The company is a leading producer of metal wool and fibres. The reference products are metal based: composites of steel (including stainless steel), copper, brass, bronze and zinc fibres, and aluminium wool.
These are produced and sold across all the main European and worldwide markets.
The company contacted Tecnosida® because, in a specific production plant site in Poland, there had been problems related to fires, explosions and emissions that were incompatible with the regulations.
Tecnosida® immediately prepared the necessary procedures to inspect and perform a technical analysis of the situation, from which it was evident that the explosive events were related to the production technology used. Grinding the material required for manufacturing the final product meant creating sparks (the source of ignition). The resulting dust was considerably explosive and prone to spontaneous ignition, facilitating the deflagration.
Previous solutions implemented by other companies:
- Initially a cyclone dust collector was used to treat the emissive flow. However, tests revealed that this technology did not guarantee atmospheric emission;
- The second attempt was to place a bag filter to remove the dust. This solution was found to be unsuitable since the bags frequently caught fire, even though they were made of fireproof material, compromising the production plant’s operation;
- The third solution used a wet fume treatment system. The following problems were immediately encountered:
- difficulty in separating the wet matrix from the residues;
- caking and incrustation of the filler material;
- problems with disposal of the mineral lubricant used for cutting.
Solution proposed by Tecnosida®:
The nature of the dust meant that it was necessary to use a completely safe treatment for the emissive flow to prevent fire. Based on the previous solutions found not to be suitable, Tecnosida® designed a dedicated ATEX compliant exhaust and dust removal system, to solve the problems described above definitively. It was necessary to design a settling system that could automatically detect and extinguish sparks, in addition to another system for evacuating the flow from the production process in the event of a considerable amount of sparks.
Specifically, by analysing the production process it was found that all the elements that contribute to the development of fire were present, including:
- fuel: represented by the compounds resulting from the production process, (zinc stearate, aluminium, etc.)
- comburent: oxygen in the dust extraction air
- ignition source: sparks created by grinding the material
During testing, the safety and fire/explosion prevention system were set up. Once the technical tests on the pilot plant were complete, the emissions were found to be much lower than required by the standard. Moreover, the plant was able to operate continuously, thanks to the effectiveness of the prevention system used.
Once the excellent results had been confirmed, the customer commissioned other four equivalent exhaust systems.
The main parts of the system, suitable dimensioned and designed for the specific productions lines, were:
- 1 Dustdown® bag filter complete with anti-explosion panels and shutter system with check valves, compliant with the ATEX standard requirements.
- Settling system with automatic spark detection and extinguishing for prevention
- Flow extraction system for further safety
- Electrical/mechanical plant control panel
- Centrifugal fan with motor and belt transmission
Tecnosida®’s ultimate goal was to ensure that the emissions met the standards in force to conserve the internal/external environment in order to reduce the environmental impact of the processes.
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