Dust Collectors - What's the Difference?

Founder-Richard-Williamson-Sr
Scott Williamson
Founder

There seems to be a million different applications requiring dust collection. Some as small as a jewelry polishing operation, as large as a full scale mining operation and everything in between.

So which one should you choose?

We are here to help guide you through the process to make your life a bit easier.

To start, you need to know what you are collecting.

Now that you know what you are collecting, you need to know what your collection options are.

There are 6 basic types of dust collectors:

Cyclones:

Cyclones are centrifugal collectors that use cyclonic action to remove dust particulate from an air stream. They are often used as a pre-filter to a baghouse or cartridge collector to provide longevity to the media filters. They are also used as maintenance free stand-alone collectors due to the lack of mechanical parts.

Cyclones are by far the most versatile collection system available due to their lack of mechanical parts. Dirty air is introduced through a scroll at the top of the cylinder and the air is then spun rapidly. 

The centrifugal force created by the circular flow pushes the dust particles toward the wall of the cyclone. After striking the wall, these particles fall into a receptacle located beneath.

There are several styles of cyclones offering a variety of cleaning efficiencies ranging from 50% to 99.9+%. In addition, cyclones are suitable for wet, dry, high temperature and abrasive applications.

Cyclones are centrifugal collectors that use cyclonic action to remove dust particulate from an air stream.

Typical Cyclone Applications:

Pros: This is by far the most versatile and longest lasting collector on the planet.

Cons: Cyclones are big and require a lot of real estate and headroom.

Contact us now for a free quote

We’ll be happy to help explain which model and make is best for your application.  

Baghouses:

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Baghouses are a media based collector comprised of several vertical filter tubes mounted in a bank within a housing. They are typically called a baghouse, but also known as a bag filter, fabric filter or after-filter. They can be used as stand-alone filtration system or with a cyclone as an after-filter. The arrangement would be dependent on the application.

Baghouses are available with (2) types of cleanings systems, a pulse style, which uses compressed air to perform on-line cleaning, or shaker style, which utilizes a rotating rack system to provide off-line cleaning. 

Either style of baghouse is typically 99.9+% efficient on dust with a particulate size of 0.5 microns or more.

A pulse style baghouse is best suited for dry dust that is easily released from the filters. They can also be used in high temperature applications. The cleaning system uses a pulse of compressed air within each filter tube to back flush the filters. This style of cleaning can be performed while your operation is running.

Shaker style baghouses are best suited for dry, hygroscopic or oily dusts and uses a more aggressive cleaning system. 

This style of cleaning system must be performed when the system is down to offer the best release.

Both do a do a great job of collecting dust. Due to the filter layout, baghouses often carry the largest footprint and height of all dust collector options.

Baghouses are a media based collector comprised of several vertical filter tubes mounted in a bank within a housing.

Common Baghouse Applications:

Pros: A highly efficient collector with automatic on-line or off-line cleaning

Cons: Baghouses are big and require a lot of real estate. Pulse collectors also have diaphragm valves and solenoids that require annual inspections and/or maintenance.

Contact us now for a free quote

We’ll be happy to help explain which model and make is best for your application.  

Cartridge Collectors:

Cartridge dust collectors are the evolution of the baghouse collector. In lieu of long fabric filter tubes, a cartridge collector uses a pleated cartridge providing a large amount of filter area in a much smaller package. 

This system is provided with a on-line, pulse style using compressed air cleaning system to back flush the filter cartridges.

In most cases the cartridges clean to a level of 99.9+% on dust with a particulate size of 0.5 microns or more.

A cartridge dust collector is best suited for dry dusts with light to moderate loading. They can be mounted in different configurations and some are even modular, offering future expansion and faster shipment.

Regardless of the configuration, these collectors are carry a significantly smaller footprint and height than comparable baghouses making them easier to locate and maintain. Routine maintenance times are significantly reduced due to the accessibility of the filters.

Compared to other collector options, the housing is much smaller requiring less labor and materials making for a less expensive collector.

