Cargo Handler Utilizes Customized Dust Suppression Rig

September 18, 2012

6 Min Read
Cargo Handler Utilizes Customized Dust Suppression Rig
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An innovative stevedore and bulk distribution center in Veracruz has developed a customized dust management system, with onboard generator, water tanker, and high-efficiency atomized misting unit. Pulled by a conventional semi truck, the fully-mobile system delivers excellent particle suppression. Yet the rig is so versatile that one driver can quickly relocate it virtually anywhere on the property to allow for shifting winds and changing jobsites, saving valuable manpower and time.  

Servicios Especiales Portuarios S.A. (SEPSA) handles more than a million metric tons of bulk cargo per year, including shredded and structural scrap, pig iron, hot briquette iron, petcoke, and fertilizer. Dust suppression is an integral part of the company’s environmental stewardship, and the firm has been using a DustBoss DB-60 since early 2011 to effectively control ground level dust and airborne particles.  

During that time, employees found the port’s geographic location presented some unique challenges to effective dust suppression. With its sudden shifts in wind and weather, crews were forced to relocate the DustBoss frequently to allow for drift over the company’s 5-hectare property.  

“We have a large facility, and our location is prone to wind storms from the north, known as ‘Los Nortes’ in Spanish,” explained director Andrew Gillespie. “When we have operations running and the wind picks up, we need to relocate the DustBoss to accommodate that. It has to happen quickly and easily.”

The dust suppression rig was designed by SEPSA’s in-house maintenance team, with collaboration from Dust Control Technology (Peoria, IL).  Starting with a used tanker truck that was originally built to haul cement, SEPSA engineers obtained detailed information on the DustBoss unit from DCT, including dimensions, weight, flow rates, and generator recommendations.  

DCT is no stranger to this type of project. “We specialize in customized solutions for specific applications,” said president Laura Stiverson. “With dust management, there are so many variables that an off-the-shelf product often isn’t the optimum choice. Each set of operating conditions and work requirements is unique, and the best way to maximize dust suppression is to tailor the solution to the individual environment.”  

Armed with the necessary input, the SEPSA crew obtained a diesel-driven generator and mounted it on top of the tanker at one end, placing the suppression unit at the other end. The unit was supplied by DCT with a special corrosion-resistant paint on all exposed parts to protect metal surfaces from the corrosive effects of the salty air and high humidity.  All piping and electrical connections were completed by the SEPSA team.  Finally, they installed catwalks and safety railings around both the generator and the DustBoss, and fabricated a ladder that is welded down one side of the tanker to access the top level.

The atomized mist suppression unit is the flagship of DCT’s product family. The standard design features a manifold of 30 brass nozzles that create millions of water droplets per minute within a range of 50-200 microns, the optimum size for particle attraction and coverage area, then launches them with a powerful 25-HP fan. Delivering a range of more than 200 ft under calm conditions, a DB-60 equipped with full oscillation can cover more than 125,000 sq ft of area (approx. 2.8 acres or 1.1 hectares) with a fine, dust-trapping mist. Throw angle elevation is adjustable from 0º to 50º.

Unlike most dust suppression equipment suppliers, DCT offers a wide range of nozzles and spray manifolds for different applications, providing the ability to customize the spray pattern and droplet size to suit the specific type of dust being addressed. To maximize ground-level suppression, SEPSA’s machine also has an optional metering pump built in that allows precise application of a water/cellulose mixture to coal stockpiles, which forms a thin crust and eliminates dust migration during periods of high winds.

All of the DustBoss fan-driven models are available with patent-pending Variable Particle Sizing technology, providing customers with a wide selection of different nozzles to suit individual applications. VPS can be used to control dust outside the typical 50-200 micron range, such as odor-causing vapors or solids that may be as small as a micron in diameter. It can also be an advantage for customers seeking to maximize control of a specific particle size, as when suppressing dust from a single type of material.

The rig is primarily used in storage areas to control dust during vessel unloading and material distribution to rail cars and trucks. SEPSA also moves the DustBoss to the pier occasionally, depending on wind conditions and the material being unloaded. Typical turnaround times are 2-4 days per ship.  

For monitoring the dust levels, SEPSA employs a high-volume air sampling system from Tisch Environmental to measure total suspended particulates.  “We’re subject to close environmental scrutiny,” continued Gillespie. “The Port Authority of Veracruz (APIVER) monitors our stockyard daily, and we also hire a third-party monitor to come several times a year to report their findings.”

Though only in service for a few months so far, the tanker is expected to reduce the manpower requirements and transition time whenever there’s a need to relocate the dust suppression system. “We know it’s maneuverable, and the DustBoss has proven its effectiveness,” Gillespie concluded.  “Now that we have this rig, the dust suppressor is an even bigger asset in our arsenal against fugitive dust.”  

“Because of our decision to be a specialist manufacturer, focused solely on atomized mist technology, DCT delivers a depth of experience in dust suppression that more diversified equipment suppliers can’t equal,” Stiverson concluded. “Whether it’s matching nozzles to particle sizes or helping customers build mobile suppression units for specific environments, we have a large network of expert resources to address virtually any dust management application.”

SEPSA is a leading-edge stevedoring and bulk cargo distribution company based in the port of Veracruz. The firm was conceived as a highly specialized port terminal handler of bulk minerals and metal products, with optimized loading and off-loading maneuvers and storage within the port. SEPSA offers high productivity in the discharge of vessels, minimizing costs for the importer. The company specializes in solving performance problems and meeting ecological challenges, with due regard to all standards and regulations proposed by the Port Authority of Veracruz (APIVER) within its Master Development Plan.

Dust Control Technology is a global leader in dust and odor control solutions for ports and shipping, slag handling, material recycling, coal, and demolition. The company specializes in atomized mist technology, with its entire focus on customized equipment for dust suppression and evaporation. For more information, visit

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