Every year, the Imperial Systems team looks forward to FABTECH. It’s a great opportunity to see all the innovations and products that our industry has to offer. We have missed showcasing our products for the past two years and are eager to be back and show the industry what we’ve been up to. With new updates, new products, and a new product line, we’ve got a lot on which to get everyone caught up.
One of our goals at Imperial Systems is to continuously improve our products so they are easier for our customers to use. This past year, we introduced a touch screen control panel interface, the Keystone Controller, and we are eager to share this improvement with attendees at FABTECH.
“We are excited to introduce The Imperial Systems, Inc. Keystone HMI (Human Machine Interface). The Keystone is a unique graphical user interface that enables users to easily operate and monitor their CMAXX and SHADOW dust/fume collectors,” says Tomm Frungillo, Director of Sales & Marketing. “The market spoke and we listened by creating an integrated control panel that is easy to learn, easy to use, and enables complete control and monitoring for all devices tied to a dust collector system.”
We are also eager to feature our newest product at the show. We realized that there was a gap in the market for a fume hood that was well built, had a small footprint, and was easy to assemble. We created the Air-Port Fume Exhaust Hood with all of these attributes in mind.
“Four years ago, we saw the need for a new, innovative fume hood design to bring to the market,” says Justin Badger, Sales Manager. “Other welding fume hoods were difficult to install, use, and just were not effective. The Air-Port is the most innovative weld fume hood on the market for robotic and manual welding. It launched in 2020, but we are excited to finally release it at an in-person trade show.”
The last piece of news we’re bringing to FABTECH is so big that it needed it’s own booth. Imperial Filtration, a new sister company to Imperial Systems, will be making it’s FABTECH debut this year. We will be showcasing the quality and care that goes into creating our filters. “Imperial Filtration’s ability to provide custom designed solutions to our aftermarket team is a real game changer,” says Joe Hunt, Filter Sales & Distribution Manager.
Imperial Filtration is specializing in replacement dust collector filters. Unlike our competitors, this allows us to concentrate on one area of expertise instead of spreading ourselves thin with pool filters, oil filters, HVAC filters, and more. Our filters are hand-built with care and attention to detail.
We’re looking forward to returning to FABTECH in Atlanta this year and showing the industry our new innovations. We hope to see you there – stop by booth #C11657 to check out our equipment innovations and booth #B4818 to see our new filter line.
High-efficiency dust collectors are well recognized for keeping industrial manufacturing environments clean. However, dust infiltration from neighboring manufacturing operations or particulate contaminants in outdoor air must be safeguarded in these facilities’ offices, conference rooms, control rooms, server rooms, and other similar places. An effective approach to this problem is room pressurization combined with adequate air filtration. While high-efficiency HVAC filters are often regarded as the most popular solution, cartridge-type industrial dust collectors used in conjunction with an existing HVAC system can be a more effective alternative.
How Room Pressurization Works
The application of positive or negative air pressure in a room to prevent dust entry is known as pressurization. Positive pressure (also known as “inflating the building”) keeps particle and gaseous pollutants out of a space by forming an air barrier between the interior and outside. When you go into a positively pressured environment from the outside, you’ll notice a “whoosh” of air fleeing owing to the greater pressure within the space. Positive pressure can keep hazardous outside air out of an office, server room, or other enclosed areas.
Negative pressure, on the other hand, may be employed in a pharmaceutical facility when strong substances are used to prevent dust from contaminating other portions of the plant — often in conjunction with containment systems. Negative pressure rooms are also commonly used in hospitals and medical settings to prevent the spread of contagious illnesses from one area to another. The air is blasted out of the treatment room, creating a negatively pressurized situation where, for example, when a door from the lobby is opened, the air rushes in instead of out. The air blasted out of the contaminated space passes through three filters, culminating in a HEPA (high-efficiency particular air) filter that filters to the same level as a N95 mask.
What are applications suitable for room pressurization with dust collectors?
Cement and lime manufacturing, metal and coal mining, pharmaceutical processing, grain processing, and power generation are the most common industries with dust collector pressurization needs. However, the procedure can be applied anywhere there is a lot of dust. Control rooms, server rooms, manufacturing clean rooms, compressor rooms, offices, quality control labs, substations, and motor control center (MCC) rooms are among the most typically pressurized areas.
