Dust and Fume Collection:  Do you need it?

Dust and Fume Collection: Do you need it?


Dust and fume collection in a manufacturing facility is important for many reasons.  Here are the top five reasons you should consider:


Top 5 reasons you need dust and fume collection


Can you name the metal that causes cancer, damages skin, eyes, lungs, and kidneys, and is found in everything from stainless steel to dyes and pigments?


If you said this compound is HEXAVALENT CHROMIUM (https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hexavalentchromium/) you’re right.


Chromium is a component of stainless steel, added to make the steel more corrosion-resistant. The fumes produced from welding, laser cutting, or plasma cutting stainless steel contain hexavalent chromium. While this form of chromium is known to cause cancer, it also directly attacks the lungs and kidneys and can cause severe eye and skin irritation.

Hexavalent chromium doesn’t just appear in welded or heated stainless steel. Electroplating with chrome also presents a hazard, and hexavalent chromium compounds are used as pigments in inks, paints, and many types of plastic. Working on any material plated with chrome or coated with a chromium-containing material may release hexavalent chromium into the air.

Think hexavalent chromium isn’t something to worry about in your type of business? You may need to reconsider. OSHA TESTING (OSHA TESTING: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/hexavalentchromium/) showed which types of facilities had detectable levels of this dangerous metal in their air. The following are some of the top offenders:

  • Nonresidential building
  • Highway, street, and bridge
  • Foundation and structural materials
  • Foundries
  • Forging and stamping
  • Architectural and structural metals
  • Boiler, tank, and container
  • Coating
  • Engraving
  • Heat-treating
  • Agricultural machinery
  • Mining machinery
  • Ventilation and air-conditioning
  • Aerospace products and parts
  • Ship and boat building
  • Automotive repair and maintenance

Any surprises on this list? If your facility is part of any of these industries, contact us at 800-918-3013 for an assessment of your dust and fume collection needs.


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Understanding Cold Spraying and Its Impact on Your Metalworking Facility

Understanding Cold Spraying and Its Impact on Your Metalworking Facility

Within the metalworking industry, the demands for diverse material coatings are on the rise, and the development of application processes that address environmental concerns is an ever growing field. Thermal spraying provides an attractive coating technique because it offers a wide selection of materials that have a reduced environmental impact as compared to conventional methods. Imperial Systems meets today’s top market needs by offering solutions that address problems from plasma, flame wire, flame powder, warm spraying, and cold spraying. We commit to helping you better prepare and protect your facility as your processes evolve and expand.


There are advantages to thermal spray coating techniques because they tackle the many problems of wear, corrosion and thermal degradation by engineering surfaces with customized coatings. Thermal spraying offers greater thickness capacity than traditional surface modification processes with minimal hazardous waste and no size restriction for parts.

High velocity oxy-fuel (HVOF) spraying is a thermal spray system based on the combustion of gases or a liquid fuel. The resulting high velocity propels the coating particles at near supersonic speeds before impact onto the surface, which generates high coating quality. One of the key benefits of this system’s high velocity is the extremely high coating density and low oxide content.

Cold spraying is an emerging form of High Velocity Oxygen Fuel (HVOF) technology intended as a greener alternative that will satisfy increasingly rigorous environmental and health safety regulations. A number of materials have already proven to be suitable for cold spray including decorative, biomedical, automotive, industrial, and space exploration materials. The cold spraying process has huge potential of growth with more applications in new areas developing constantly.

Cold spraying need not be a dangerous process if the equipment is treated with care, and if correct spraying practices are followed. Ideally, equipment should operate automatically in enclosures specially engineered to extract fumes, reduce noise levels, and prevent direct contact with the spraying head. In addition, OSHA recommends that every metalworking facility be fitted with the appropriate dust and fume extraction system to reduce the risks associated with such processes, such as exposure to air pollutants and combustion susceptibility.

The Imperial Systems CMAXXTM Dust Collector System is specially designed with PD technology that allows for maximum Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) in your facility. Some of its features and benefits include:

  • Increased cleaning power and energy efficiency with high-performance manifold mounted pulse valves.
  • 10% More filter media than other same-sized vertical cartridge collectors.
  • Vertical cartridge design for a longer filter life.
  • 100% Total pulse distribution.
  • Best in class internal velocities.
  • 15 Year manufacturer warranty

At Imperial Systems, we know the hazards that metalworkers face each day, and we continue to reach above and beyond the safety standards set by OSHA and the NFPA. If you’re looking for equipment that offers real solutions, delivers the cleanest air and provides you with the greatest cost savings, then contact Imperial Systems today at 800-918-3013. We’ll match your facility with dust collectors and filters that will improve your facility’s readiness for cold spraying, and any other new metalworking technology developments that may come along!

