Pipe Workers Breathe Easier
A manufacturer of polyurethane pipes, intended for use in the oil and gas industry, had a problem with nuisance dust stemming from various processes along their production lines. These fine polyurethane particulates were generated from their grinding, sanding, polishing and buffing operations. The main operations within the factory were performed in two purpose-built rooms, both of which lacked proper ventilation. At this facility, staff performed most of the processes by hand, exposing them to a majority of the dust created.
Due to the size of the plastic dust from the finishing processes, the workers were unable to wear traditional paper masks. Instead, they were required to wear respirators equipped with full visors to prevent the fine dust from entering their eyes and breathing zone. In addition to the size of the plastic particles, the facility encountered another issue; the light particulate stayed suspended in the air even after production ceased, causing it not only to linger in the air but also to build up on operational equipment as well.
Workers in the facility complained that the personal protection equipment they were required to wear for their safety was not only heavy but also it hindered their ability to complete the operations efficiently. In addition, light particulate from the various processes performed lingered in the air long after production ceased. This accumulation caused build up on operational equipment, thus increasing clean-up time from the previous days’ operations.
AAF proposed a solution that focused on proper ventilation for the facility’s processes. This solution included designing several booth enclosures around the heavy dust generating processes. An OptiFlo® cylindrical cartridge collector was installed to clean the air coming from the booths. As an additional feature, AAF offered a damper in the downstream ductwork to provide the customer with the ability to save on energy costs by recirculating the air during the winter and summer months. For the spring and autumn months, the customer would exhaust directly into the atmosphere.
Since the installation of the facility’s newly designed ventilation system, the customer’s production staff are no longer required to wear the heavy respirators and full visors. Instead, they are now able to wear a simple, lightweight paper mask as an added precaution. In addition, the workers are able to perform quicker and more efficiently now that they have a cleaner, more comfortable work environment. Recirculating the air during the winter and summer months has helped the facility save on operational costs as well.