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Dust Control in the Chemical Processing Industries

By Walter S. Kessler, Chilworth Technology, Inc. |

Dust in the chemical processing industries (CPI) is present in numerous operations, including powder processing; the transport of materials on belt or rotary-screw conveyors; grinding materials in giant shredders and pulverizers; machining, sawing, grinding or sanding operations; dumping bags of materials into reactors; handling coating materials; as well as the processing of pharmaceuticals and foods. An integral industry-safety issue arises when we consider the handling and suppression of the dust and particulate matter associated with these processes, namely preventing the formation of combustible clouds that can create a fire hazard or even trigger an explosion. Such a catastrophic dust explosion in a manufacturing facility is depicted in Figure 1. Additionally, protecting workers from the dangers of potentially dusty environments, including contact irritations and inhalation exposure, is an important factor in determining the methods and extent to which the particulate matter or dust needs to be suppressed or eliminated.    Figure 1. The lack of proper dust-control techniques can result in catastrophic fires and explosions in many types of facilities Regulations Dust hazards are so problematic to employees that the…
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