To Pressurize or Not to Pressurize
Now that we’ve covered what room pressurization is, how do you decide if it’s a good choice for your facility? Consider the sort of dust, the conditions within and outside the area, and what (or whoever) you want to protect first. If workers in an office area are exposed to hazardous amounts of dust or fumes, you must clear the air to protect occupants from health risks and assure compliance with OSHA exposure rules. If your facility hosts expensive equipment, it would be worth it to invest in a pressurizing system to protect it. On the flipside,pressurization may not be worthwhile if it isn’t occupied by people and the equipment isn’t valuable.
How Dust Collection Can Help
Room Pressurization with dust collectors is intended for situations with high dust loads where HVAC filters would not last long enough. High-efficiency HVAC filters can quickly become overwhelmed in particularly dusty environments, needing to be replaced every few months or even weeks in some cases. If there are already HVAC systems in place, a dust collection system can be designed to take the existing system into account.
Cartridge dust collector filters, on the other hand, are made to manage heavy dust loads in industrial settings. Dust collector filters are automatically pulse-cleaned by blowing dirt off the filter surfaces and into a collection device with very brief bursts of compressed air. High-efficiency cartridge filters can last for years in a pressurization system before needing to be replaced. Imperial Systems’ DeltaMAXX Prime cartridges have 400 sq ft of filter media for longer filter life and better filtration.
If you work in a highly regulated business like pharmaceutical or food manufacturing, there may be limitations on the sorts of filters you can use and the level of filtration you can achieve. This would certainly be a factor when deciding if dust collection is the best choice for your room pressurization needs. On the other hand, a cost analysis will allow you to compare HVAC vs. dust collection filters. The dust collection professionals at Imperial Systems can assist you in determining the best solution for your facility and application.
In this episode of the Dusty Jobs Podcast, Tomm Frungillo fills in for Donovan and talks to Sergio Flores. Sergio is the President of PrimeLines. Sergio talks about what the different industries PrimeLines works with as well as the different brands they represent. PrimeLines is a new Rep for Imperial Systems in South America with a focus on Mining in Peru and Chile.
Narrator: Welcome to the Dusty Jobs Podcast from Imperial Systems. Industry knowledge to make your job easier and safer.
Tomm: Welcome to the newest episode of the Dusty Jobs Podcast. My name is Tomm Frungillo, director of sales and marketing for Imperial Systems. I’m going to be sitting in for Donovan on this episode, who normally does these. I’d like to welcome Sergio Flores from PrimeLines. Sergio is our rep in South America and other parts of Central America eventually, and probably the Caribbean, and maybe even Mexico at some time in the future. Right now focusing on mining and a few other industries within Peru and Chile and other areas of South America where mining is a large, important industry. What I would like to do is start out by, of course, welcoming you here to Mercer, to Mercer, Pennsylvania, to Imperial Systems.
Sergio: Thank you Tomm.
Tomm: We’ll talk a little bit about your background and the industry, and just your history professionally, where you came from, and what got you to PrimeLines.
Sergio: Hi Tomm. Good afternoon. I am pleased to be here. Like you said, my name is Sergio Flores, president of PrimeLines. We are a manufacturers rep company based in Miami. We have branches several countries like Panama, Columbia, Peru, and Chile, plus our headquarters in Miami. I personally am a mechanical engineer. I’ve been in this business for over twenty-five years mostly doing HVAC, which includes ventilation and industrial applications for HVAC.
Our main markets are the countries that I mentioned but mostly heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, but in some countries like Peru and Chile there’s a heavy mining industry where we have some experience. We have a very qualified engineer based in Peru, Carlos Aliaga. He is our partner for the industrial sector in Peru. Now we just opened a branch in Chile, which has a very well developed mining industry. Actually, it’s way older than Peruvian. Our plan is to branch into the Chilean mining industry using the experience and the history we have in Peru.
Tomm: Yeah, it’s really very interesting stuff, and I know that you’ve been doing this a long time.Carlos, who you mentioned, your main industrial engineer, has also been doing this a long time. I know he is very qualified in designing dust systems for mining and other industries. He’s been with you how long?
Sergio: Actually, three years.
