How to maintain the vacuum in your dust extractor

dust extraction


A number of industrial operations require the removal of dust generated during the processes. A good example of these processes include the following:

– Processing of powders into tablets in the pharmaceutical industry
– Flour making (milling)
– Conversion of wood into finished products such as doors
– Welding fume extraction
– Food processing
– Paper and printing

For the purposes of maintaining a healthy working environment and to prevent the exposure of dust particles to the atmosphere, dust extraction systems are employed. They may vary in size and complexity but they all have the following components:

– Extraction hood
– Extract ducting
– Filtration unit
– Extract fan unit
– Dust collection
– Exhaust

The entire system works by capturing dust particles at source via the extraction hood through a vacuum created by the fan, transporting the dust through a network of ductwork, filtering the air to capture the large particles, collecting excess dust or particles and discharging the ‘clean’ air into the atmosphere.

To maintain an effective suction force or the dust extraction vacuum a number of factors need to be considered. The main factor is system design and extraction fan sizing. A poorly designed system will mean that the system never achieves the dust extraction vacuum required for it to perform optimally. Also during operation regular emptying of the dust collectors, maintenance and filtration unit cleaning, checks and replacement will also help to maintain the the dust extraction vacuum.

The second important factor is the use and operation of the fan dust extraction. Depending on the complexity of the system, there may be several extraction points on the system with an interconnection of ductwork. Operating the system correctly will ensure that the dust extraction vacuum is maintained. As an example, with a system with 5 extraction points, capping off the vents which are not required at any one point is good practise to ensure that enough ‘suck’ is available where it is required.

Regular maintenance and monitoring filter performance will also ensure that your fume extraction system does not suffer from reduced performance. As the dust filters clog up, the volume of air passing through them reduces significantly. This in turn reduces the dust extraction vacuum the system is capable of generating. It is therefore very important that a system of monitoring the differential pressure across the filter is implemented. When the pressure across the filter reaches a set level an alarm is generated to alert that a filter change may be required to maintain system effectiveness.

This article has introduced the need for dust extraction systems, their common applications and a few ideas on how to maintain the vacuum the system generates so that it keeps performing as required. If you would like to know more about dust extractors and how they can help your business visit