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Minimize The Risk of Thermal Spraying

Minimize The Risk of Thermal Spraying

The metalworking industry is compromised many different aspects of metal fabrication encompassing welding, thermal spraying, sanding and shot blasting, and plasma cutting. Thermal spraying is is used for repairing damaged surfaces, temperature/oxidation protection, corrosion protection, crankshaft reconditioning and conditioning, and altering thermal conductivity. The process of thermal spraying  comes in many applications from cold spraying, plasma spraying, wide arc spraying, high velocity oxygen fuel spraying, and warm spraying. While there may be variations in the applications of thermal spraying they all have similar risks.

High-Velocity-Oxy-Fuel-SprayingBecause the process of thermal spraying involves the atomization of molten metals, this produces large amounts of combustible dust and toxic fumes according to the publication of the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, Intl. Other dangers involved with warm spraying are the fine metal particles that are possibly pyrophoric and can be very harmful when accumulated in the body, and the constant inhalation of highly toxic metal dust particles. The constant exposure to these fumes and vapors can produce serious respiratory diseases such as a coughs, pulmonary edema, asthma, or contact dermatitis. Some metals that are used such as nickel, chromium, or cobalt are considered to be potentially carcinogenic to humans.

In order to avoid or limit any of these hazards, there are certains standards and guidelines set  by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Safety being the priority, OSHA suggests your metalworking facility be fitted with the appropriate dust and fume extraction system to avoid any explosions and reduce metal fabricators exposure to metal air pollutants.

The Solution to Thermal Spraying Hazards

Imperial Systems CMAXX™ Dust Collector System can provide your metalworking facility with the protection it needs because our dust collector systems are designed for our DeltaMAXX™ Replacement Cartridge Filters. Our DeltaMAXX™  Replacement Cartridge Filters have the longest filter lifer, provide you with a greater cost in savings, and the cleanest air for your facility.  Here are more outstanding features the CMAXX™ Dust Collector System can provide for your metal facility:

  • Vertical cartridge design for a longer filter life.
  • 100% Total pulse distribution.
  • Best in class internal velocities.
  • Increased cleaning power with an energy efficient and high-performance manifold mounted pulse valves.
  • 15 Year manufacturer warranty
  • 10% More filter media than other same-sized vertical cartridge collectors.

At Imperial Systems, we know the hazards that metalworkers face each day, and we continue to go above and beyond the standards set by OSHA and the NFPA.  

Contact us today, and let us help you get fitted with the CMAXX™ Dust Collector System to combat the hazards of thermal spraying.

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Sheet Metal Duct Fittings Done Right With Imperial Systems

Sheet Metal Duct Fittings Done Right With Imperial Systems

Don’t choose sub-standard sheet metal duct fittings for your metalworking business. Save time and money by choosing Imperial Systems.

When the company first began back in 2001, Imperial Systems was strictly a fabricator of custom sheet metal duct fittings. Although Imperial Systems is now considered a manufacturer of industrial dust collectors, we are also still experts in custom duct and fitting jobs. Our pride in developing custom sheet metal duct fittings has always remained intact as we feel we are the best and most experienced in the industry with these custom jobs.

Why Choose Imperial For Custom Sheet Metal Duct Fittings?

sheet metal duct fittingsPaired with our outstanding customer service, we manufacture only the highest quality products that are reliable, durable, and guaranteed to last. Below are a few reasons why you should consider replacing your current duct and fittings with Imperial Systems:

  • Your current sheet metal duct fittings are in disrepair. Don’t let dust and fumes escape, causing your employees to be sick. Even more serious is the risk of combustion in the workplace.
  • You’ve noticed your employees getting sick more often. The cause may be leaky ducts and fittings. Look into replacing your current system with Imperial Systems’ trusted products.
  • Poor customer service. If you find that your current provider for sheet metal duct fittings is lacking in quality customer service, find out why Imperial Systems maintains trustworthy business relationships with our clients.
  • Your system is outdated. With an updated system regulated by OSHA and NFPA standards, you can save time and money. You may also reduce a risk of an accident or hazard.