Cartridge dust collectors are the evolution of the baghouse collector. In lieu of long fabric filter tubes, a cartridge collector uses a pleated cartridge providing a large amount of filter area in a much smaller package

Common Cartridge Collector Applications:

Pros: A highly efficient collector with automatic on-line cleaning with a small footprint

Cons: Limited in the materials that can be collected. Does not work with wet, sticky or oily materials. Pulse collectors also have diaphragm valves and solenoids that require annual inspections and/or maintenance.

Wet Collectors & Scrubbers:

Wet dust collectors, also known as wet scrubber systems are often used where there are concerns of fire and/or explosion. While they are typically provided for these applications, they can also be used in many other applications as well, including sticky materials.

By introducing a deluge of water to a dirty airstream, contaminant is extinguished, saturated and made heavier creating what is commonly referred to as “sludge”. Immediately beyond the water deluge is a separator using centrifugal force, or baffled channels, to separate the clean air from the sludge.  

The clean air continues on through the system while the sludge drops out to a filter bed where it is drained leaving a disposable byproduct. The contaminated water is then recirculated to the initial stage to continue the process or drained to a waste water treatment system.

Systems can be supplied with fresh water discharging to a water treatment system or provided with a recirculation water system that has a steady but minimal flow of fresh water.  

Wet collection cleaning efficiencies vary widely based on the style, airflow and water flow rate but can be as high as 99.9+%. In most cases the cartridges clean to a level of 99.9+% on dust with a particulate size of 0.5 microns or more.

A cartridge dust collector is best suited for dry dusts with light to moderate loading. They can be mounted in different configurations and some are even modular, offering future expansion and faster shipment.

Regardless of the configuration, these collectors are carry a significantly smaller footprint and height than comparable baghouses making them easier to locate and maintain. Routine maintenance times are significantly reduced due to the accessibility of the filters.

Compared to other collector options, the housing is much smaller requiring less labor and materials making for a less expensive collector.

Wet dust collectors, also known as wet scrubber systems are often used where there are concerns of fire and/or explosion.

Common Wet Dust Collector Applications:

Pros: A highly efficient collector few moving parts. Great for explosive & sticky materials.

Cons: Maintenance. When the collector is not operating sludge tends to dry out and cake within the collector requiring cleaning. Valves must be exercised.

Contact us now for a free quote

We’ll be happy to help explain which model and make is best for your application.  

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Electrostatic Precipitators:

Electrostatic Precipitators, also known as electronic filters, use positive and negative charges to collect material creating a virtual dust magnet. Dust is drawn through a ionizing section where it is introduced to an ionizing section and receives a positive charge.

Immediately beyond the ionizing section is a system of positive and negatively charged plates. The positive plates repel the positively charged particles while the negative plates attract them. The dust is then attached to the negative plates like a magnet.

The greatest benefit to this system is that it does not care what moves through it, big or small, whatever the material it will receive a positive charge and collect to negative plates. These units work incredibly well with smoke and oil.

Automatic cleaning systems are available for larger scale systems. Electrostatic Precipitator cleaning efficiencies vary widely based on the depth of the collection plates but can be as high as 99%. 

Electrostatic Precipitators, also known as electronic filters, use positive and negative charges to collect material creating a virtual dust magnet.

Common Electrostatic Precipitator Applications:

Pros: Great for smoke and oil mist applications. Maintains a constant cleaning efficiency.

Cons: Limited to light loading. Maintenance, collection cells

Conclusion

Each of these options has a variety of sizes, configurations and efficiency levels. Just like cars, you can buy the base model that will get you there, or pile on the upgrades to get you there in style.

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Once you have decided on the appropriate air curtains, R. Williamson & Associates can provide you with pricing for air curtains. We specialize in ones that fit a variety of business needs. We are also the official representative of Berner International covering Illinois, Wisconsin, & Indiana such as, but not limited to:

We can also send out a trained specialist to assess the area and make certain the proper unit is being used for your specific application. We run tests on-site to see how cost effective each model will be to assure maximum efficiency.