Tomm: Three years.
Sergio: Actually, Carlos is a partner.
Tomm: He’s a partner in the business, okay.
Sergio: He is a business partner as well as Juan Carlos. The difference is Juan Carlos in Peru he takes care of the commercial side of the business. Carlos takes care of the industrial side of it. But they are both partners.
Tomm: Okay. Good to know. I know previously I did one of these podcasts a little bit more on the technical side of mining and how dust collection fits into mining and its nice that within your organization, of course, you understand this. You have a gentleman that can design for these things. I think it’s important as we move forward that basically the people that know Imperial Systems or that are learning about Imperial Systems understands that we have local representation there with knowledgeable people in the industry.
Sergio: I think it’s important to let the customers know that these are products or equipment that once they buy they’re not going to be orphaned. There’s going to be somebody local to look after them and to provide after sales support. It’s the same thing as coming to Miami or sending an email to Miami. You buy something and once it gets there nobody knows how to install it, how to service it, how o maintain it, so that’s what we’re offering to the customers in all these countries. That’s why we believe in having local presence in those markets where we want to sell.
Tomm: That’s important for us too, obviously.
Sergio: In our company we are all engineers. We are all mechanical engineers, and we know what we’re doing. We’re not just moving boxes out of Miami.
Tomm: Very critical and important point of all this. I think the other thing that PrimeLines brings being that you all are engineers is that you can bring a turnkey…
Tomm: …solution to the customer, to the marketplace, including design and of course equipment. We would work with you on installation, servicing the sale, aftermarket, the whole picture, cradle to grave, is something PrimeLines can offer.
Sergio: Actually, we try to become the consultant’s consultant. It’s very common for us. It’s our everyday job to get a call from the local consultants asking for technical support or some end customer to send us all the drawings done by their consultants for us to check everything before they buy. That creates kind of a commitment between the customer and us, a supplier. Sometimes we do the sign without charging a dollar for it in exchange for getting the purchase order.
Tomm: Yeah, I always found it interesting that theres a lot of the big engineering firms that are involved in mining. The Bechtels, and the Flores, and many different companies, and they have a lot of very good engineers of course that work for those companies, but not many of theme are good dust collection engineers. Right? It’s not something that they teach, really, in engineering school.
Sergio: You don’t learn that in college.
Tomm: Exactly. So, those companies, as big as they are, as qualified at they are, they have to rely on companies like you to make it really come together. That’s that void that you fill.
Sergio: We offer solutions.
Tomm: So, it’s exciting for us to have a presence like you down there representing Imperial Systems. I know most of your other lines have more of an HVAC presence I guess within your company, but you do have, for example, why don’t you talk a little bit about the other lines that you have.
Sergio: Yeah, our main product line – actually the one that motivated me to found this company, to create PrimeLines is Greenheck, Greenheck Fan Corporation. It’s a company that this year is celebrating their 75th anniversary. They started as a fans manufacturer but they have been diversifying now. They make dampers, fire dampers, control dampers, all kinds of fans, industrial, commercial, residential. They make architectural louvers. They make air handling units, energy recovery ventilators. It’s a really big corporation that represents maybe forty or fifty percent of our total sales.
That’s on the air side. It’s very common, especially in the domestic use market, it’s very common that a manufacturer rep is on the air side and a different company is on the water side. They are very specialized, very focused. We are on both sides. We are on the air side and on the water side. So on the air side we represent Greenheck and some other brands like Price Industries for air distribution, but on the water side we have very recognized brands like Taco or Bell and Gossett. They have been in the market for over 100 years and they are really premiere brands I would say. Those are, let’s say, our anchor lines. Then we have some other companies like Polaris Heat Exchangers. We have Imperial Systems. We have Eurovac. We have Mesan. Mesan USA is a cooling tower manufacturer, also part of our group. So we try to cover all the areas in our industry to provide a total packaged solution.
Tomm: It makes a very strong position, I think. Something I think we’re going to do quite a bit – I know we talked about somethings that I’ve been reading recently about projections in mining for Latin America and South America. Mining follows a pattern of hills and valleys. Several industries do, but mining especially. So, there’s a buildup and a lot of activity and then things kind of fade down and I think it’s like a five to seven year period between those hills and valleys.
