Don’t let your dust collector bite the dust. These air filtration systems are critical in all industries where the presence of dust can impact employee health or damage equipment. Examples include concrete, grain or food processing, and pharmaceutical production, to name a few. But despite their importance, not all dust collector systems are created equal. As the filter bag cakes up with dust, the dust can restrict the flow of clean air, increasing the pressure drop through the system and reducing efficiency.
Dust collectors operate by sending a pulse of compressed air through the filters to dislodge any caked-on dust. Because compressed air requires energy to create, it can be an expensive commodity. An effective dust collector must therefore balance the amount of air, the pressure of the delivered air — also known as the peak pressure — and cleaning efficiency.
This is where pulse valves come in. These critical components deliver the pulse of compressed air with the right combination of features that will provide the high reliability your dust collector needs to operate more efficiently. These features include:
- An ability to deliver the correct peak pressure for optimal cleaning
- Extremely fast valve response times, reducing the amount of air required
- A rugged, reliable, and easy-to-operate design, enabling the valve to withstand challenging or hazardous environments with minimal maintenance
Image courtesy of Emerson
How Dust Collector Systems Operate
In a typical dust collector system, dust builds up on the outside surface of the filter material. To clean these dust “cakes,” the system will blast compressed air down a blow tube through the center of the filter, forcing the filter bag to rapidly expand and fracturing the cake. In a reverse pulse-jet dust collector, the air pulse travels in the opposite direction of regular airflow. The pulse knocks the accumulated dust off the filters, causing it to drop out of the collector and into the hopper. This cleaning process prevents you from having to replace your filters as often, significantly extending the life of your filters. And, as an integral part of the manufacturing process, an efficient dust collector system can increase the efficiency of your plant operation.
Why the Right Pulse Valve Matters
The right pulse valve will improve the filter cleaning process, enabling you to maximize the efficiency of your dust collector system. Each filter system is designed to operate at an optimal peak pressure, which the system must be able to achieve quickly via a single burst of air. At this pressure range, the system will clean the filters effectively without damaging or ripping any filters.
A pulse valve with a slow valve response time is wasting compressed air and can reduce the efficiency of the filter cleaning process. The solution is to use a pulse valve with the fastest response time to achieve significant energy savings every pulse. These pulse valves must be able to sense the pressure drop across the fabric or cartridge filters in a way that provides the optimal peak pressure: Too much pressure can cause the filter bags to break or tear, while too little pressure won’t clean the filters completely. For these reasons, a valve’s performance can significantly impact the cleaning efficiency of dust collector systems.
To unlock greater cleaning efficiency, a construction with a springless one-piece diaphragm design is necessary. This design feature will simplify and reduce maintenance time. The diaphragm used in high-quality pulse valves should also be rugged enough to endure the toughest applications.
This one-piece TPE diaphragm also allows air to travel underneath the diaphragm instead of over a wall, reducing restrictions to airflow and increasing air speed. According to laboratory tests, this design can improve peak pressures by 14%. And, by reaching the peak pressure quickly, these valves improve filter cleaning.
Reduce the Cost of Compressed Air
Pulse valves with quick response times not only improve filter cleaning efficiency, but also reduce the cost of compressed air, which is one of the most consumable products in dust collector systems. Compressed air is also one of the more expensive processes in manufacturing and can be a headache for many original equipment manufacturers (OEM). Whenever you can decrease your use of compressed air, you save money. Pulse valves with a slow response time can use 15% or more compressor air in the time it takes to hit peak pressure. When selecting a pulse valve for your dust collector, we recommend performing a cost analysis on your compressed air consumption costs.
Simplify Your Installation and Maintenance Needs
Installation and maintenance costs make up a large part of manufacturing overhead, often requiring personnel with special tools and skills. Due to this fact, many manufacturers invest a lot of effort in designing components that reduce the time and skills needed for these critical operations. When it comes to pulse valve technology, it’s important to look for components with connection options that facilitate easy installation and maintenance.
In addition, lowering the count of internal valve parts has a positive effect on pulse valve performance and maintenance. The fewer components that can fail, the better.
The Importance of Extended Temperature Ranges
Dust collector pulse valves with limited temperature ranges can fail prematurely in applications that involve extreme environments, such as those found in mining, cement and metal working facilities. Valves that have an extended temperature range offer a longer lifespan, eliminating unscheduled downtime in these critical applications.
Get Started With the Right Pulse Valve
The right pulse valve can help you unlock greater air and energy savings in dust collector system applications. Components with a higher peak pressure and faster valve response time will not only provide cleaner filter bags, but they’ll consume less air in the process — lowering the overall cost of your system.
Michael Russo is product marketing manager, dust collector systems for Emerson. For more information, visit www.emerson.com.