Better Living Through Chemistry
Workplace cleanliness is a top concern for the manufacturers of pharmaceutical products. Contaminants can enter the production process stream from any number of sources, including personnel, poor facility design, incoming ventilation air, and machinery. Airborne dust contamination in material transfer, milling, granulation, blending, and other processing steps can result in tainted medications.
Another cause for concern is explosive dust. During processing, bulk powders from airborne dust clouds can form, causing a static charge that if ignited, will burn quickly. Often times, the containment systems designed to protect employees from exposure to various particulates creates ideal conditions for high concentrations of airborne dust to collect inside equipment. High quantities of dust in a confined area will, under the right circumstances, cause a dust explosion.
The customer was experiencing powder sacks, acting as sensitizers, being opened and emptied inside a special purpose enclosure. To ensure product quality and workplace safety, they were looking for a solution that provided proper ventilation and filtration options.
Plant guidelines required the dust collector to be located on ground level outside of the processing building. This required a relatively long duct from the sack dumping enclosure to the dust collector, increasing the chance of a static charge. The facility was also sensitive to water consumption, as all of the water used for dust collection would need to be treated.
AAF provided a RotoClone® W size 16, capable of moving 4,000-7,000 cfm (6.800-11.90 m³/h) of air. This unit also acted as a vent hood, allowing a relatively low amount of dust to be captured. Flow controls and a pump were designed so that only approximately 10% of the water used would go directly to drain; the rest was recirculated. To minimize the amount of static pressure, ductwork from the enclosure to the unit was increased in size. The RotoClone® W’s construction was 304 stainless steel to protect against the potential exposure to chemicals and weather.
The RotoClone® W’s efficient, proprietary fan design ensured that the pressure required for an extended length of suction ductwork was available without any reduction in flow. Since the unit uses water rather than filter media to capture the dust particulates, there is no need for the collector to have explosion vents or suppression systems, reducing the overall cost of installation. The customer reported a reduction of 90% in the overall volume of waste water generated.