Sergio: It depends on the commodities market, right?
Tomm: Right, yeah, and the demand of those products right? Depending on what’s going on in the world economy. The projections I saw were for 2023 and 2024 to be very strong years in mining after coming out of a valley and starting to build back up. So I think our timing is very good working together and understanding what we can do with Imperial equipment and the CMAXX dust collector down there on all of the mining applications – the primary crushing, the secondary, tertiary crushing, conveying, screening, all of those things we’ve talked about before that require dust collection. I think our timing is going to be very good right now.
Sergio: I think we came together at the right time. After the visit today I notice that your product has some specific features that we can use as spec lockers.
Sergio: If we can get into the specs with your product its going to be relatively easy to secure an order.
Tomm: Yeah, and we do have several of those with the CMAXX collector and they’re not just gimmicks. They’re things that make the operation or the maintaining of that collector much better.
Sergio: There’s really functional.
Tomm: Exactly. I appreciate your time here today, and I know we have a lot of things to go over and a lot of things to plan for. I know we talked about the different countries that we will focus on but I think mainly its Peru and Chile right now, and then eventually just kind of expand that out as we grow and then also mining being certainly the number one focus right now but there’s a lot of other industries down there that we can approach with the equipment line that we have, and with the knowledge that you have.
Sergio: So I’m very excited about this partnership. There’s only one way and it’s going to be up.
Tomm: It’s going to be up. It might take little time, but it’s definitely going to be up. I’ve done a little bit of this before, as you know, and you’ve done this before too. I think we’ve got some solid things behind us to allow us to grow.
Sergio: We have a strong foundation to build on.
Tomm: So, again, we appreciate your time coming in, and we’re looking forward to working together.
Sergio: Thank you Tomm.
Tomm: I’d like to thank Sergio. If you’d like to learn more about Imperial Systems you can visit our website. Also our YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Tik Tok now. We appreciate everything that the folks that watch these podcasts and comment on them we appreciate that and look forward to the next one.
Sergio: Thank you for the opportunity Tomm.
Tomm: Thank you Sergio.
Narrator: Thanks for listening to the Dusty Jobs Podcast. Breathe better, work safer.
Whether your dust collector is brand new or has been in service for years, you may be noticing problems with it. Troubleshooting operational issues can be difficult. It could be that the system is undersized, due either to improper initial design or subsequent modification. But how do you know? Here are seven indicators that you may have an undersized dust collector in operation.
It is important to size the collector with the correct air-to-cloth ratio. In general, you want to select the lowest air-to-cloth ratio possible. That’s because a low ratio provides more filter media area for the selected air volume. As a result, more media means lower dust loading on the media, lower differential pressure, and longer filter life.
High air-to-cloth forces a heavier dust loading onto the filter media. This can lead to shorter filter life and high differential pressure. A high ratio can result in a rapid buildup of dust on the filters. This embeds the dust particles in the media and clogs the filters. Consequently, the collector will work harder than it should.
Selecting the right air-to-cloth ratio is an essential step in determining the proper collector size. Sizing the ratio too low can result in a larger and more costly dust collector than the application requires. Sizing the ratio too high can result in an undersized collector with poor efficiency and high maintenance and operation costs.
Differential Pressure Gauge Readings
One of the easiest indicators of an undersized collector is to monitor the dust collector’s differential pressure. Does the differential pressure rise too rapidly? Does the differential pressure remain high during the collector’s pulse cleaning cycle?
Persistent high differential pressure readings or a differential pressure that will not drop during the filter pulse cleaning cycles is an early warning that your collector may be undersized. However, other factors unrelated to the size of the collector can cause high pressure readings. For example, it can be a faulty pressure gauge or simply a clogged vacuum line causing a false reading.
Filter Life / Filter Failure
Short filter life is a more accurate indicator of an undersized collector. Filter life will vary depending on many factors. These may include the type of collected dust particulate and the hours of dust collector operation. It may also involve how much downtime is allowed for filters to “rest,” and the effectiveness of the pulse cleaning system, to name a few.
In general, the average life expediency of a cartridge filter should be a year or longer. In some extreme applications, filters may need replacing on a 6 to 9-month cycle. Filters failing or needing monthly replacement are indicators the collector is handling more dust materials than it was sized for.
