Material Cost. Labor Cost. Dust Cost?
As a manufacturer, material costs, labor costs, taxes, and all other costs must be accounted for. But think about how much people pay for dust.
Dust costs can be significant. Many dust collection systems “collect” the dust by moving and exhausting large amounts of air. When dust collection is needed for heated production spaces (even if they are not cooled), exhaust air wastes warm air. Depending on how a system is operated, that could cost $1/year, or more, per cfm exhausted.
The first way to minimizedust cost may be to reduce the amount of exhaust from the dust collection system. This can be accomplished through several means. First, use it only when needed. If production equipment is not operating during 3rd shift, dust collection and associated exhaust are probably not needed – shut it down!
Second, use it only where needed. Dust collection systems are available that have exhaust “stations”. These can be placed directly over dust sources and can be sized with the minimum level of airflow required. In many cases, these systems can be taken a step further by shutting down collection from stations where no dust is being generated. With these systems, VFDs can be installed on the dust collection fans to reduce their energy consumption as well. It is important, however, to make sure to have the system properly designed, and to ensure that adequate airflow is always maintained to prevent dust from settling in the ductwork.
Depending on potential contaminants collected by the system, one option may be to “reuse” the exhaust. Many dust collection systems can have the exhaust ducted back into the building. This allows the heat that is already paid for to be recaptured. In cases where air cannot be directly reused, once the dust is removed, the air may be able to be ducted through heat exchangers to at least recover some of the heat.
Another option is to not exhaust the air in the first place. Baghouse or canister style dust collectors can be placed at the source and can remove the dust without ever exhausting the air.
Regardless of which method is used, it is important to still maintain exhaust levels that are required to maintain air quality from other contaminants.
Ok. Recycling doesn’t really fit with this topic, but if all that money doesn’t have to be spent on dust, it could be spent in other areas. Perhaps a recycling program would fit the bill?