Case Studies: Enhanced dust collection brightens picture at Illinois contract cereals packager

Enhanced Dust Collection Brightens Picture
at Contract Packager of Cereals in Illinois

Abrasive material and sugar dust collection hose “You’d expect someone to invent a hose that would withstand the abrasiveness of sugar dust by now,” says an engineer for a contract packager of major cereal brands in Illinois. The company’s engineering team installed three dust collection systems to protect people and equipment in the company’s year-old packaging facility outside of Chicago.

Sugar, wheat, and cereal particulates make up the dust. Between hard ducting to the bag house and the totes, hoppers, elevators and fillers where dust is produced, flexible hose takes the abrasive force of all that sugar. Thanks to the new dust collection system installed by Hastings Air-Energy Control, New Berlin, WI, the hose in the cereal packaging plant does, indeed, withstand the abrasiveness of sugar in much better ways than before.

– Dust No Longer a Problem –

Lab coats, hairnets, safety glasses and dust masks used to be required at the packaging company’s older cereal packaging plants. Hastings was brought in to design a system that reduced so much dust in the environment that dust masks are no longer needed. “If you can control the environment, why not do that?” the engineer asks. Room cleaning now takes place at regularly scheduled intervals, not every time there is a change of flavors, as was done formerly. “Before, there was an unpleasant environment when it was very dusty,” he comments.

- Integrated engineering approach –

The cereal packaging firm took an integrated approach when designing for a cleaner environment at its new plant. The five-person engineering team brought in machinery manufacturers in addition to Hastings and hashed out all the details collaboratively. Health, safety and cleanliness requirements were clearly established.

Hastings proposed direct drive motors with a control system that ramps down the system’s fan to save energy while maintaining effective face velocity at all the dust collection points. The system compensates for dirty filters, and a magnehelic differential pressure gauge measures air pressures to control fan speed. “Compared to the discrete drive system we had before, our new control system is saving electricity,” the plant engineer observes.

– Cleaner moving parts –

Cost benefits add up with cleaner air and less energy wasted. Dust-free ambience improves productivity for the dozen-or-so workers around the cereal-filling line. Energy and maintenance costs are reduced. There is less wear on moving components of expensive equipment – sprockets, chains, bearings inside motors that can run hotter when dirty.

The engineer at the cereal packager likes the smaller, quieter, more efficient dust collection system he got from Hastings, calling it “a good thing going for us.” The quick-connect ductwork system, with its FDA approved food-grade polyester-polyurethane hoses, made by Masterduct, Inc., Houston, TX, comes apart easily for cleaning. Six lines for packaging with three dust collectors provide the ideal balance for size and effective dust control.

– Make-up air a consideration –

“It’s better to keep the dust collection unit close to the point of collection,” the plant engineer comments. Longer duct runs lose velocity, he notes, and the system keeps clean, tempered air inside of the room, where engineers can balance the heat load.

– Troublesome hoses no more –

“A lot of dust is sugar,” the engineer says, revisiting the subject of hoses in his dust collection system. “We went over to metal flexible duct for a while, but it’s expensive, and you can’t see through it. There’s also a lack of flexibility,” he complains. FDA approved sugar dust collection hose

“I had challenges with the other hoses I tried,” he says. “You’d see holes wearing through the back of it, especially the larger-size hoses.” The real problem, he says, is contamination if a piece of hose falls into the product.

Not with the Masterduct PUR hoses on his new Hastings-built dust collection system, however. Even after a year on the job, “They seem to be doing pretty well,” he observes. Nice.