The manufacturing process is completely automated and utilizes vacuum and compressed air to handle and position the fasteners. Since there was no form of dust control, a significant amount of fugitive zinc dust was released into the assembly area. The zinc dust created a housekeeping issue and raised concerns about the operator’s safety and the need for explosion protection.
This process was to be relocated to a new, air-conditioned area of the facility. Since the new area was enclosed, management was very concerned with the fugitive dust issue and contacted SysTech Design for a solution.
SysTech Design developed an effective dust control system that integrated an exhaust hood/duct into the automated assembly machines. The exhaust hoods capture the dust at the source and two (2) Cincinnati Fan Industrial Exhausters draw the dirty air stream into (2) Model DFO 3-12 Donaldson Torit cartridge style dust collectors where the zinc dust is removed. The clean air then travels thru a HEPA final filter before being returned to the air-conditioned work area.
A complicating factor with this application was the explosive nature of the very fine zinc dust. The solution was to incorporate explosion vents on the dust collectors along with a Fike explosion suppression system in the intake duct and return air ducts to prevent the return of an explosion fireball.
The resulting system provides a high-quality atmosphere for the Reading facility and its employees, minimized housekeeping requirements, significant energy savings by re-circulating the cooled/heated air and a work area protected from a potential explosion.