We are often called upon to take jobs focused on ducting and sheet metal in addition to the dust collection systems we are best known for. Our standard of quality applies not only to dust collection but to the sheet metal duct fittings that enhance your current system so you know you’re in good hands.

When making a purchase decision in the metalworking industry, you must take into consideration both the quality of the product being purchased as well as the effectiveness and safety for the end-user–your employees. Today’s advances in dust collection systems have lessened replacement costs and injury or death due to faulty equipment.

Ready for Sheet Metal Duct Fitting Solutions From Imperial?

Don’t let your employees risk their health due to the fine dust particles that is a common byproduct in the metalworking industry. Keep your employees healthy and your environment safe with our quality sheet metal duct design work. Our ducts and fittings can be added to any current system you have, or we can replace your system with one of our highly demanded CMAXX™ Dust Collector Systems.

If you’d like to request a quote or schedule an assessment  based on your needs for a hardworking, high-quality sheet metal duct fitting which is both OSHA and NFPA regulated, get in touch with us today at 724.662.2801 or by finding out more about us.

At Imperial Systems, we specialize in advanced safety solutions you can count on.

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The Cost of Procrastinating on Your Spark Arrestor Purchase

The Cost of Procrastinating on Your Spark Arrestor Purchase

Delaying your spark arrestor decision may cost you– We can help you reduce the risk

warningHow much is your procrastination costing you?  In some industries, putting decisions or actions off for a later date can have negative, if relatively mild, consequences.  A deadline is missed, an opportunity is lost.  A client or partner may even be disappointed. While these consequences may be difficult for those having to deal with them, they pale in the face of the cost of procrastination within the metalworking industry.  

Unlike other businesses, your metalworking company is a high-stakes situation every single day.  With the potentially explosive combination of combustible dust and sparks flying, it is imperative that you act immediately to implement all of the required and recommended safety equipment, including dust collection systems with sealed ductwork and an effective spark arrestor.

Of course, each of these pieces of equipment represents a major investment for your business, and it is important to do your homework and decide which one is the best fit for your business.  However, letting that pending decision intimidate or hold you could be a serious hazard.  

In this blog, we will lead you through:

  • The Risks of Combustible Dust & Sparks
  • The Role of A Spark Arrestor in Risk Prevention
  • The Features & Benefits of the Imperial Systems’ Spark Arrestor

Understanding The Risk of Combustible Dust & Sparks


what_materials_are_involved_in_combustible_dust_incidents_-_graphicIn the metalworking industry, it’s not secret that the materials you work with day in and day out can create a serious risk for combustion.  In fact, metals make up 20% of the materials involved in combustible dust incidents. And between 2008 and 2012, the United States Chemical Safety Board documented 50 combustible dust accidents, which led to a total of 29 fatalities and 161 injuries.


Unfortunately, as of 2014, metals and manufacturing were among the top industries being cited by OSHA for combustible dust, flammable dust, and other explosible dust hazards. This tells us that, although the risk is clear, it may not be clearly understood by those in the industry.

Five simple elements are required for combustion to occur:

  • Heat
  • Fuel
  • Oxygen
  • Dispersion
  • Confinement

image-300x275With each of these factors occurring effortlessly within most metalworking shops, tragedy lurks only a moment away.  This is why, in 2006, the US Chemical Safety Board recommended a comprehensive combustible dust regulatory standard for all industries, be added atop the initial regulations which were developed in the grain industry in 1987.

Clearly, the risks are both real and nearly ubiquitous.  They need to be taken seriously by all within the affected industries. One of the best ways to do this is to evaluate your workspace and ensure that it has all of the equipment necessary to meet OSHA, NFPA, and other regulations.  Additionally, you should regularly evaluate your equipment to ensure that it is in good working order.  

The Role of A Spark Arrestor in Risk Prevention

At its most basic, the role of a spark arrestor is to prevent the emission of flammable materials from combustion.  Sparks, in various forms are the major cause of combustion in combustible dust accidents:

Screenshot at Jan 07 19-37-37Because sparks are often carried along through the exhaust gas stream, it has not cooled from its temperature of 600 degrees Fahrenheit by the time it arrives at the solids separator.  At this point, it can be deposited onto the filter element surface, positioned as a glowing risk of combustion. The filter element surface is at high risk for combustion, no matter what material it is made of, because of it’s role in collecting tiny metal particles and dust that are produced by nearly every manufacturing and metalworking process.  Even a simple spark is enough to insight disaster.

