Industry experts shared strategies and suggestions to minimize and mitigate dust explosions at the opening keynote technology panel on the first day of the International Powder & Bulk Solids conference held at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL.
Vahid Ebadat, chief executive officer, Chilworth North America, said that companies should consider a site audit to prevent dust explosions at their facilities. Ebadat also said that there are specific tests for facilities to consider when examining how to best manage their potential for combustible dusts. For example, a company may prefer to use a test to explore their potential for static electricity rather than use another type of test.
Speaking before a standing room only crowd, each industry expert provided insight on different ways the audience could prevent conflagrations in their dust-handling operations.
Gary Q. Johnson, chemical engineer and consultant with Workplace Exposure Solutions, suggested that companies move to closed process designs to protect their equipment and facilities from dust explosions. “The whole name of the game is to minimize dust,” Johnson said.
According to said David Grandaw, vice president of sales, IEP Technologies, companies can direct an explosion or conflagration to an outdoor area to minimize the effect. “It’s very important that when explosion venting is used, it is directed to a safe area,” Grandaw said.
One of the challenges for creating standards for preventing combustible dust within the industry is that so many industries are different, according to Bill Stevenson, vice president of engineering, CV Technology. Stevenson, who is a NFPA 652 committee member, said that the agricultural industry may be totally different from another industry and trying to make the same standard for both industries may not work.
In addition to providing his insights as part of the keynote panel on combustible dust, Johannes Lotterman, head of projects and expansion with Rembe Inc., later demonstrated mini explosions on the show floor.