Dust collection systems play a vital role in many manufacturing industries; they ensure product quality by maintaining a clean and hygienic environment, and they also protect your workers’ health by keeping harmful contaminants at a minimum.
However, a dust collection system can only do its best if its industrial filter is clean and ready to capture – and you may be dismayed to find that yours isn’t up to the task.
You have many factors to consider when protecting your workers and your end product, like ear protection, eye shields, and gloves, and your dust collection system may seem like the last thing on your to-do list.
This is why it’s important to get ahead of the issue and recognize the signs that your industrial filters are failing before they imperil health and safety standards.
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This is perhaps the most obvious one, and it demonstrates that the filter may have a buildup of grime that might not come free with a simple unclogging.
A thin sheen of contaminants may prevent it from effectively trapping dust and other fine particles, but trying to remove it may damage the filter or the dust collection system itself. In this instance, it’s best to call a filter manufacturer and order a new one immediately.
Unexpected Equipment Failure
You might not realize just how much a dusty environment endangers your workers and your equipment. As fine particulates float into the gears and other moving parts, they can stymie its efficiency and lead to shutdowns as the system overheats.
While some shutdowns can be attributed to overwork, inadequate lubrication, or electrical problems, should all of these be ruled out, you might need to check your dust collection system and explore whether its filter is no longer functioning properly.
The dust collector itself might fail, or even worse: it might catch fire. Numerous manufacturing facilities in a variety of fields, such as CNC manufacturing, have experienced serious fires thanks to a failing dust collector; while most of these have thankfully not resulted in worker injuries, they represent a major hazard that needs to be avoided through regular inspections and replacement of industrial filters meant to keep you, your machinery, and your workers safe.
Reduced Product Quality
Dust can easily contaminate products and reduce product quality, some of which may be noticeable to consumers.
While this is concerning in all industries, you may find yourself in serious trouble should dust infiltrate foodstuffs or cosmetics: given that dust is quite dirty, it can lead to bacterial overgrowths that require recalls. In other instances, excessive dust can imperil the integrity of manufactured equipment, which could lead to lawsuits if your product fails on a job site.
If you note consistently poor results on quality assurance checks, there are many factors you’ll need to investigate, but one you shouldn’t overlook is the quality of your industrial filter: it can make a big difference in the quality of your manufacturing.
Worker Health Issues
An unhygienic environment doesn’t just impact your bottom line: it can also lead to health concerns in your workers, particularly if you work in fabrication or carpentry. These fine particulates settle in the respiratory system, which can cause chest colds, sinus issues, and allergy flare-ups.
When the industrial filter has experienced a catastrophic failure, your workers may be breathing in dangerous wood or metal shavings that could seriously impact their health.
You might find yourself on the wrong side of OSHA or even having to provide workers’ compensation should you fail to protect your workers from harmful contaminants that lead to long-term respiratory issues.
Along with personal protective equipment, your dust collection filters are your first line of defense to keeping you, your product, and your employees safe from harm; any time they fail, you need to act fast by replacing the filters so you can get back to work.
How Often Should I Replace My Industrial Filter?
Every industrial filter is different, so there’s no hard and fast rule. There are four different types of filters: polyester, nylon, fiberglass, and pleated paper.
Each of these has a different shelf life, with polyester being the most long-lasting – especially as it’s washable and reusable.
You will need to check with the manufacturer to see exactly how long your specific filter is expected to last. Generally, a filter will last at least one year, but some may last three years depending on its construction, your facility’s line of work, and the output you conduct in your facility.
It’s always best to err on the side of caution and replace the filter a little ahead of time, as it can save you major headaches regarding poor manufacturing quality and worker health problems. Pay close attention to these signs and be ready to act fast by replacing this most essential piece of equipment.