Oil and Mist Collectors


mist collector

Industrial workplaces can be full of air pollutants, such as oil mist and fine aerosols, that can pose health and safety risks to workers, cause equipment damage, and even harm the environment.

To address these issues, it is crucial to use effective air filtration equipment like oil and mist collectors.

Oil and mist collectors are designed to remove these pollutants from the air using various filtration methods like filters, centrifugal force, and electrostatic precipitators.

Using these devices in industrial settings has numerous benefits such as improving air quality, reducing the risk of fire and explosions, protecting equipment, and ensuring regulatory compliance.

In this article, we will explore the types of oil and mist collectors, their applications, benefits, and tips for selecting the right one based on the specific pollutants generated and other factors.

what is mist collection

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Types of Mist Collectors

There are (3) acceptable methods of mist collection. Understanding how each mist collector functions will help determine which one is best for the application.

Media Based Collectors


media based mist collector

Media-based collectors consist of a physical filter material. Whether it be metal, paper, synthetic, or some other material, a physical barrier is involved. There are a variety of designs offering single-stage and multi-stage solutions to best fit your needs.

Drum, vee, and cartridge media filters are the most common. Because they are typically of simple design, they are also simple to maintain. Media-based collectors are an excellent choice for oil and coolant mist as well as light smoke.

Electrostatic Precipitators (ESP)


elctrostatic precipitators mist collection

Electrostatic Precipitators are electronic forms of mist and smoke collection. The system draws contaminated air across an arrangement of ionizers and collection plates. The ionizer section places a positive charge on anything coming across it and is then introduced to a series of negatively charged plates.

The combination acts like a dust, mist, and smoke magnet. The true benefit of this method is that it does not care about particle sizes; it will place the positive charge on anything conductive that crosses its path and collect it accordingly.

The filters used are permanent filters and are cleaned and reused. This method of maintenance is typically more labor-intensive in order to keep the system operating at a high level. Electrostatic precipitators are an excellent choice for oil-based mist and smoke.

Centrifugal Separators


Centrifugal Separators mist collector

Centrifugal separators utilize centrifugal force to separate the mist from an airstream. The contaminated air is drawn into the separator and introduced to a fast-moving blade or cage. Once the mist has coalesced, it is forced against the exterior walls of the housing and pushed to a drain point.

Initial maintenance of this system is simple and infrequent, but it does increase over time. Centrifugal separators are an excellent choice for oil-based coolant mists. This system will not capture smoke.

These three collection styles provide a variety of designs with varying levels of efficiency. It is critical to select a collector based on your application, byproduct, and loading. This criteria will dictate the style and configuration of the collector you require.

Methods of Capturing Mist

Source Capture

Anyone with any sense will tell you that source capture should always be your first choice. This allows you to capture the mist at the source before it has a chance to contaminate any other spaces.

Equipment can be attached to the unit, attached remotely, put in a hood, or plugged directly into the machine, so it can be collected where the mist came from. Source capture allows you to accomplish more with less and should be used anytime that it is feasible.

Ambient Capture

When the equipment does not allow for source capture, another solution is ambient collection. A collector would be hung in the general vicinity of mist-generating equipment. The air moving through the collector would then create a vacuum and remove the mist from the air.

Learn How Air Curtains Helped a Restaurant Increase Revenue by 25%

Why You Need a Mist Collector

A mist collector is used to save you money. It has several important tasks that result in a significant return on investment.

  • Stop mist from becoming airborne
  • Eliminate the buildup of oil, smoke and dirt on the walls, ceiling, floor
  • Increased Employee safety
  • Reduced maintenance
  • Reduced fire risk
  • Improved employee health

By removing the mist and smoke from your facility, you gain increased indoor air quality, creating a safe and healthy work environment (OSHA.gov source). You also remove the oil from the building surfaces, lowering the risk of accidents and damage to other costly equipment.

Mist collection is the epitome of “”spending a dime to get a dollar.” The benefits of a mist and smoke collector will provide you with a return on investment throughout its life.

Equipment that Generates Mist

There are many industrial machines that generate mist. Once you understand what type of machine you’re working with, how much mist it produces, and what size particles it produces, you’ll be able to determine which mist collector is best for your application.

Mist Collection for Metal Cutting Operations


Mills are typically used for drilling operations such as boring and honing. Mills use oil lubricants or water-soluble coolants that produce a mist 20 microns or less.


Lathes, turning centers, and screw machines are used in metal applications such as turning. When the manufactured part rotates, an oil- or water-soluble coolant is sprayed on it. Not only does this lubricate the part being manufactured, but it also keeps it from overheating, removes debris, and reduces defects. Turning mist is 20 microns or less.

Some turning mills run hot and produce smoke when using oil. Therefore, a smoke-rated filter is recommended.

Metal Grinding

Metal grinding mainly consists of surface, profile, centerless, and cylindrical grinding. Grinding metal generates heat and dust. Therefore water-soluble coolants keep it cool, provide lubrication and flushing the debris and dust. Metal grinding produces mist larger than 2 microns.

