Dust Collection in Mining with Tomm Frungillo – Dusty Jobs Podcast – S3 E4

Dust Collection in Mining with Tomm Frungillo – Dusty Jobs Podcast – S3 E4

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…

Tomm: Thanks.

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.

Tomm: Absolutely.

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.

Tomm: Absolutely.

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.

Tomm: Correct.

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.

Tomm: Exactly.

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?

Tomm: Right.

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.

Tomm: Absolutely.

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.

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Rise in Industrial 3D Printing Creates New Need for Dust Collection

Rise in Industrial 3D Printing Creates New Need for Dust Collection

Whether you call it additive manufacturing, rapid prototyping, or 3D printing, the principle is the same: a tangible object is built, one layer at a time. The need to capture 3D printer dust for health and safety grows as this machinery evolves.

A New Type of Manufacturing

Within that definition, you’ll find multiple kinds of 3D printing. The term 3D printing encompasses a broad range of layer-by-layer manufacturing. Although still mostly used for rapid prototyping, there is an increasing trend of using additive manufacturing for production parts.

As with any shift in industrial practices, it’s important to keep employee wellness and protection in mind as businesses adopt new technology, and this new technology becomes mainstream.

3D printer dust is a potential hazard in manufacturing objects such as these irregularly shaped extrusions

Three Types of 3D Printing – Three of Many

Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is the most common type that most people think of when they think 3D printing. FDM is the kind of 3D printing where you have a resin filament feeding into the 3D printer. Desktop FDM 3D printers have increased in popularity over the last few years. They are a low-barrier entry point to 3D printing. On an industrial scale, FDM creates parts with layer lines that might require additional finishing.

Another type of 3D printing is stereolithography. With this kind of additive manufacturing, a hardened liquid pool becomes a resin. This happens when a computer-controlled ultraviolet laser moves precisely across the surface. Because of its high precision, stereolithography is useful in producing accurate prototypes, even of irregular shapes.

Selective laser sintering (SLS) also uses a computer-controlled laser. But instead of a pool of liquid, the material is a powder bed. Layer by layer by layer, the laser binds this finely powdered material together. This creates a solid object or structure on the build plate. Companies currently use SLS to make jigs and fixtures for other manufacturing applications. They also use it for short-run production in its own right.

Why Collect 3D Printer Dust?

There is one commonality between all these different ways of 3D printing (and other kinds, too!). It’s that all of them are dealing with chemicals, dust, or fumes. As with any manufacturing setting, companies must take steps to mitigate these hazards and provide workers with a safe environment. Whether the hazardous particulate is part of the process or created during finishing, it’s important to capture excess dust and fume.

#1 Employee Health

It’s not hard to understand the value of clean air to employee health. Using a proper extraction and dust collection system means employees have less exposure to VOCs and other potential hazards to long-term health. It also reduces exposure to irritants that are unpleasant for employees, such as chemical odors. Chemicals and particulate produced as a result of 3D printing could be potential eye, nose, and throat irritants. Employees can be more productive in an environment that is not causing itchy eyes or headaches. The powder used in stereolithography is similar in texture to the flour you might find in a bakery; proper dust-handling equipment is therefore essential.

#2 Cleaner Work Environment

Not only does adequate ventilation keep your employees safe and productive. It also means that the 3D printed parts are not negatively impacted by dust and particles. Some manufactured parts can be scratched or damaged by coming in contact with particles from other processes; for example, they may appear to rust if they come in contact with even a little steel dust.

#3 Combustible Dust HazardsCMAXX industrial dust and fume collection installation for 3D printer dust

Many of the dust types created as a by-product of 3D printing are flammable or combustible in the presence of an ignition source. This is not ideal in an application that uses a laser. Combustible dust that is not properly taken care of accumulates on surfaces. Thus, it becomes fuel for secondary explosions during a deflagration event.

Your Industrial 3D Printer Dust Solution

A properly designed dust collection system is sure to keep your work areas clean and your employees safe and healthy. The CMAXX Dust & Fume Collector will filter hazardous particulate from the air and withstand a combustible dust explosion. Our team will determine the best system for your application. We’ll ensure that your facility is up to code and NFPA compliant. Learn more about your dust collection options by scheduling a virtual demo with our team.