This is why OSHA’s ignition control recommendations regarding combustible dust include the following:shutterstock_243589588

  • Control smoking, open flames, and sparks
  • Control mechanical sparks and friction
  • Use separator devices to remove foreign materials capable of igniting combustibles from process materials
  • Separate heated surfaces from dusts
  • Use an equipment preventive maintenance program.

OSHA’s injury and damage control methods also include:

  • Separation of the hazard (isolate with distance)
  • Segregation of the hazard (isolate with a barrier)
  • Deflagration isolation/venting
  • Specialized fire suppression systems
  • Explosion protection systems;

A Spark Arrestor is an instrumental part of these methods, working to minimize risk by cooling and thus extinguishing sparks before they reach the filter surface.  In the diagram below, note how the hot spark enters the arrestor which both cools and collects debris, before allowing the cooled ember to pass through.

Spark Arrestor internal view copy

The spark arrestor fits within the full dust collection system as the first line of defense.  They take up little or no extra space, but provide powerful results.  

The Features & Benefits of the Imperial Systems’ Spark Arrestor

At Imperial Systems, our highest priority is to provide the best solutions in dust collection and air pollution.  We are determined to provide the best protection for your workers, your plant, and the environment.  For over a decade, we have been serving metalworking businesses like yours all over the United States and Canada.

In an effort to provide fully comprehensive dust collection equipment, we have debuted our Spark Arrestor.  It’s standard features include:

  • Heavy duty construction
  • No maintenance
  • Clean-out door
  • Fully welded construction
  • Easy install into any system
  • Can be installed in horizontal or vertical configurations
  • No moving parts
  • Carbon steel or stainless steel available
  • No water required
  • AVAILABLE IN SIZES: 6 in. to 40 in

Additionally, you can opt for raw inlet and outlet edges, rolled angle flange for bolt together ducts, or clamp together for clamping duct.

As with all Imperial Systems’ products, you can count on the highest quality materials, top safety features, and unbeatable value.

The Cost of Procrastination

So back to our original question.  If you haven’t yet decided on a spark extinguisher for your metalworking business, what is that procrastination cost you?  Let’s take a look at the numbers:

From 1996-2005, 106 explosions resulted in 16 fatalities, 126 injuries, and an estimated cost of $162.8 million in damages to the facilities.

And we know, from previously cited studies, that sparks are a major cause of such explosions.  Will you absolutely face a combustible dust explosion if you put off your decision about a spark extinguisher?  Perhaps not.  But is it really worth the risk?

If you are ready to take the next step towards improving the safety of your workplace with an industrial spark arrestor, you can contact Imperial Systems today at 800.918.3013 or by emailing us at info@isystemsweb.com.
At Imperial Systems, we know that spark collection is only one of the many challenges that metalworkers like you face every day.  What other safety and production challenges are you facing in your business?  What actions have you taken to try to solve these issues?  Share your ideas and experiences with us in the comments section below.  

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22 Facts You Don’t Know About Ductwork (But You Should)

22 Facts You Don’t Know About Ductwork (But You Should)

Discover the customized ductwork solutions you need.

IMG_0787Here at Imperial Systems, we’ve been manufacturing customized sheet metal ductwork since 2001.  With all that experience, we feel proud to call ourselves experts in the industry.  However, a lot of the individuals and businesses we serve know that they need a customized ductwork solution, but they don’t know that much about the product itself.  This can be a major problem for businesses or individuals who are trying to make a serious investment in their business and its safety, when they are unable to determine exactly what they need and who can best help them reach their goals.

So, we want to share our expertise with you!  Discover the practical–and sometimes entertaining–facts about the world of ductwork fabrication and installation.  

Interesting Fun Facts About Ductwork


  • Let’s start simple: ductwork is one word. Despite the countless times it’s misspelled as two words, it really is just one word.
  • Sheet metal bending isn’t as old as you think it is.  Manufacturing and production using the material really took off in the late 1800s during the Industrial Revolution, as assembly lines and new machines made it a practical and profitable endeavor.
  • Ductwork is an Imperial Systems tradition.  In fact, we started as a custom sheet metal ductwork before our industrial dust collectors!  With that kind of experience, we’re confident that we’re still the best in the industry.
  • There are 3 main techniques for bending sheet metal: Bottoming, Coining, and Air Bending.  Each method uses different tools to bend sheet metal for all sorts of purposes… including ductwork.
  • Stiffening is a key component to ductwork compliance.  In fact, the SMACNA sheet metal standards call for ductwork of different gauges to be stiffened to ensure it will be durable and not warp during operation.
  • Round ducts are stiffened differently than rectangular ones.  Round ducts receive stiffening ribs at equal intervals.  Rectangular ducts receive cross-braking and beading techniques, depending upon the machinery used and the intended application.
  • We offer HUNDREDS of different ductwork components.  We know different parts are necessary for different applications; you should know that we’ve always got you covered. You can check them all out in our full catalog.