Heading & Stamping

Using metal to repeatedly hit another piece of metal with immense pressure results in a lot of heat, mist, and smoke. For this reason, heating and stamping metal require a mist collector and other filters. The typical size is .07 to 2 microns of oily mist and smoke.


When pouring molten metal into a die mold, a lot of steam and fumes are generated. The fumes are necessary to control. The steam creates a lubricant that is half water and half paraffin wax. This steam becomes sludge-like. Therefore, several filters are necessary for collecting mist from metal casting. The water-soluble part of wax is 2–50 microns. The metal fumes are much finer and less than 1 micron.

Mist Collection for Heat Treating

The goals of heat treating, quenching, and annealing are all reached by combining heat and cold. Water, brine, and oil are typically used to reduce the temperature of the metal parts. When cooling metal, smoke, steam, metal scale, and mist are emitted.

Several filtration systems are needed to handle solids or metal scales so that these different mists can be collected. The mist and smoke need separate filters. A mist of 0.8 to 5 microns is produced by water, brine, and oil. Smoke is .07 to 1 micron. The metal scale and fumes are .5 to 2 microns.

Drawing Operations

Drawing operations produce heat and typically use water-soluble, soap-based, wax-based, or straight oil. The water-based lubricant generates mist. The mist collectors require a decent holding capacity for solids.

Prefilters are recommended to remove the soaps and wax, which reduce the life cycle of the primary filter. The water-soluble mist is 1 to 20 microns. Oil is .5 to 2 microns and smoke is .07 to 1 micron.

Part Washing

Washing parts requires steam, water mist, and water vapor to remove lubricants, oils, and greases. a significant amount of water vapor and steam. Vapors can’t be filtered by mist collectors, so you’ll need a separate filter and media to collect them.

There are some applications of part washing that use a rust inhibitor to prevent rust. These applications require a filter with depth-loading features. Not having one will reduce the life of the filter. The water mist produced by the vapor, steam, and droplets has a diameter of up to 10 microns. The rust inhibitors emit 1–5 microns.

Contact a Pro to help you find the best mist collector for your application

Let us help you choose the best one for the application. Contact us now for a fast quote or any information regarding oil & mist collectors.

Mist Collector Installation Options

Machine-Mounted Systems

A machine-mounted mist collector is the most common type of installation. The mist collector is installed right on the machine that is generating the mist.

Ducted Single Machine Center

The mist collector can be mounted on the floor, mounted on to another object such as a wall or beam, or hung from the ceiling.

Ducted Group Systems

Ducted group systems are a practical mist collection solution if there are several machines in a group or cell. A larger collector can service multiple machines utilizing the same type of coolant.

Ambient Mist Filtration System

When a plant, factory, warehouse, or any type of facility produces mist that cannot be directly collected, an ambient mist filtration system is used. To further purify the indoor air quality, they are frequently used in conjunction with another mist filtration system. They are a viable option when trying to meet federal, state, or union air quality standards.

Mist Collector Installation Methods

When choosing a mist collector that best suits your needs, you should evaluate all factors to determine which system and technology to use.

Indoors vs Outdoors

Typically, mist collectors are installed indoors. However, if you intend to install it outside, you should consider the following factors:

  • Does the temperature outside ever drop below 32 degrees? If so, how often and when?
  • Are you located in a residential area?
  • Do you have a skilled maintenance worker on hand to care for the mist collector in case of weather damaging the electrical connections, seems, seals, pressure taps, etc?

Mist Collection Hooding Designs

There are some mist-collectors that require a hood. In order to properly filter the mist, the hood’s design is important and depends on the application.

Hood Sizes

The hood size of the mist collector requires calculations by a skilled professional in order to collect as much mist as possible in an efficient manner.

Mist Collector Media Filters

Synthetic Filers

Polyester is a common material used in media-based mist collection. Polyester provides the most bang for the buck. Providing a moderate collection efficiency rate, a high loading capacity, and good drainage properties at a very reasonable cost

Another commonly used material in media-based mist collection is fiberglass. Providing a high collection efficiency rate, a moderate loading capacity, and moderate drainage properties at a very reasonable cost.

An upgraded synthetic media-based filter option is a combination of polyester and fiberglass. This combination offers the best of both worlds, with high collection efficiency rates, high loading capacities, and excellent drainage. These filters carry a higher cost than the options, but are well worth the investment.

HEPA & DOP Filters

A HEPA filter is commonly used as the final filter. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particle Air, and it is 99.97% efficient at 0.3 micron particle size (EPA Source).

A 95% DOP filter is also used as a final filter. DOP stands for dioctyl phthalate. It is 95% efficient @ 0.3 microns. Larger particles can be more than 99% effective.

Both of these filters are extremely efficient and are the industry standard for meeting federal, state, local, corporate, and union air standards. You can check out our complete line of filters here.

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Providing Mist Collectors to the Following Industries

Providing Oil Collectors to the Greater Chicago area & Ship Nationwide

R. Williamson & Associates can provide you with fast quotes on the correct mist collector for your application.

We are official representative covering Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan and Indiana.

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.

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