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CMAXX Inline Deflagration Arrester: Explained and Compared

CMAXX Inline Deflagration Arrester: Explained and Compared

The CMAXX Inline Deflagration Arrester (IDA) is a proprietary filter design of Imperial Systems. Each collector with IDA filter technology displays a special IDA seal affirming the unit is a certified IDA collector. This certification is in effect as long as replacement collector filters are always Imperial Systems IDA filter elements. Let’s explore the details of our IDA filter technology and its advantages over what other dust collector suppliers offer.

CMAXX as an Inline Deflagration Arrester 

It’s important to understand that IDA certification is for CMAXX as a whole system with specific features and configuration. It’s been third-party tested to withstand an explosion of 185 Kst. If a deflagration occurs in the collector, it will completely stop a flame from passing beyond the filter section.

Four still frames from video of deflagration test of CMAXX Inline Deflagration Arrester

IDA FiltersDeltaMAXX IDA (Inline Deflagration Arrestor) filter is specially designed to withstand an explosion

 To begin with, these are not ordinary cartridge filters. We use a proprietary IDA version of our DeltaMAXX Prime filter. It has a second layer of reinforcement that makes it stronger to withstand high Kst explosions. With IDA DeltaMAXX filters in CMAXX, the explosion force will pass through, but the fireball won’t.

The filters will burn eventually if there’s a fire in the dust collector. The filter media itself is flame resistant and with the initial explosion they won’t burn up. If there’s a flame that continues to burn in the collector after the explosion, the filter media may eventually burn away. A standard filter with standard cellulose media would burn up and a fireball would go right through it.

Electric Eye

The IDA package includes a photoelectric sensor. The system installer will put this into the ductwork downstream of the collector. This sensor acts as a broken bag detector to monitor for any compromised IDA filters in normal operation. The sensor will send a signal to a warning device. It may otherwise shut the system down if it detects particulate bypassing the filter section. This is an important feature of the IDA system. That’s because a damaged filter will allow the flame to get through in a deflagration event. If the sensor detects something passing through, the indication is that there’s a problem with a filter. Maintenance personnel will need to replace it. 

What Competitors Do

Other manufacturers will offer a second bank of filters. This is to perform the same function as Imperial Systems’ tested and proven IDA filters. There are ramifications of this to consider.

First of all, enlarged collector housings accommodating two sets of filters take up more space. Some companies build another complete filter section on top of their collector to retain the footprint. But this results in a tall collector that decreases headroom for indoor installations. This increased filter housing will also add a considerable amount of extra cost to the collector. However, CMAXX IDA technology does not require this.

Furthermore, secondary filters can prematurely blind since they’re not self-cleaning. This can result in high pressure drop. Plus, there’s an initial extra cost of the larger housing with a second filter set. Further, its replacement costs are more frequent than the primary filters.

No Diverter Valve or Abort Gate Needed

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says that you have to block off all your egress from your collector. So, the ductwork coming into the collector has to have an explosion isolation valve/damper in the ductwork. If the outlet’s clean air is going back into the plant, it must have a diverter valve. 

Our CMAXX Inline Deflagration Arrester actually negates the need for that diverter valve or abort gate on the collector’s outlet. That’s because our filters will stop that flame from passing through the filter section.

No Secondary Filter Bank Needed

Our IDA DeltaMAXX filters alone do what competitors do with two sets of filters to stop a flame front. Changes of one set of our primary filters are easy and safe with the patented lift rails in the CMAXX. The safety pentagon built into each CMAXX collector prevents the doors from closing if rails are not locked in the proper upright position, ensuring filter sealing. No secondary filter bank means no added risk of filter bypass allowing a flame to travel through.

Dust and Fume Applications

When can you use, or not use, the CMAXX IDA technology? As we learned earlier, it’s been tested and certified to withstand dust explosions at 185 Kst. So, we need to know or determine what that rating is for your dust and/or fume application. 

