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INDUSTRY HAZARD: COMBUSTIBLE DUST

Tracy Beach, Plant Manager
Standard Tools and Equipment Co.

Tools USA Dust CollectorsCombustible dust was to blame for 348 explosions, 793 injuries, and 133 deaths from 1980 to 2008. It is a terrifying hazard that goes overlooked in many facilities because it is not fully understood. Are you taking all the precautions necessary to ensure that your shop, and your employees, are safe?

“Dust becomes fuel for fires and explosions when it builds to hazardous levels,” noted Standard Tools and Equipment’s plant manager, Tracy Beach. “Sources such as sugar, flour, feed, plastics, wood, rubber, furniture, textiles, pesticides, pharmaceuticals, dyes, coal, and metals can form combustible dust.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) show some of the materials that may become explosive when divided into small enough particles here (PDF).

There is a directive intended to reduce the occurrence of explosions and fire due to combustible dust. OSHA has launched the Combustible Dust National Emphasis Program (or Combustible Dust NEP) to administer safety requirements and fines where there currently is no code. Immediate action is to identify findings and impose fines on companies that have combustible dust that is not being managed or not managed adequately. The long-term action is to develop a suitable requirement.  Click here to read more information about Dust NEP.

Standard Tools and Equipment provides cyclone dust collectors, cartridge filter systems and spray booths designed specifically for powder coating.  These items are designed to meet, or exceed, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and OSHA requirements.

Our suggestion is for your safety team to review the processes for handling or creating combustible dust and to call us at 1-800-451-2425 if you find that combustible dust is a concern for you.

If you have combustible dust, you will need processes and equipment to handle it.  Please do not wait until after a catastrophe or visit from your OSHA inspector.  Dust is an item that is much less expensive to handle before any such event occurs.

Going “GREEN” – Our History and Getting Started in Your Shop

Have you every built a deck, a table or a fence only to find out that you wasted 30, 40, or even 50% of the material purchased due to poor planning and design?

Standard Tools and Equipment Co. has been making collision repair equipment, spray booths and dust collectors since 1979. We have refined our processes and equipment to result in a waste level of only 7%.  Scrap steel is sent back to the mill to be processed into new steel; scrap wood is ground up by a recycler for use in chipboard products; and hazardous wastes are processed by federal government-approved waste handlers.
Continue reading Going “GREEN” – Our History and Getting Started in Your Shop

Autobody Equipment Financing

Tools USA now offers financing on a paint booth, frame machine or multi item purchases!  To take advantage of our new program, please call 800-451-2425.

To be approved for the financing, qualified customers must meet the following criteria:  1. located in EST zone, 2. acceptable credit, 3. agree to ACH monthly drafts,  4. minimum of 40% down payment, and 5. must finance $3000 which would require an order of $5000.

Financing rates will be between 10-14% with 24, 36, and 48 month lease options with a $1 buy-out.

Customer Feedback

In response to new materials, processes and requirements, Standard Tools & Equipment is constantly working on new products including: spray booths, frame machines, dust collectors, and all types of accessories.  We are a lean, direct supplier with the ability to respond quickly to new demands and we always welcome any type of input from our product users.

At Standard Tools & Equipment our business is based on fulfilling the needs of our customers.  Our customers work hands-on in the world of collision repair, painting, powder coating, and other industries.  They are some of the most creative and knowledgeable people in their fields.  Everyday they experience new materials, processes, and challenges.

If you are in need of a special product or have any suggestions, please contact our sales or engineering staff.  Standard Tools & Equipment greatly appreciates your input and we look forward to exceeding your expectations.

Standard Tools & Equipment
800.451.2425

Dust Collection Safety

A recent posting by the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) stated that the 2006 Combustible Dust Hazard Safety publication reported 281 major dust explosions with a total of 119 deaths and 718 injuries from 1980 to 2003.  These incidents were due to the combustion of accumulated dust, unsafe dust mixtures, and other similar causes.  Following this report there have been at least two explosions involving casualties.  One explosion occurred at the Imperial Sugar refinery in Port Wentworth, Georgia, and another at a plastic molding plant in Kinston, North Carolina.  To help prevent such industrial disasters, the NFPA is currently revising their combustible dust safety standards including NFPA-654 and NFPA-664.  The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that combustibility information on all dusts encountered in a workplace be accessible to employees.

It is the employer’s responsibility to determine and apply the best methods to ensure safety in the workplace.  These methods should include informing employees of the different types of dust materials present and how they are controlled.  Standard Tools & Equipment provides products to aid in the management of powder coating, sanding/prepping, and woodworking.  Our spray booths can be used for collecting sanding/prepping wastes and powder coat overspray.  We also manufacture cyclone dust collectors that can be used to control dust, chips, and shavings created in woodworking operations.  The cyclone dust collectors are best suited for small-to-medium shops, or for a limited number of machines in a larger shop.  Using small collectors in a large shop reduces noise and energy consumption, as well as allowing more flexibility in shop layout.

For more information regarding combustible dust and workplace requirements contact OSHA.
Please contact Standard Tools & Equipment Co. at 1-800-451-2425 for pricing or product information.

How do I choose a Dust Collector?

There are many types of dust collectors.  This entry addresses a ducted dust collector that would have fixed pick-up points in a woodworking shop.  There are two types of dust collectors used in this application: single-stage and two-stage or cyclone dust collections.

Single-stage dust collectors draw the chip/dust/shavings from the pick-up points and separate all of these particles from the air by using a single filter, usually a sock-type felt, cloth or paper filter.  These collectors are best for very small shops or for a single machine when efficiency and noise are not a consideration.  These units are typically less expensive and less effective than the two-stage cyclones.  You get what you pay for.

A two-stage or cyclonic collector draws the dust/chip/shaving laden air through the collector body where a twisting or cyclone action is imparted on the air.  This feeds into a drum and the larger shavings and chips are separated from the air by centripetal force.  The finer dust is carried with the exhaust air to sock-type felt, cloth or paper filters.  This system is much more effective as the majority of the dust/chips/shavings is collected in the drum and does not build up of the secondary filter.

The collector is part of a complete system that includes pick-up points at the machinery, ducting, gates and the collector.  The collector is the heart of the system, but a system must be correctly designed to provide enough air velocity to pick up and carry the dust to the collector.  Wood dust/chips/shavings require 4500 linear feet per minute (LFM) to be carried to the collector.  Collectors are measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM).  The translation of LFM to CFM requires complete information including:

–          the number of machines to be connected

–          the size of each pick-up (usually in the machinery manuals)

–          the location of each pick-up

–          the type of dust/chips/shavings being picked up

–          the amount of usage for each pick-up (in hours or percentage)

Tools USA can help design the complete system.  Duct manufacturers like NordFab can also perform this task.  Systems that demand over 5000 cfm are required to meet a higher level of codes and often integrate fire detection/suppression.  Tools USA recommends breaking a larger system into smaller systems of less than 5000 cfm in most cases.  There are significant savings in installation, power and maintenance costs by dividing these larger systems.

Please contact Kelly at Tools USA to help select and design your dust collection system.  This will go quicker if you have machine details (duct diameters, cfms recommended) and a general layout drawing of your shop.  Our collectors are designed to be located inside your building for ease for emptying and maintenance.

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