Loss of Air Flow
The dust system may experience a loss of airflow or suction at the hoods. If so, heavy dust loading on the filters can cause this. This is an indicator that the system is working too hard and is undersized for the application.
Dust Backing Up in the Collector Hopper
Emptying collector dust multiple times during a work shift could indicate an undersized system. This could be dust that backs up into the hopper or dust storage at the unit’s discharge. Both are strong signs that the system is handling more dust than it was sized for.
Dust backing up in the hopper is a serious concern. That’s because it can get high enough to cover and blind the filter elements.
Poor fan performance can be an indicator of an undersized system. As the filters rapidly load with dust, the total system static pressure builds, which can affect the fan performance.
Through system design and installation, we assume that the collector is properly sized. That assumption is based on a competent contractor performing the work. But over time, a company may add new equipment that requires dust collection. Often they are just scabbed into the existing system. There is little thought as to how it will affect the dust collector.
To compensate for the additional air required, usually one of two things happens. They either modify the original fan or replace it with a larger one. Either way, it’s operating at a volume higher than the original system design. Modifying a system in this way can result in an undersized collector for the current needs.
Professional Troubleshooting of a (Potentially) Undersized Dust Collector
Do any of the above seven signs lead you to believe that your dust collector may be undersized? If so, then contact us. Our highly qualified service team will determine the problem, whether it’s an undersized collector or not.
In this episode of the Dusty Jobs Podcast, Donovan talks with Tomm Frungillo, our Director of sales and marketing. In his prior jobs Tomm talks about how he was involved in the Mining industry to help with dust collection. He talks about how these giant pit mines operate and deal with hazardous dust.
Narrator: Welcome to the Dusty Jobs Podcast from Imperial Systems. Industry knowledge to make your job easier and safer.
Donovan: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Dusty Jobs Podcast. Today we have Tomm Frungillo joining us again. How are you doing Tomm?
Tomm: Great Donovan, how are you?
Donovan: Good! Glad to have you on again this season. So Tomm, tell us about your role here at Imperial, and then we’ll get into what we’ll be talking about today.
Tomm: Yeah! My role is Director of Sales and Marketing. It’s kind of a role I’ve been doing for a long time within the industry, here at Imperial Systems for four years now–just about four years next month. We’ve had a successful four years since I’ve been here, starting before I was here, with growth. It’s been a great year last year, and this year is going fantastic.
Donovan: And you still help out with sales, right? You help cover the regional reps with issues or things that come up?
Tomm: I do. I help work with all of our territory managers, sales engineers, and aftermarket. And then I have my own territory out in the western part of the United States and down in Latin America.
Donovan: Not only overseeing things, but also hands-on. You’re not removed from what’s really going on in the industry at all.
Tomm: That’s the only way to do it. Gotta keep in it.
Donovan: That’s why we love having you around, Tomm, because you do such a great job with all that…
Donovan: But, also, you have a pretty strong history in the mining fields. You helped out with dust collection and mining for… well I don’t know. How many years was that?
Tomm: With a previous company I actually did all our focus markets. So these were things we got into that required a little more specialty within the dust collector itself, or within the dust collector system itself. One of those was mining: in Latin America, the southwestern United States, and Canada.
Donovan: Mining is a big industry. They’re doing it everywhere. So today that’s what we’re going to be talking about. We’re going to touch a little bit off on mining and talk a little bit about your experience, talk a little bit about how Imperial can help. So for you, personally, what’s been your experience in mining. What have you seen? Where have you been? What’s happened there? I’d love to hear a little bit of your story of your mining experience.
Tomm: Well, we at Imperial Systems and other companies I’ve been with have focused on above-ground mining. I think most people think with mining, you’re in a tunnel and you’re underground, and of course those exist. But we focus on the above-ground mining. And that creates a huge amount of dust and air pollutants as they mine, and as they process the ore. And so that’s where we come in, providing equipment to control that dust, air pollution, and processing. There’s open pit mines all over the world, as you mentioned. It’s heavy in South America: Chile, Peru, Brazil, Columbia, and areas like this. Plenty in the United States–mostly southwestern United States–for the ores that we would go after. Central and western Canada. Over in Indonesia, down in Australia, China… throughout the world, there’s large open-pit mines.