This infographic identifies Kst values for several dust types. Sugar and cornstarch are highly explosive, yet the CMAXX IDA will stop a flame front from their ignition. Cornstarch was actually used in the deflagration test. Most metals have Kst values much higher than 185, so they’re not good candidates. Just about any dust that’s 185 Kst or below would be an excellent choice.

Installation Location Flexibility

We have customers who have no other option than to locate their dust collectors inside of their plants. With explosive dust, they can place the collectors next to an outside wall so the explosion can vent outside. 

Alternatively, they can equip a flameless vent explosion suppressor onto the collector’s explosion vent. Normally, the exhausted air would also need to vent outside. Alternatively, you can equip the collector with a costly chemically suppression system and high-speed isolation gates. But with our IDA, they can keep the collector inside and not worry about venting the air outside. It can discharge right into the plant because there’s no flame that’s going to come by. This opens up many options for CMAXX IDA installation locations.


Summing Up the CMAXX Inline Deflagration Arrester for Fire or Explosion

Official logo certifying that CMAXX Dust Collector is an IDA (Inline Deflagration Arrester)

  • The CMAXX Inline Deflagration Arrester has been independently tested and proven to meet NFPA standards for stopping a flame front from fire or explosion. 
  • It eliminates the requirement for a diverter valve or abort gate at a collector’s discharge. 
  • It eliminates the need for a secondary bank of filters designed to stop a flame front. 
  • Unlike secondary filters used by others, CMAXX consistently cleans the IDA DeltaMAXX primary filters during operation. 
  • The CMAXX IDA is the best choice for explosive dust with a rating of 185 Kst or lower.

Learn more about the CMAXX Inline Deflagration Arrestor.

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Industrial Hygiene with Bob Dayringer – Dusty Jobs Podcast – S3 E3

Industrial Hygiene with Bob Dayringer – Dusty Jobs Podcast – S3 E3

For the Dusty Jobs Podcast Donovan talks with Bob Dayringer an Industrial Hygienist from MyOHSA. Bob talks about what it means to be an Industrial Hygienist and why you should schedule one to visit your company. Also Bob talks about a cautionary tale from a few visits of different companies.





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. Thanks for listening again. Today we have joining us Bob Dayringer, retired MyOSHA. Did I say your last name right, Bob?

Bob: Yes. Yup.

Donovan: Alright. So he has been a senior industrial hygienist for, oh man, how many years did you have in the industry Bob?

Bob: Uh, thirty nine and a half years. I was with MyOSHA for thirty nine and half. I was a CIH for thirty some years.

Donovan: Now, what’s a CIH? I’m not familiar with that term.

Bob: A CIH is certified industrial hygienist. It’s the professional way of saying that you know what you’re doing. 

Donovan: Gotcha. So those are some initials that give you a little bit of credibility.

Bob:  Yeah, the American Board of Industrial Hygiene sponsors a two part test that you take to become certified. It’s a fairly rigorous test. 

Donovan: So I’m sure over the time that you were doing that, man, probably the industry changed so much during that time frame. I imagine you saw innovations and regulations and a lot of stuff change, huh?

Bob: Quite a lot of change, yes, over those years. I have said that industrial hygiene isn’t quite as exciting now as it used to be because standards move along. They find out things are worse for you than they originally thought. They lower exposure limits, and when they lower exposure limits, the industry tends to move away from those issues, and the workplace gets a little safer. It’s not quite as exciting when you go into the industries because some of the bad things that were there no longer exist. 

Donovan: So it’s not as exciting in a good way. Things are starting to get safer.

Bob: Exciting is now always a good thing.

Donovan: Yeah, so it’s still very interesting and intriguing, but there’s no one probably getting as sick as they used to, or as injured as they used to. 

Bob: It makes the days fun when you constantly get the chance to learn new things and to see new things. 

Donovan: Yeah, I can imagine. So we kind of talked about what an industrial hygienist is, but we kind of gave a broad definition. What would you say? Would this be something someone would go to college for? How did you actually find your way into it and what does it actually mean from day to day?

