Window Manufacturer Sees More Clearly

Fiberglass is listed as one of the U.S. occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) priority safety and health hazards because the fibers can be inhaled. This inhalation often occurs during manufacturing or installation. If inhaled, fiberglass dust can cause several health hazards, including irritation to the eyes, ears and throat, breathing difficulty and cough.

As sales increased for a manufacturer of custom new and replacement windows, so did the generation of fiberglass dust in their facility. Production staff and plant management saw increasing downtime related to housekeeping and equipment maintenance. Additionally, safety concerns grew with increased fiberglass dust in the air with the potential of getting in workers eyes, respiration of the dust, and combustible dust potential. The plant was looking for a dust collection solution to maximize their equipment uptime to meet sales demand and mitigate safety concerns.


Several milling machines were used throughout the facility in the manufacturing of custom window frames. The milling process created a fiberglass dust with varying concentrations throughout the plant – heavier concentrations at the source of the mill and lighter concentrations further away. A properly designed collection system and duct system was imperative to adequately remove the dust from the work environment. Additionally, careful consideration had to be given to proper design of the system so as to fully comply with relevant combustible dust requirements of NFPA 68 and NFPA 69.


Working with AAF Representative, Jim Bradley of Air Associates, the required airflow was calculated to safely vent all milling machines. After evaluation of the customer’s process, dust type, and airflow needs, AAF Applications Engineering team, recommended an AAF OptiFlo® Pulsejet Cartridge collector be used for this application. To mitigate damage from any potential deflagration event, the OptiFlo® unit was supplied with explosion vents and an AAF XP barrel top adaptor. Additionally, a chemical suppression system was installed in the inlet and outlet air duct to prevent fires from entering the unit or returning to the work environment with the recirculated air.


The AAF OptiFlo® is engineered to permit free-fall of dislodged dust into the hopper and designed to prevent direct impingement of dust on the filter media, minimizing filter wear and prolonging filter life. The OptiFlo® is designed for ease of maintenance with ‘tool-less’ filter changeouts and filter access from the outside. Personnel do not have to enter the collector to access or change filters, eliminating safety concerns and reducing maintenance. The customer now has an industrial dust collection system that keeps workers safe, minimizes downtime and housekeeping within the plant, and complies with OSHA, NFPA, and EPA regulations.