Donovan: Anywhere where there’s something valuable that we could use, we get it out of the ground. They’re digging.
Donovan: So we’re not talking about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves with the coal hat on. Not like that.
Tomm: Not so much.
Donovan: So if someone has never been to a mine before, and you would roll up to a mine site, what would we be looking at? A big hole in the ground with roads?
Tomm: A massive, massive hole in the ground. Usually with staggered, large steps where they start and they continually go down further and further and further until they get to a point where they can’t go anymore. But they’re cutting and blasting and pulling this ore out of the earth. In an interesting way–some people may look at it and think it’s terribly ugly because we’re somewhat destroying that piece of the planet. Others look at it as a beautiful thing. Because the things that we’re mining go into things that we use every day, and it’s got to come from somewhere. So if it’s done right, it’s not necessarily a terrible thing. A lot of these mines are in beautiful places. They’re remote, but they can be a beautiful place if you look at it in the right way.
Donovan: And I’m sure a lot of these places–I’ve seen a lot of surface mining around Pennsylvania–and as long as the recovery is done well, you might not know anything was there in the first place.
Tomm: These are so massive, though, that they’re going to be there for a long time and you’re not going to hide them down the road. So maybe that’s some of the negative about it. But it’s part of the things that human beings have to do. We have to take care of our natural resources, but hopefully use them in the right way because they go into all the things that almost every human being utilizes in their life.
Donovan: So, what are some of the mines you’ve been to in the past. What were they digging there?
Tomm: We focused previously, and even with Imperial Systems, we’ll focus on the copper mines. Copper is huge. It goes into a lot of different components and products. So the copper mines–I’ve been to many mines in Arizona, and in Nevada, and in British Columbia, and in Chile, and in Peru, and in Mexico. Also gold mines. Some silver. The precious metals… but copper is the go-to mine for what we focus and concentrate on.
Donovan: We can really help out a copper mine.
Donovan: So you go to a copper mine. There’s a hole in the ground. They’re pulling out copper. What’s the next step? What’s the next thing that happens? Is that where the dust really starts to get created, or…?
Tomm: Well, the dust is created where their process is. They’re taking out ore, and then they’re processing it down. It goes through a primary, a secondary, and a tertiary crushing. They’re screening plants. There’s mills. There’s ball mills and things like that. And especially the crushing side and the screening side all requires dust collection.
Donovan: So they’re pulling this ore out of the ground. They’re bringing it up to the top of the pit. And then, they don’t want to truck all of that somewhere else, right? So right there on site, they’re starting to process that product, and get what is the actual product they need out of it–the useful product–on site.
Donovan: So that’s where it goes into a mill or a grinder… am I saying all this correct?
Tomm: That’s correct. It goes into a crushing, and then screening, and then conveying, until it gets to a product that they create there that is sent off for further processing. It’s massive. The vehicles that are there… you mentioned roads. There’s roads all over the mines. These roads were made for trucks that are as big as this room.
Donovan: You can’t see it, but we’re in a pretty big room.
Tomm: And height-wise, width-wise, length-wise–that’s how big some of these trucks are, and even larger.
Donovan: I think I’ve seen some of those tires go down the highway. They’re like ten foot tires.
Tomm: Yes. Yeah, they’re massive. Very expensive. Very heavy duty. There’s a lot of maintenance that goes into these things, as you can imagine. If you go to some of these mining shows–they have a lot of these mining trade shows out in Las Vegas and other places–you walk around there in awe if you’ve never seen it before because of how huge these pieces of equipment are.
Donovan: The Tonka trucks, right? We’re talking about Tonka trucks, but big Tonka trucks.
Tomm: Slightly bigger than the old Tonkas that we used to play with, yeah. But that’s what they look like. It’s potentially a very dangerous place, because of the fact that these things are riding around and they’re doing a job. So if you’re there visiting to analyze or to help assess and see what’s needed, there are very strict rules and regulations through MSHA that you have to go through and get trained on before you can… you don’t want to be out in an open pit mine not knowing what you’re doing or where you’re going. These trucks can run over a pickup truck and not even know it.
Donovan: Oh wow.