Bob: I found my way into it by luck, actually. I was just out of college with a degree in biology and chemistry working as a chemist in a chemical manufacturing facility, and it became my job to escort the MyOSHA guys through the plant when they came to visit us. I saw what they were doing and I thought, ‘Boy, this looks like a lot more fun than what I am doing.’ So I applied and eventually got into MyOSHA. Then there was a big learning curve. 

Donovan: Oh, I can imagine, I can imagine. So you started out meeting these guys, and then you said, “I think I’ll do that.” What is a day in a person who is an industrial hygienist? Is it a lot of visiting factories? How does it go about, If I was going to shadow you for the day?

Bob: Most of my days would be going to an industry somewhere. I was in consultation so I went out at the request of the facility. I was able to talk to them beforehand and determine what their concern was. I might do some research about that material or concern, and then go to their facility, do air contaminant or noise monitoring, review ventilation systems to see if they were working as they were supposed to. Those types of things. It’s kind of like being a risk assessment detective. You look for things that can cause risk for the employee.

Donovan: I gotcha, I gotcha. So, I mean, thirty nine years you were doing this. What are some of the most common things you would run into during that time frame? I’m sure it’s changed, like we talked about earlier, but what was some stuff that typically you could walk in and say, “Wow, I see this a lot,” and really help people out with it.

Bob: I would say three things. First of all, noise exposure. Noise is everywhere in the industry. Many, many, many people are overexposed to noise and lose hearing because of that. Number two on the list would be welding fume exposure. I wrote more citations, more hazards, for an air contaminant, for welding fume than anything else by far. Thirdly would be bad ventilation systems, things that were installed to help protect the employee that really didn’t do much or didn’t work correctly. 

Donovan: I gotcha, I gotcha. So, there’s something there that’s in place but maybe the design of it or how it was actually functioning wasn’t working to- 

Bob: It just wasn’t up to what they intended it to do. 

Donovan: I gotcha, I gotcha. Good intentions, bad design possibly. 

Bob: Lots of times. 

Donovan: So, in all these times do you have any stories about maybe when you ran into something like that where you were just like, “This is not working out at all.”

Bob: One of the ones that really comes to mind is that you have to spend your money wisely. I went into a foundry years ago. My first day there they were so proud. They had just put in this new exhaust ventilation system in the core-making room. I asked, “Why did you put this in?” 

They said, “It smells really bad in there so we spent a few hundred thousand dollars trying to get rid of this bad smell.” 

Of course, I said, “What is that bad smell? Is it something hazardous? Is it just a bad smell?”

“Well, we don’t really know. It smells bad. People complain, so we spend the money.”

Across the door into the other half of the foundry, it was a leaded brass foundry. Their lead exposure was so high that they had people off on medical leave. It was really hazardous. They had spent hundreds of thousands to get rid of a bad smell and done nothing about the lead. 

Donovan: Oh my.

Bob: I always say to spend your money wisely. There’s only so much in that suitcase to spend. They had several employees off on medical leave because of high, elevated blood leads. It was very hazardous. 

Donovan: Did you say, “Hey, why don’t we take this pipe that you put here and put it here to help with that lead,” huh?

Bob: Unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. It has to be designed specifically. You should have taken this block of money and spent it in the foundry. 

Donovan: They should have had you in there before they started making these decisions, huh?

Bob: I think it would have been a lot better. I certainly would have said, “Don’t do this.”

Donovan: Okay, so lets say there is a setting – you talked a lot about weld exposure – in this setting it was lead exposure. How would a person even know that? How would they go about getting a test or figuring that out? How do you guys do that? How do you let someone know when their exposure limit is too much or if they’re within it? What’s the process in helping people determine that? 

Bob: If it’s noise, we have digital readout, equipment that takes the noise sample constantly thorough-out the day. It provides us with an exposure number at the end of the day. If we’re doing air contaminant monitoring then we usually have an air sampling pump and we’ll pull air through some type of media that collects the contaminant. We then send it to a laboratory and they do the analysis, and we can say that for that period of time, this is how much material was in the breathing zone of the employee. For instance, for welding fume we take that sample right inside the helmet. We put a cassette inside the helmet and we suck air through that cassette and then have the cassette analyzed. 

