recently announced a new multimillion-dollar partnership with Singapore University that will focus on fundamental research and pioneering technology to develop innovative solutions to overcome challenges in large-scale manufacturing and repair, such as reducing noise and emissions.
The centerpiece is the $75 million Rolls-Royce@NTU Corporate Lab, the first of its kind in the world with a university, focusing on three core research areas: electrical power and control systems; manufacturing and repair technologies; and computational engineering.
“Running 32 distinct research projects over the next five years, the lab aims at inventing more efficient and reliable energy delivery systems, developing innovative manufacturing technologies to complement more robust power systems and extracting information from equipment and processes so that operators can make timely and informed business critical decisions,” Engineering & Technology magazine explains.
The Rolls-Royce@NTU Corporate Lab is located at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, which is recognized as one ofAsia’s foremost research and development hubs and one of the fastest-rising universities worldwide in terms of ranking. The lab will have a team of more than 300 top-level talent composed of research staff and technical experts.
Rolls-Royce is no stranger to NTU, having forged a close partnership with the university in the last eight years, when research collaborations were initiated in the domains of power generation, power electronics and control systems. This isn’t the company’s only academic partnership, having forged collaborative relationships with universities in subject areas ranging from composite materials and fuel cell systems to thermo-fluid systems and nuclear engineering.
Companies that believe workplace safety planning should be proactive rather than reactive address the safety of their employees before dangerous incidents occur and beyond only what the law mandates. In the first of a series of blog posts highlighting companies that have taken extra steps to satisfy Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) safety requirements in their Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP), a cooperative program that recognizes employers and employees who proactively prevent worksite injuries and illnesses, here we look at the General Electric Sayre Railcar Repair shop.
Located in north-central Pennsylvania, this GE full-service railcar service shop’s 100+ workers repair and service all types of railroad cars. GE Rail Services was first recognized as a Star worksite under VPP in 2001. VPP Star status recognizes the efforts of managers and employees who have achieved exemplary safety and health management systems.
At the Sayre service shop, a number of safety improvements were made due to the site’s ergonomics team – made up of 18-20 employee team members – which was involved in determining worksite needs in relation to best ergonomic practices. Supported by management, the team has conducted employee comfort surveys to gauge the quantitative risk associated with job tasks.
In addition to performing repairs and/or modifications, the many activities at the Sayre shop include removing residual commodity and removing paint and interior lining (abrasive blasting).
OSHA believes that by using good work practices, the risk of exposure to air contaminants and other safety/health risks associated with abrasive blasting can be minimized. Such practices include using industrial vacuum systems equipped with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters or wet methods when removing accumulated dust. Companies looking to participate in the VPP program while facing dust issues related to abrasive blasting should consider a DEMARCO Industrial Vacuum system.
The food and beverage industry recalled about 8.5 million units of products in the first quarterof 2013. Based on analysis of data from the first quarter, extraneous material was the single largest cause of the U.S. Department of Agriculture-requested recalls during the period, accounting for more than one in four recalls (28 percent). Undeclared allergens were the second most frequent cause of recalls reported by the USDA, marking an important reminder to food companies how crucial it is to manage food ingredients well.
Even with food safety and quality standards in place, cross-contamination exposure remains if the right industrial vacuum isn’t being used. By using the right food-processing vacuum, it will prevent the spread of pathogens, otherwise distributed using brooms, mops, rags, and compressed air – even inadequately filtered vacuums. This will ultimately protect food products from bacteria, allergens and other material that is not safe.
Of course, industrial vacuums come in many different forms to satisfy specific applications for the food industry. Here are a few industrial vacuum features to look for in the maintenance needs of the food industry:
- HEPA filters to create contaminate-free exhaust and prevent allergens and bacteria from recirculating in the air
- Explosion-proof models with built-in safety measures like explosion-proof motors, anti-static filters and non-sparking outer shells
- Food-grade accessories such as color-coded nozzles and heat-resistant wands, nozzles and filters that can withstand high temperatures
Ultimately, developing a strong cleaning and maintenance program with the right industrial vacuum can make a significant difference in the safety required in food processing.