No matter how dialed in your production processes are, dust can be that “devil in the details” that plagues your rock, sand, gravel, or mineral processing operation.
Too much airborne dust surrounding a particular rock crushing station, for instance, or constantly producing a cloud around your stockpiles as they’re formed by high-angled radial stackers, not only creates employee health hazards, it can lead to equipment damage over time, which equals downtime as well as repair costs. Perhaps even worse, regulations about creating dust—specifically “respirable crystalline silica”—have become much stricter within the last year, and you may have compliance obligations under OSHA rules to worry about now, as well.
The good news is there are many dust suppression options out there today, from add-ons for your current equipment to high-performance site-wide tools like misting cannons. Today’s post will offer a basic overview of why you need to implement dust control strategies in your operation.
Wet or Dry Dust Suppression: Which is Better?
This somewhat depends on the nature of the material you’re working with, but the truth is, you will likely require both “dry” (relating mainly to containment tactics) and “wet” solutions to keep dust fully under control at various stages in your process. For instance, screening equipment often incorporates screen dust covers that physically block dust—a dry suppression tactic—while water spray nozzles atomized misters are added to conveyors and crushing stations to move airborne dust to the ground.
Another option, which is not truly wet or dry, relies on specially formulated and environmentally-friendly foam chemicals in a high-pressure misting system. The foam prevents product against composition changes associated with the introduction of pure water in wet suppression.
What is Wet Dust Suppression and Why Do We Need it?
Sometimes classified as Washing Equipment, wet dust suppression systems are typically integrated on standalone conveyors or newer machinery that involves conveyor belts and screens, (like crushers that include built-in belts and/or screening capabilities). This equipment tends to generate the most dust in a variety of aggregate production and mining operations, and thus most requires dust suppression directly applied to its operation.
It’s true that some business operations create excessive dust throughout their entire process and require dust management solutions at each stage, or even across the whole mine or quarry site.
Wet Dust Suppression is Especially Important to Meet Stricter OSHA regulations
If you’re crushing glass or stockpiling sand as part of your operation, silica dust may be a significant issue for you, though releasing fine particulate matter of any kind into the air is something you want to control. Even if you’re not currently subject to OSHA’s new rule that reduces the permissible exposure limit (PEL) of crystalline silica to 50 micrograms per cubic meter (µg/m3) averaged over an eight-hour shift, it may be a good time to begin thinking about compliance, as the standard may be expanded later.
Wet dust suppression systems have been shown to significantly remove and reduce respirable (breathable) dust, and implementing some of these tools, specifically for crushers and conveyors, can help you reach compliance. Of course, workers will also need to don protective gear within high-dust areas, as well.
A Few Equipment Options for Suppressing Dust on Conveyors
As we mentioned previously, water spray nozzles and misting systems are some of the popular solutions for dust control on conveyors—these can be added on to machinery, or you may purchase boom-mounted equipment that can be moved around and adjusted over time.
Another unique solution is the misting ring, which looks something like a basketball hoop surrounding the bottom of discharge points on conveyors or chutes. This introduces a circular curtain of mist around the material as it’s being loaded or stockpiled that makes dust settle much faster instead of floating off into the air.
Need Help Minimizing Dust at Every Stage of Your Operation?
The solutions experts at Kemper Equipment are here to help. We have the wet dust suppression equipment you need to protect worker health and safety, meet tougher industry regulations, and simply run a cleaner operation that will encounter less downtime for maintenance and other problems.
Contact us today and learn how our decades’ worth of aggregate production, mining, and material handling knowledge and experience can revolutionize your business.