The Truth About Dust

Dust is more than just a dirty word when it comes to pulp and paper processing. It’s an unsafe, downright dangerous word for the belt conveyor operators and maintenance teams working in it and working to clean it. Flexco understands that “dust happens” at the transfer points and load zone areas of pulp and paper mills, and we want you to know just because it happens does not mean it NEEDS to happen.

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The Miniscule Enemy

Throughout the conveyor line, you have the possibility for wood fines and fugitive materials to escape, but nowhere is it more common than when it is agitated in your transfers and deposited in your load zone. These fines blow out where load zones are not effectively sealed and stick to the belt before falling off and creating a sort of carryback dust. Chevron/cleated belts, while helpful to bring material up inclines, also make for a tough seal with the skirting at the load zone.

The Problems It Causes

No pulp and paper mill is safe from dust. And in some cases, operations are perfectly fine with letting it lay around and build up, but pulp and paper is different. You can’t let dust build up on surfaces or float into the air because it is a significant explosion hazard. Because of the materials you work with, dust can be the tip of a matchstick, waiting to ignite into flames. Losing entire buildings because of a housekeeping problem would be devastating, but imagine the lives that could be lost too.

Because of this, you need to devote manpower to not only cleaning the dust because of the explosion risks, but also because of slip and fall risks on your walkways, and because of respirable dust that your workers could be breathing into their lungs.

Finally, the dust generated at the transfers and load zones that sticks to the belt can also get into your idler bearings, causing premature equipment replacement, and in the worst case scenario, a catastrophic belt failure because a seized roller has worn into a “razor” and sliced right through it.

If that video looks awfully familiar, Flexco can help. Fill out the form below and one of our Territory Managers will come out to assess your dust and help you find the right solution.

FREE CONVEYOR ASSESSMENT

It Doesn’t Have to Be This Way

What if you could better protect your workers, decrease maintenance time, and increase productivity at your plant? You can, Dust doesn’t have to be a reality at your pulp and paper operation. Flexco has the solutions to your dust containment problems!

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Flexco Enclosed Skirt Systems are highly effective at containing dust in areas throughout the wood yard where transfers agitate material. Internal dust curtains control air flow throughout the system to keep dust levels low and help settle airborne material. Standard skirting assemblies with adjustable mounting arrangements provide universal mounting and easy installation, meaning these systems can be fitted to conveyors without complicated measuring and engineering.

 

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Spillage and dust aren’t just a nuisance in the pulp and paper industry, they’re a fire and health hazard. Use Flex-Seal™ Skirting at any transfer throughout the wood yard where the load zone needs to be fully sealed to prevent chips, bark, and dust from escaping. It is especially effective at containing fugitive wood dust when paired with a Flexco slider bed. The Flex-Seal Skirting System creates a parallel seal with the belt to minimize the escape of material in your pulp or paper operation.

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Standard Urethane Skirting offers a more wear-resistant material than typical rubber, often providing as much as 3-4 times the wear life in similar applications. The lower coefficient of friction reduces strain on the system. Suitable for most applications: single direction or reversing belts, wet or dry conditions, old or new belts, vulcanized or mechanically-spliced systems, soft durometer (65A) urethane offers exceptional tear resistance to ensure a good seal and long belt life.

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