Dust explosions are an ever-present risk for all bulk powder processors and handlers, threatening the safety of your workers and your bottom line. So how can a plant protect against dust explosions?
There are safety measures, such as controlling ignition sources or performing regular and thorough cleaning, that powder processing plants can take to limit the potential of a dust explosion as well as collect and eliminate dangerous combustible dusts.
Is Your Rotary Valve or Airlock On It’s Way Out? Rotary Valve Rebuilding May Be an Option
Dear Powder Doctor,
Our rotary valve is in need of replacement. We’re aware that a new rotary valve is quite expensive. Do you have recommendations for finding a cost-effective replacement?
When it comes to protecting plant and employee safety, many powder processors are focused on mitigating the buildup of combustible dusts as they can lead to costly and even deadly dust explosions.
In fact, 14 people were killed and 38 others were injured in a single, tragic dust explosion at Imperial Sugar Company in Port Wentworth, Georgia in 2008. Furthermore, the Center for Public Integrity analyzed data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) back in 2012 and reported that 130 workers have lost their lives and 800 more have been injured in hundreds of combustible dust accidents since 1980.
For bulk powder processing plants, rotary valves — also known as rotary airlocks, rotary feeders, and countless other variations — control the flow of powder into and out of many critical points within the plant. Beyond controlling the flow of powder, rotary valves can be vital for safety as they often act as a flame barrier and process isolator in the event of a dangerous dust explosion.
A dust explosion at a plant can have catastrophic consequences for many powder processors, including loss of life. In fact, according to an analysis of data from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) by the Center for Public Integrity back in 2012, there have been 450 dust explosions since 1980 in the US alone causing the deaths of nearly 130 workers and the injury of over 800.
For bulk powder processing plants, there’s always an emphasis placed on ensuring the highest standards of sanitation, safety and efficiency. But there are points in the production process where dust exposure can compromise each of these three powder processing pillars. Dust can lead to production contamination, require extensive cleaning, and increase the risk of dust explosions.
For food and beverage companies working with powdered ingredients, moving materials throughout the production process needs to be an effortless task to keep production running smoothly and on-time. To accomplish this, many processors turn to screw conveyors.
What is a screw conveyor?
Every powder processor has a unique production process, often requiring specific types of equipment to efficiently, safely and sanitarily transport powder materials from start to finish.
For those processors handling fine types of powder material, delicacy is important to limit degradation that could impact quality of the final product. In these cases, vibrating conveyors are typically the type of mechanical conveyors processors choose.
We’ve returned from a week in Chicago where we at PPS participated in the inaugural year of the ProFood Tech event. Here are our takeaways from the event and what you can expect to see following this show and educational sessions.
As you know, we exhibited in booth #2852 during the event towards the back of the hall and near the dining area. We had a wonderful flow of visitors throughout the event with their interests mainly pertaining to:
Dear Powder Doctor,
We are currently using an old bag dump system that’s messy and cumbersome to operate properly. Because of lost product and time inefficiencies, we’re thinking it may be time for an upgrade. Would you recommend a new bag dump station? Or should we consider moving to a bulk bag unloader?
Thanks for your expert insight!