MiniPak: Portable Dust Suppression System

Bulk material handling by nature releases dust and makes it airborne. As tons of product are transferred at a facility each day, dust can come from many sources, from the load zone to haul roads to rail dumps. Bulk material handlers contending with fugitive dust may require a solution that is as versatile as it is effective. Recognizing that need, the engineers at Benetech have created the MiniPak Portable Dust Suppression System.

Without proper bulk material dust control, gathering dust develops into multiple hazards that affect personal safety, production, equipment, housekeeping and maintenance, and even community relations. Regulatory standards also continue to tighten, making compliance an increasing concern for operators.

What Are Health & Safety Issues with Fugitive Dust?

Dust is a general term for a finely powdered matter typically smaller than 500 microns (µm). It can contain many materials such as ash, soil, soot, salts, spores, and pollen. Depending on the location, activity, and material, some dust might include bacteria, fungi, pesticides, heavy metals, or chemical residue.

Bulk material handling produces dust particles of different sizes. Larger, heavier particles (typically bigger than 10 µm) will often settle on the ground. Smaller, lighter particles (smaller than 10 µm) might remain suspended in the air indefinitely.

The larger particles are classified as inhalable dust. Inhalable dust can become trapped in the nose, throat, or upper respiratory tract when breathed.

The smaller particles are classified as respirable dust, too small to see with the human eye. Respirable dust also is tiny enough to bypass the body’s built-in cleaning mechanisms such as cilia and mucous membranes. This allows it to travel far into the lungs, where it can stay and gather.

Short-term exposure to inhalable and respirable dust can lead to health concerns and allergic reactions. In addition, if not properly controlled, airborne dust can drift farther into the facility, creating other hazards such as decreasing visibility and the risk of combustion.

Proper dust management only grows as a primary business objective when an operator further considers the impact of dust on equipment performance, extra maintenance, and lost material.

What Is Dust Suppression & How Does It Work?

Traditional approaches to reducing airborne dust have included spraying techniques such as using hoses or sprinklers to capture and weight particles before they can become fugitive. However, while being a remedy, water creates other issues such as surface saturation and runoff and extra labor hours for the applications.

A more significant concern with water for bulk material dust control is the effectiveness of its droplets. Standard water droplets are typically too hard, heavy, and large to achieve a lasting effect on fugitive dust. In addition, water droplets remain in the air for only a short time, and their high surface tension makes them inefficient in trapping particles.

Water’s large droplets also create a slipstream air current while moving. Because of this, the dust particle will tend to follow the airstream around the droplet. This prevents contact between water droplets and smaller dust particles, which cannot be suppressed.

A properly engineered dust suppression system engages airborne particles with the properties that will most effectively capture and control them.

One form of dust suppression is dust abatement with a fine mist of atomized water at a high velocity over a broad coverage area. Because atomized droplets are tiny and light, they can remain airborne longer while providing a larger surface with a lower tension for the dust to bind to.

In some cases, atomized water may not resolve a dust problem because many materials are hydrophobic, meaning they oppose water and try to repel it from the surface. For effective dust control, water droplets need a size and surface tension closer to the material being treated.

Dust Suppression Methods

Dust suppression can typically be categorized as chemical, biological, and mechanical methods. The dust particle size will determine the methodology chosen.

For example, smaller particles are harder to suppress; they will often require a dust suppression chemical with a specific acting purpose. Chemical dust suppressants might include foams, surfactants, and waterborne polymers. When combined with water, the chemicals form a microscopic liquid film to increase the dust bond to the material’s surface and further prevent its escape.

As the dust control chemical clings to the particles, they increase in weight and size, causing them to drop or fall from the air. Chemical dust suppression can also help prevent ground-level dust from becoming airborne.

Biological methods use microbes such as bacteria and their enzymes to induce calcite precipitation with calcite matrices that promote the aggregation of dust particles.

A mechanical dust suppression system involves approaches such as misting, cyclones, fog cannons, and baghouses.

Whether chemical, biological, or mechanical, the chosen form of dust suppression is applied at both interior and exterior locations throughout a facility, such as:

  • stockpiles
  • transloading hoppers
  • crushers
  • haul roads
  • stackouts
  • feeders
  • transfer points
  • rail & truck dumps
  • reclaimers
  • pugmills
  • ship-loaders
  • warehouses

Because dust is universal among bulk materials, dust suppression systems become vital operational assets for wide-ranging industries:

  • aggregates
  • cement & concrete
  • grain
  • ports & terminals
  • refineries
  • glass
  • biomass power plants
  • mines & quarries
  • fertilizer
  • pulp & paper mills
  • steel mills & coking facilities
  • surface & underground mining
  • coal-fired power plants
  • pet coke power plants
  • sawmills & planning mills

The Benetech MiniPak: Powerful, Portable Dust Suppression

Bulk material handlers contending with fugitive dust may require a solution that is as versatile as it is effective. Recognizing that need, the engineers at Benetech have created the MiniPak Portable Dust Suppression System.

Unlike a dust suppression system that you install, the precisely engineered MiniPak system is a portable, self-contained enclosure with no electricity needed that just one person can manually operate.

The system allows personnel to apply Benetech’s non-flammable, non-toxic, non-explosive, and biodegradable chemical agents wherever dust suppression is needed at the facility, whether in the load zone or by a haul road. This versatility provides a strategic advantage by requiring less equipment at fewer application points for dust suppression.

The MiniPak Portable Dust Suppression System is yet another way Benetech supports you in your efforts to reduce and even eliminate airborne dust at your facility.


Benetech: Your Ally in Bulk Material Handling

While you remain dedicated to staying productive, safe, and compliant, we stay devoted to the solutions we know you need for your goals. We know because we watch, study, and listen to what impacts your industry each day. If you would ever like to discuss Benetech dust suppression or a total dust management system for your operation, contact us at (630) 844-1300 to speak with a specialist.

Posted in Dust Control, and Fugitive Dust Emissions