Tomm: Not even know it. And that’s happened, unfortunately.
Donovan: So it takes a truck that big to bring that much material up, and it starts to get processed. And is that where a dust collector comes in? So they’re starting to take all of these things and they’re crushing them, and then that’s where all this by-product is coming off.
Tomm: Yeah, pretty much. These trucks dump and then this ore is dumped into an area of the primary crusher. These are often gyratory crushers. You got a big hole, and the ore falls in in big pieces and this thing gyrates and turns. It’s all size reduction, all the way down the line, until you get to a product that you can actually process.
Donovan: So during each step of that process there’s dust that’s created.
Tomm: A massive amount.
Donovan: And that’s where we, as Imperial Systems, with a dust collector, can help to cut down on that process, so people aren’t breathing that in.
Tomm: Yeah, and that it’s not being exposed into the environment that much. Years ago they didn’t worry about it, especially because these are a lot of remote areas. But a lot of… in the EPA and similar in Canada. And now in Latin America for years now they’ve been cracking down on that so that you cannot create all this particulate which is released into the environment. You have to control it. And they test it and make sure you’re doing it right and all these things. So it’s a very important part of the process.
Donovan: So it’s not only helping the health of those workers that are in close proximity of the equipment, but also basically everybody else in the world, and the environment which we all depend on and enjoy. So, when you come to a mine site, how could we look at that and help people? How can we help those employees? How can we continue to help the environment?
Tomm: Well usually the way it works, there’s an engineering firm involved. So if they’re going to put in a new mine, or if they’re replacing some of the equipment that’s already on a mine, like in a lot of industries they’ll come out with a spec that says okay, we know how much air volume we need, we know what air permitting we need to meet–the qualifications for that, we know if we have space constraints and where we want this thing to go. We come and say, “Okay, we can meet all that. We can help you there.” Of course, put proposals together. Most of the time… As you know, as Imperial Systems, we can do everything from build the equipment, to install the equipment, to service the equipment. Out there, it’s generally just providing the equipment. They’ve got people on site there that are capable of installing pieces of equipment and process equipment much more complicated than a dust collector.
Donovan: Oh, I’m sure. They have a lot of stuff going on there.
Tomm: So we won’t get involved too much in that side of it.
Donovan: Well, we could if someone needed us to.
Tomm: We could. As we know, we have the capability to do that. But it’s usually just building and providing the equipment to meet the requirements that they have.
Donovan: Now, in this process, the dust that’s coming off–does that still have some value? Or is that usually just a refuse dust?
Tomm: Generally refuse. It’s a very fine particulate, which is why it creates a problem. Very respirable. Bad for the environment in that it’s a very fine–PM1o, PM2.5–that’s what the industry talks about. That’s what you’re getting into. That’s what we’re collecting.
Donovan: So Tomm, they have these giant equipment all over the mine, right? These trucks are driving around. Those have to be creating dust on their own, just blowing around these mines. Right?
Tomm: Yeah. And there’s a couple of ways that we address that, or that they address it and we can help them. One is, they do constantly put water spray on the roads. They call it dust control. It is dust control, but it’s a misting dust control for roads. And they do a lot of that and it’s needed. Because a lot of these places are in places that don’t get a lot of rain. So they have to make their own rain. So that’s one aspect is, yes, you can imagine there are huge power supply requirements–transformer vaults–and then a lot of motor control centers that are operating all this equipment, this processing and grinding equipment and pulverizing equipment. And those are always in large rooms–transformer vaults. And one of the things we do is provide dust collectors on the outside of those rooms that take ambient air, clean it, and put it into those rooms to keep positive pressure in those rooms and keep the dust out.
Donovan: So this is not a dust collector that’s collecting dust off a process. It’s providing clean air into a space that needs to be eliminated. It can’t have any dust in it.
Donovan: And I can imagine as things are getting more automated, there’s robotics involved and computers… I mean how often do they tell you to blow out your computer at home if it starts acting a little funny? You know you got to clean it out. I can only imagine with giant trucks running around, digging up the earth, that’s got to be creating something that’s just…
Tomm: Well, right. And then you have these electrical rooms, that there’s a possibility if dust gets in there, of arc fires and those sorts of nasty things. So you want to keep that dust out of there. And there’s no real way to do that effectively. Over the years they used a lot of HVAC type filters to try to process that air and keep it clean. There was so much dust, that those HVAC filters get overwhelmed, and there’s a huge cost to replace those. Sometimes daily, certainly weekly. So you put a dust collector in there–that’s cleaning itself and keeping that heavy load of dust to a minimum–and then you take that clean air that’s coming out of it. Pressurize that building. Keeps the dust out.
