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Industrial Dust Collectors

Need to brush up on dust collecting?

Learn the basics for industrial dust collectors.  Different machines with different technologies are made to accomplish different dust collecting tasks.  Which machine to use depends on dust particle size, volume of dust to filter and local code requirements.  The light blue sub-navigation to the left shows the most common categories of industrial dust collectors:   Dust Collection Systems, Cyclone Dust Collectors, Cartridge Dust Collectors, Baghouse Dust Collectors, Portable Dust Collectors, Woodworking Dust Collectors, or Jet Dust Collectors.

Technology of Industrial Dust Collectors...

The technology of dust collectors, as with any air cleaner, consists of a fan that pushes or pulls dirty air through some type of filtration.  Dust is collected on the filter while clean air continues out of the machine.

Three kinds of dust filtration: media, electrostatic precipitation and separation.

Media uses a mechanical process where the filter usually made of a porous material such as cloth, paper or fiberglass acts as a net. Air passes through while dust particles are caught in the net.

As air enters an electrostatic precipitator, the particles pass through a high intensity electrical field that imparts an electrical charge to the particles. The charged particles pass through a series of alternately charged collector plates. Particles are repelled by plates with the same polarity and attracted to plates with opposite polarity similar to how a powerful magnet works.

Gravitational - Inertial - Centrifugal - Cyclone

Separators rely on the mass of particles.  The air stream is manipulated so that more massive particles drop or are thrown out of the air stream, while less massive, and usually smaller particles stay in the stream and continue on to the next stage of filtration.

Categories of Industrial Dust Collectors...

Dust Collection Systems

An entire dust collection system uses ducting to collect dust from different areas and takes it to a main dust collection area for filtration and collection.  At the main area the system may use a few machines for different stages of filtration.  The system will separate out the biggest particles first, using a cyclone, gravitational, inertial, or centrifugal separator. Once large and medium particles are gone, small particles are collected with a media dust collector such as a cartridge, or baghouse.  The final stage of filtration, before air is released into the environment, is usually subject to local code.

Cyclone Dust Collectors

Cyclone dust collectors are a type of separator. Operations like woodworking, fiberglass/plastic cutting, machining, grinding, buffing and polishing produce large, irregularly shaped particles. Because these large, irregularly-shaped particles can clog a media type collector, the cyclone dust collector is often used as a pre-cleaner for cartridge collectors to remove large particles and/or to prevent sparks from entering and incinerating a cartridge collector.

Inside the cyclone dust collector, dirty air enters the unit at a high velocity, then is spun around the cone in a cyclonic motion which throws particles against the cone wall. As the cone narrows, the large particles spin into the hopper. Fine particles run back up through the center of the cyclone and are discharged through the outlet.

Wood Shop and Wood Working Dust Collectors

We consider woodworking dust collectors their own group because they address a very common health problem that is usually made worse when addressed improperly.  Woodworking creates large chips that usually fall to the floor as well as fine airborne dust that if inhaled, becomes permanently lodged in lung tissue.  Over time, the fine dust will settle on surfaces.  As an ambient air cleaner operates, it can stir up air and prevent fine dust from settling.  In this situation, running an ambient air cleaner keeps the particles airborne while you work, thus creating a worse environment for breathing until all the air has cycled through the unit.

The most effective solution to removing dust while woodworking, is usually source capture.  As the dust is created, a duct or hose sucks it away before becoming airborne.

Cartridge Dust Collectors

Cartridge dust collectors are a type of media filtration.  The media is wrapped around a cylinder.  The cylinder shape provides more surface area in a smaller box than traditional flat media filters.  Cartridge dust collectors can also be self cleaning.  Due to these advantages over flat media, they are commonly used to collect airborne contaminants from industrial processes varying from welding and metal working to chemical and pharmaceutical processing, cartridge filter dust collection systems are being utilized in almost every manufacturing segment.  Cartridge dust collectors can be large or small.  Small units may have one actual cartridge, while large units may have a hundred or more.  Cartridge dust collectors may be used to collect just about any small to medium sized, dry, airborne particles.

Portable Dust Collectors

Portable dust collectors are simply media, electrostatic or cartridge dust collectors with source capture arms and mounted on wheels.  A portable unit is versatile in that you can move it from station to station.  They do not require the space of central systems.  Nor do they require installation of a ducting system.  Do to small size, mobility and flexible arms, they are convenient and effective for source capture where one person is creating dust and fumes at several stations.

Baghouse Dust Collectors

Baghouse dust collectors are also known as fabric collectors. They are one of the most efficient and cost effective types of dust collectors available and can achieve a collection efficiency of more than 99% for very fine particles.  Baghouses make an excellent solution for a facility that produces a large amount of dust.

Baghouse dust collectors require extensive ducting and a large amount of space.  The entire structure can literally be the size of a house.

Here is how they work.  Inside the large metal housing are tall fabric bags that hang from the top to the bottom.  Dust-filled air enters the baghouse and passes through the fabric bags that act as filters.  The bags can be of woven or felted cotton, synthetic, or glass-fiber material in either a tube or envelope shape. Dust collects on the surfaces of the bags and hardens into a cake.  The fabric primarily provides a surface on which dust particulates collect.  The dust is continuously shaken or blown off the bags and drops into a container below.


See our entire line of dust collectors and industrial air cleaners.

If you have any questions, call us, we'll be glad to help!


BPA is for educational and research intentions only. Not intended as an alternative for medical treatment or advice.