  • Imperial Systems Professional Shots 065Whether you’re a food processing company or a major basket maker, we’ve got you covered.  That’s right, baskets.  When the Longaberger Company needed new, highly efficient ductwork for their new building, they reached out to Imperial Systems because of our prices, services, and expertise.
  • Fabricated Gore Elbows are our most common elbow.  Thanks to their versatility and the adjustments that can be made to the radius based on application, we use this elbow in virtually every industry.
  • Our Floor Sweeps are hands free.  To operate the hinged door that seals off the air flow when not in use, we added a lever on the side of the door that can be operated by foot.
  • Heavy wear applications don’t slow us down.  Our heavy duty flat back elbows are a square constructed elbows with a 10 ga. housing and a ¼” plate back which can be either welded solid or bolted for replacement without removing the whole elbow.  This heavy duty construction makes them perfect for the toughest of applications.      
  • The most common ductwork material is carbon steel, but it isn’t your only option.  Our fully welded pipe comes in galvanized, stainless, and painted.
  • You could crawl through our ducts… but you probably shouldn’t.  All of our welded pipe is smooth inside and free of burrs and rough edges.   So, if you’re on a super spy mission, you don’t have to worry about skinned knees.  But unless you actually on a secret mission, you should probably keep your feet on the ground.
  • Good ductwork is dust collection’s best friend.  The ductwork of an industrial dust collection system connects its hoods, air cleaning device, and fan.  You can have the best device in the world, but if your ductwork is poorly constructed or improperly sized, you’re not going to get the results you need.
  • Ductwork for dust collection is different than ductwork for HVAC or fume extraction.  Tapered systems are typically used with dust collectors, while plenum systems are used more often for HVAC systems, and occasionally for fume extractors.
  • When choosing ductwork for industrial dust collection, you need to answer three key questions.  Industrial Ventilation, Inc. recommends asking the following three questions (and we completely agree.)  What exhaust volume is required at each dust collection point?  What particulates are being collected?  What are the conveying velocity requirements?
  • Dirty ductwork could be costing you.  Over time, debris can accumulated in the ductwork of industrial dust collection exhaust systems, decreasing their ability to perform at the optimal level.  In fact, a buildup can lead to a loss of up to 42% efficiency!  Poor performance can lead to major problems, including health problems in employees and higher running costs.
  • It’s not just the dust collector… your ductwork has to meet NFPA standards too. If your industrial duct system is being used for dust collector exhaust, it is imperative that it meet these standards.  Ensuring that your system has adequate conveying air velocity for the load it will be handling is imperative to avoiding debris buildup in ducts and reducing the risk of explosion.ComDust-Pentagon-1000
  • You don’t necessarily have to look inside ducts to identify areas of dust accumulation.  In fact, there are a number of telling visual clues you can look for, including:


    • A main duct diameter that doesn’t enlarge after branch junctions
    • A branch duct joining the main duct at a T junction
    • A main duct that is blanked off
    • A ductwork system that includes too much flexible hose
    • A smaller diameter duct abruptly joining a larger diameter one
    • A duct blast gate that isn’t locked in position


  • You don’t have to be an expert in ductwork.  Although these facts are certainly a great starting place, you don’t need to be an expert in the world of customized ductwork to get the products you need to keep your business running safely and efficiently.  Instead, you can work with the experts at Imperial Systems.  Just tell us about your business and what needs you are trying to meet; we’ll help you select or design the perfect solution for you.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about industrial ductwork, you may be wondering if your company’s ductwork is actually up to par.  Or, you may know that it’s time for an upgrade or other major change.  No matter what stage you are in, let us
Have questions about any of the facts you read today?  Let us know in the comments section below, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!  If you have specific products about how our products and services may be able to help your business, give us a call today at 800.918.3013.

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