Donovan: Ah, so you’re putting a positive pressure on it, so you’re actually trying to keep the air out. It’s making it almost like it’s an air force field.
Tomm: Yeah. You’ve probably experienced it when you open a door, and you get kind of a feel of air that’s coming out to you? That’s positive pressure in that room.
Donovan: Where it’s really hard to open the door…
Tomm: And then that’s negative of course. And in this case, you want positive, to keep the dust from coming in. So that’s an important aspect of it. We do a lot of that in mining. In other industries too, but in mining, out there, it’s really important.
Donovan: Yeah, because if an HVAC system goes down, I can only imagine how much time that takes for someone to change the filters, make sure they’re running right… and then if your HVAC unit goes down, you have no air circulating in those buildings. And then what are you gonna do then? Prop open the door? You don’t want to be propping open the door on the job site to get some air circulating in there, put a fan on it…
Tomm: No. Not recommended.
Donovan: So then if you have a positive pressure dust collector on that, it at least keeps the air flowing through there. It might not be one hundred percent conditioned air. But it’s something.
Tomm: We’ve even tied it together with conditioned air. There is a way to do that. But oftentimes, they will condition it, and we will keep air going in there that keeps it pressurized, positive flow, and keep that dust away from those controls and transformers.
Donovan: And then if you already have these units on other parts of your process, why not just have all the same filters?
Donovan: You have one unit. You know how they all service. You can have all the same filters. I can imagine that’s got to help the maintenance guys out; they’re just knowing how to work on one piece of equipment as opposed to trying to figure out everything.
Tomm: Yeah, and as you know, we supply cartridge filters for all makes of dust collectors. So we can certainly supply them the hardware, the equipment to do this. But if they already have something out there already, usually we can supply the filters that go in those too.
Donovan: That’s true. We can help you out with any part of the process that you need there.
Donovan: So, if someone’s out there right now working at a mine, or looking at upgrading some equipment in a mine, or designing a whole new process for a mine… we can help out with all that, right Tomm?
Tomm: We certainly can. And the beauty of our equipment–as you know, mining is a very heavy-duty, robust, harsh environment–and so the fact that we make our equipment standard is very heavy duty, standard powder coated, standard components that can take that kind of harsh environment… it lends itself to what we do.
Donovan: Oh, yeah. At Imperial, we build things that are able to hold up to the elements and then handle some abuse. So, if there’s anybody out there listening and they’re just getting into mining, or they’re new on a job site, would you have any advice for them? Just to watch out for their personal health? What would you say?
Tomm: They have a whole selection of PPE that most of these people have to wear, depending on the process of the job that they’re doing. So those are all controlled by the mine site themselves, and if those people don’t comply with a lot of those operating parameters and controls, then they usually get asked to leave. So they’re doing things, oftentimes, proper to begin with. But when they’re creating these massive amounts of dust clouds by the process, then that’s when we come in and provide the equipment that further helps them stay safe and healthy and it helps the environment stay safe and healthy.
Donovan: Well this is a great intro into mining, and what we can do to help out. I don’t know if you have anything you want to follow up with or say?
Tomm: Nothing in particular, other than, as you mentioned, I firmly believe we have the best equipment in the industry to address these mining dust problems. And we look forward to helping anybody we can, whether it’s the engineering side, whether it’s the end-user side, or anywhere in between, in solving those problems and helping people stay healthy and the environment stay healthy.
Donovan: Sounds good. Tomm, I just wanted to say thanks again for coming on. And everyone out there, if you want to learn more about Imperial Systems, you can follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube, TikTok… we have just about every social platform out there. Appreciate you guys listening, and I just want to say stay healthy, and stay safe, and we’ll catch up with you again next time.
Narrator: Thanks for listening to the Dusty Jobs Podcast. Breathe better, work safer.