Donovan: Wow. So you can’t get any closer to that unless you were going to put it in their nose.

Bob: Exactly, yes. We want it to be in the breathing zone. The definition of the breathing zone is within six inches of your air intake.

Donovan: So if you’re talking about weld fume exposure, when you would typically see someone that was inside or outside that range, what does that range look like? How does that measure?

Bob: The range of welding fume exposure?

Donovan: Yeah. So, if someone was welding for ten minutes or welding all day – if I was a welder and I was looking at this how would I know if I am exposed too much or if I’m within the acceptable limit?

Bob: Most everyone now is a MIG welder. Most of your welding in the industry is MIG, metal inert gas. It’s a wire fed system. I would say rule of thumb if your production welding and you’re welding more than three hours a day, and you don’t have some sort of ventilation system to collect that fume you’re probably going to be exposed above the Michigan exposure limit. Exposure limits are different depending upon where you’re located. 

This gets to be a long story, but Michigan’s exposure limit is five milligrams of contaminate per cubic meter there. The feds – Federal OSHA – states still ten. It really needs to come down from there, from either place. A couple years ago IARC, the International Association for the Research of Cancer, has now called welding fume a carcinogen. So, there’s that. There’s manganese in all of welding fume. The manganese exposure limit for the feds was five. It’s going to – well, ACGIH, American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienist, is recommending that it be limited to 0.02.

Donovan: Wow. So, things are getting even less exciting, right? Hopefully.

Bob: Hopefully they will get less exciting, right? Right now if you’re a welder you’re overexposed to manganese and probably welding fume in some states if you weld more than three hours a day. 

Donovan: So the functionality and having a good system in place to get that weld fume away from that operator – we’re becoming more and more aware of how important that is for people’s health and safety. 

Bob: We’re recognizing now the importance of getting away the welding operators, definitely. 

Donovan: So if someones out there and they have a weld shop and they’re thinking, ‘Man, I would love to have someone like Bob to come in and look at my operation and tell me where I could make things better or help.’ How would someone do that? Is it a paid service? Is it a government service? From what you used to do, how would someone get in touch with their dental – or not dental hygienist! What am I saying here – with their industrial hygienist that is in their area?

Bob: If they’re in a state plan state, if their OSHA program is ran by the state, all of the state plan states have consultants that come in free of charge. In federal states, I’m not aware. I think some of them also have consultation programs. The first thing I would do is check the web and see if my state had that availability for free service. If not, there is a variety of paid consultants that will come out. There are many organizations that have IH’s working for them that can come out and do this monitoring. 

Donovan: I know some people would say, “Why would I want to call OSHA into my facility?” That’s just a scary thing to do. But, from what I remember talking about earlier kind of what you guys did and what the other side of OSHA does is a little bit separate. Is that right? The consulting side in comparison to…

Bob: Compliance and consultation are totally separate. Compliance does not know where consultation goes or what they do. As a consultant, we are requested by the employer to come in. We provide a report to the employer that gives them some direction of what they need to do to come into compliance. It’s a free voluntary chance to come into compliance with standards. There is a catch. Consultation does request a gentleman’s agreement that they will fix what’s broken. If we find something seriously wrong, they need to fix it, or we’re required at some point in time to turn it over to compliance. It very seldom happens because typically the people that have consultation come in that know that up front and are willing to fix what’s broken. 

Donovan: They’re coming to you saying, “We know there is an issue. We’re trying to find a solution.” That’s such good information. You guys out there with OSHA are really trying to help make the workplace a safer, cleaner environment, a healthier environment. Here at Imperial that’s what we try to do too. We’re a little bit on the other side of it, just continuing to build equipment. So it’s a really great to hear that out there in the field what we’re doing can really help somebody go home safer to their family at night. That’s what we’re shooting for here. 

Bob: Everyone laughs at that statement. “I’m from the government. I’m here to help you.” In this case it’s really true. 

Donovan: Well, Bob, do you have anything else that might be helpful for anyone out there if they’re listening and thinking, ‘Man, I don’t know if I have any exposure to anything.” 

