Wood Working and Pollution Control Engineering

BCE has extensive experience designing, supplying and installing solutions for wood dust applications.  Wood dust is known to produce significant health problems when inhaled.  Having an effective dust collection system is a must for anyone working with wood, from small do-it-your-selfers to large shops.

BCE understands that many small operators find a cyclone adequate to remove fugitive wood dust from the workplace.  For larger operations with multiple pick-up points, a baghouse or cartridge filter may be needed.

Different woodworking operations produce different types of dust and the collector must be designed accordingly.  Saw dust from table saws are handled easily in a baghouse and can usually be operated at moderate-to-high air-to-cloth ratios.  On the other hand, planers and lathes produce long, curly strings or shavings, which can bridge between bags.  For this type of material, extra-wide bag spacing is needed to prevent this bridging.  In addition a rotary airlock needs to be large enough to handle this very low bulk density material. Inlets in the dusty air plenum are also typically indicated to allow this light material to settle in the collector hopper.

Wood dust is a potential fire and explosion hazard.  If a fire hazard exists, a sprinkler system for the collector would be indicated.  NFPA-664 (Standard for the Prevention of Fires and Explosions in Wood Processing and Woodworking Facilities) lists the following locations:*
Dust collectors shall be located in accordance with one of the following:

(1) Outside of buildings
(2) Indoors when deemed to have no fire or deflagration hazard
(3) Indoors for dust collectors with only a fire hazard when protected in accordance with this standard
(4) Indoors when equipped with listed deflagration suppression system
(5) Indoors when equipped with deflagration relief vents with relief pipes extending to safe areas outside the building and the collector meets the strength requirement of this standard
(6) Indoors when equipped with deflagration relief vents exhausting through listed flame-quenching devices and the collector meets the strength requirement of this standard

It first needs to be determined whether the dust presents a fire or explosion hazard.  If not, there is no restriction in where the unit may be located.  If there is an explosion (deflagration) hazard, the unit may be located indoors only when subsections 4, 5 or 6 above are met.  In case of a fire hazard, Section 9 of the Standard provides rules for sprinkler and fire detection systems.