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Choosing the Right Dust/Fume Collector

October 12, 2017

When buying air filtration equipment for an industrial or welding training facility, it can difficult to effectively determine the best fit for you.

With the variety of companies and collection systems on the market, it can be hard to decipher what you need and who is going to deliver the best quality system.  Every company will say that their product is the best on the market, but how do you know what to look for?  With increasing OSHA standards, International Standards, EPA regulations, and more, proper air quality inside your facility is more important than ever.  Clean Air America, Inc. stands ready to help you look at the different aspects of a collector system and determine if the system you are looking at is really all it’s cracked up to be.  Here are five important features for any dust, fume, or smoke collection system when sifting through the options:

  1. The Complete Package

A quality dust/fume collector system will include everything you need to make the unit work.  This includes the cabinet, motor, blower, control panel, and filters; no work should be done on site besides the electrical, compressed air connections, and basic setup/ducting.  Units that are completely assembled prior to shipping by most companies will be inspected and tested before they leave the manufacturer. Of course, this should include the all-important leak test to ensure the integrity of a cabinet. A fully functional collector with an integrated cabinet, motor blower and particulate containment unit is one indication of a smart design that will be easier to install.

  1. Save On Energy

Many collector systems are just the unit itself, no VFD (Variable Frequency Drive), no control interface, or anything to help you out when it comes to saving on energy and making it easier to maintain.  Any collector system is an investment, but the true value of a collector is its ability to pay itself off in a timely manner. For example, a major company doing a hefty amount of welding installed the Clean Air Collector for their air filtration needs and saw close to $700,000 in savings on heating costs alone.  Find a system with a VFD and other energy saving features such as economizer (auto start/stop) and high efficiency motor/blower kit and you will see saving in your energy cost as well.  These systems tend to pay for their self in the amount of savings you see.  On top of energy saving, maintenance cost is also important and can save your company even more.  By having an easy to read human interface, a company is able to see quick specs on the status of the unit’s motor/blow speed, filters, etc.  This can allow you to see what units need filter changes or which ones are not preforming like they should saving you valuable time in figuring out why a unit isn’t filtering like it should.

  1. Filters, Filters, Filters

The most important part of a cartridge filter collection system is just that, the filters.  A system without quality filters become a partial filtration system instead of a complete filtration system.  If you are purchasing a collector, consider the life span of the filters it uses, the cost, and the variety of filters.  Think of this like when you purchase a car, do you want one that requires only premium gas and only get 15 miles per gallon, or the one that can take regular to premium and gets 27 miles per gallon?  Make sure to find out the expected life span of the filter based on your current productions schedule and the cost to replace those, if they think you will need to change the filters every 6-8 months, and they cost $300+ per filter then maybe that is not the most cost effective unit.  Not every filter is the same, either.  See if they offer a variety of filters with different MERV ratings; a MERV-11 will not last as long as a MERV-16 or one with a PTFE membrane.  On top of this a MERV-11 will not work as well for high static conditions and require a higher MERV.

  1. Safety First

Safety is extremely important to any company.  This starts with the safety of your most valuable asset – your workers.  Collector systems are designed to clean the air in your facility to decrease health risks associated with welding, grinding, plasma/laser cutting, etc.  Make sure the company you purchase the collector from is knowledgeable enough to determine the correct collector size to meet the needs of the application, the more smoke/dust created the larger the unit needed.  If a 2,000 CFM unit is used in a project that will need 5,000 CFM, the smoke/dust will continue to plague the air and your purchase will be in vain. Next is the safety of the equipment itself.  Although the risk of fire is not part of all applications, if yours is then a fire suppression or spark arrestor is something that is important for you.  Make sure the company you are getting your collector from offers one or both of these safety options.  The best collectors offer a system that can detect both the presence of smoke and heat. Typically, when smoke is detected a damper is closed to eliminate oxygen and smother a fire. If heat is detected, FM-200 fire suppressant gas is deployed to extinguish the fire and protect employees and your investment in equipment and the facility.

  1. One Stop Shop & Factory Direct

Most filtration companies only make certain type of filtration units and buy others from different companies or only offer the units and not duct work or installation.  Find someone who does it all and does it all in house instead of purchasing it from someone and reselling it to you.  This will help cut cost of the machine itself by allowing you to get factory direct pricing.  Not only does this offer you better savings since there is no middle man markup, but also means you’re getting a product from someone who can help you fix, troubleshoot, etc. if any problems occur.  This allows you to get help from the experts that work on and see these units every day.

Choosing the right collector or filtration system is vital to you and your employee’s health, company productivity, and overall costs of the company.  It’s important to look at every aspect of the collector and make sure you are getting the right one, for the best price, and the lowest overall operating costs.  If they offer a Low Energy Air Filtration (LEAF) option, you should probably strongly consider it.  This will allow you to allow the unit to pay for itself in the savings you will see from it.

Clean Air America, Inc. is the go-to source for top of the line air filtration for many of the top automotive manufacturers and suppliers; equipment manufacturers, welding training labs, and more.  Offering premier equipment, turnkey engineered solutions, factory direct pricing, and a dedicated support team, Clean Air America is your one stop shop for all your filtration needs – from welding, to dust, to oil mist/smoke, and more.


industrial, welding smoke

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