A systems approach to dust collection - Catching what escapes

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A systems approach to dust collection
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Penn State offers three cyclones in its Tempest 'S' series, all designed to fit under 8' ceilings. Available in 2-1/2, 3-1/2 and 5 hp models, they range in price from $845 to $1,295. Penn State also offers new 2,500 CFM ambient air cleaners with a wraparound filter, as well as numerous accessories for controlling dust, such as lathe adaptors and table saw hoods.

At JDS Tools, owner John McConnegly said the company recently redesigned its 2- and 3-hp Cyclone dust collectors with more features and more performance in effort to keep products up to date, and that sales have been steadily increasing with the current product line.

The JDS 3-hp Cyclone stands only 86" tall. It features a "Turbo-Fan" impeller design that provides 2,300 CFM of maximum airflow and a one micron efficient canister to ensure that fine dust doesn't get back into the shop. The self-cleaning canister filter is equipped with its own motor that automatically turns on when the cyclone is turned off. The quick-connect steel collection drum is on wheels and makes disposing of collected waste faster and easier.

Catching what escapes
But to do a complete job of cleaning the work environment, you need to eliminate the fine dust that escapes collection, says McConnegly. And that's where air filtration comes in. JDS offers Air-Tech systems featuring a slide-in, slide-out filter changing system.

"The dust collection is source capture," says McConnegly. "You want to capture it at its source where it's being produced. And no matter how good any dust collection system is, the machines that we're collecting from don't lend themselves to perfect dust collection. So fine dust still becomes airborne, and the second prong is the air filtration."

Powermatic's Barry Schwaiger touts the company's PM1200 Air Filtration System, stating it traps up to 99 percent of all 5-micron particles and 85 percent of all 1-micron particles. The unit can be operated with a remote transmitter that uses radio frequency, eliminating the need for line-of-sight operation. It has a timer allowing for continuous operation for up to nine hours, then will automatically shut off. Three blower speeds modify air flow.

Schwaiger said that, in general, people believe the premise that small means good in regards to micron numbers on dust collection systems. But he warns buyers to look out for marketing stunts that indicate low micron emission, as air filtration units are the only units that truly rinse the air of the most harmful particle sizes.

"The size of the particle that presents the most health-hazard to your body is actually in the .3 to 5 micron range. If it's below .3 microns, it actually goes in and out of your lungs like a gas. But the .3 to 5 are what the experts say get lodged in your lungs, and you generally can't see them."

Enviro Technologies makes two ceiling-mounted air filters: model SK1500, capable of cleaning 25,000 cu. ft., and model SK3000, rated for cleaning up 60,000 cu. ft., according to the company. Enviro also offers the GB300 for basement or garage shops.