Bob: I think it’s never a bad idea to have your consultant come in and review your data sheets and review your operations and see if there are things that might be of interest to look deeper into. Again, over time yo kind of get a feel for what can be a problem. With that length of service comes some knowledge that makes it easier to tell what might be an issue. 

Donovan: Yeah, yup. Well Bob, thanks again for coming on. We really appreciate it. Maybe we’ll do something again in the future. We could cover some other topics. We really appreciate your wealth of knowledge and being willing to share it with us. 

Bob: You’re certainly welcome. 

Donovan: Everyone who is listening out there, if you’d like to reach out to us more you can find us Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn and now we have a Tik Tok! So you can watch us on Tik Tok. Once again, thanks for listening. Everybody out there stay healthy and stay safe. 

Bob: Thanks Donovan. 

Donovan: Thanks Bob.

Narrator: Thanks for listening to the Dusty Jobs Podcast. Breathe better, work safer.

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Magnesium Metal Hazards and Proper Dust Collection

Magnesium Metal Hazards and Proper Dust Collection

Magnesium metal is used in manufacturing across a wide range of industries. It can be found in items that we rely on every day such as car seats, laptops, cameras, and power tools that benefit from being lightweight. According to Research and Markets, the market for metal magnesium is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 4% globally by 2026. What this says is that magnesium metal is here to stay, so it’s important to know how to both safely handle magnesium while working with it and how to properly dispose of it and its waste after. This is where dust collection comes into play.


Hazards of Magnesium Metal Dust

Magnesium is an excellent conductor in heat and easily ignites, therefore it must not only be handled with care – it must also be cleaned up with care. While solid magnesium metal may be difficult to ignite, finely ground magnesium dust is “ready ignitable” and can even spontaneously ignite in the presence of water or cutting fluids containing fatty acids. Machining or sawing magnesium can create this airborne dust and grinding residue that can hang in the air and settle throughout the workplace.

Given that it will burn and explode with violence if ignited, it’s imperative that non-sparking conductive tools be used where magnesium metal dust is present. Any smoking, open flames or electrical welding must also be forbidden in places where magnesium is machined, sawed, or ground.


Why Proper Dust Collection is Important

If left to collect on workspaces and equipment, a magnesium metal dust explosion is waiting to happen. Sparks from any source can ignite the substance and the resulting fire can quickly travel. To make matters worse, there is typically more than one explosion as the initial explosion often shakes more accumulated dust that in turn ignites. OSHA says that these later explosions can be far more devastating due to the increased quantity and concentration of dispersed combustible dust.

The danger of having magnesium dust in the workplace is severe, so its handling should be treated as such. According to the International Magnesium Association, grinding dust should be captured in a wet dust collector system that is engineered for magnesium and dedicated to magnesium use only.


Avoid a Dust Explosion with Proper Magnesium Metal Dust Control

Exposure to dust and gasses in factories can be hazardous to workers’ health. Furthermore, flammable dust produces an environment conducive to a fire or explosion. This is especially true for magnesium metal, whose use in manufacturing is expected to rise in the coming years. When working with magnesium metal, make sure that you’re keeping a safe and compliant workspace by monitoring dust collection. It is the only way to ensure the health and safety of everyone when working with a metal that produces a highly flammable, easily ignitable dust by-product.

Consult the Dust Collection ProfessionalsCMAXX installation on a magnesium metal dust application

Make sure the company that constructs and installs your dust collecting system is familiar with and can explain all of the required fire safety equipment to you. Another crucial safety tip is to ensure that the equipment is in good operating order via ongoing monitoring. This involves changing the filters as needed and inspecting and maintaining the collector on a regular basis.

Imperial Systems will work will your business and application to advise you on the safest option for your magnesium dust. We can help you determine what will make your system NFPA compliant, whether it’s our heavy-duty CMAXX Dust & Fume Collector for dry dust or pointing you in the right direction for a wet collection alternative.

If you would like a hands-on education in dust collector maintenance, our ServiceMAXX team can pay a visit and help you establish a maintenance schedule.

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