How to stop a small enemy from harming your production
Tiny and innocently it dances in the air. So small that usually we aren’t aware that it is everywhere around us. We are talking about dust, a by-product of life and sometimes so fine it is not visible to the naked eye.
Because it is nearly invisible, most of us don’t see much harm in it. Sure, we take our measures when it accumulates and gets visible. But dust is far more dangerous when it roams around freely or settles itself unnoticed, after which it begins a destroying mission.
In this article, we will focus on:
- Risks and consequences of dust in production environments
- When dust becomes a problem
- Which measures are available to reduce the effects of dust?
- Effective ways to eliminate dust
- Dust elimination solutions: a checklist
- How to test if a solution works
- Rewards of dust elimination in production environments
Did you know that dust and micro-particles are accountable for high costs in global industries and health care*? During the production of everyday products like glass, paper, packaging board or printed materials, dust results in:
- Health problems caused by inhaling dust and micro-particles.
- Poor product quality.
- Not complying with quality and safety requirements, for instance, OSHA, FDA or EHS.
- Waste in the shape of rejected materials.
- Abrasive wear of machinery by small particles (often harder than steel).
- Machine downtime for cleaning purposes.
Do you still feel the same about that innocent-looking dust particle caught in a ray of sunlight?
Or do you worry that dust is already eating at your production, brand image, and health?
Dust is a normal part of everyday life and industry life as well. But some production processes generate more dust than others. This can be due to the substrate being produced or converted, or to the production process itself.
For instance, paper contains lots of fibers and discharges a great deal of dust and trim during transformation to final product. Meanwhile, static electricity generated by movement of the substrate attracts these particles like a magnet. (Read more on the effects of dust in paper production.)
As a result, dust and particles cling to the final product. And this leads to the problems mentioned earlier, like poor printing quality, complaining customers, and health problems.
Companies that are aware of dust issues use detection and quality control systems. This enables them to remove inferior products, an effective way to prevent quality complaints.
However, detection doesn’t clear the air, so dust keeps whirling around, harming material, machinery, and health.
Methods to remove dust are cleaning through brushes or sticky rollers, so-called contact web cleaners. If applied in the right spot, they are very effective to prevent inclusions of dust and particles. Yet, this method isn’t applicable in every situation. Fragile materials, for example, tissue, will be easily damaged by it.
Another issue can be the requirement of consumables. Furthermore, contact web cleaning doesn’t remove dust from the production environment. Therefore, it will not solve dust issues that account for machine wear and health problems.
It is clear that detection and inspection alone won’t solve dust problems. Nor is only removing the dust that already clings to the surface of your product in the final stages of production.
But of course, this article is not meant to give you nightmares about giant dust particles attacking you and then leaving you in despair. Effective solutions are available. Let’s first discuss what the right solution is and what is definitely not.
An effective dust elimination method isn’t just about profitable production. Along with superior cleaning capabilities, it contributes to a safe and healthy working environment, prevents waste and wear. However, dust elimination methods that trade dust and contamination for new problems are not what you need!
To help you decide between the available methods to eliminate dust in production environments, we assembled a checklist of quality demands.
On the one hand, the ideal dust elimination solution needs to:
- Safeguard clean and healthy working conditions
- Protect your machinery against premature wear
- Prevent waste in the shape of rejected products
- Help you produce clean and safe materials used in daily life
- Minimize the need for costly or harmful chemical cleaning agents
On the other hand, it is just as important that the cleaning method you choose does not cause any new health and environmental problems. So, consider the following qualities before deciding on a dust removal solution:
- The substrate to be cleaned:
Is the cleaning method effective for the substrate, the converting process, and the web width? Will it not damage the surface or disrupt web tension?
- Energy consumption:
What is the annual energy consumption of the dust elimination method?
- Noise levels:
Does the noise level of the cleaning method fall within the legal standards of labor laws? By minimizing noise exposure, you prevent stress, hearing loss, or tinnitus, with all its consequences.
Does the web cleaning system prevent recontamination (the return of extracted dust to your production environment)?
- Spare parts/consumables/service:
What are the annual costs for maintenance, spare parts and consumables of a dust elimination system? Can you avoid waste and costs from hard-to-recycle consumables?
- Ease of use:
How much maintenance does the cleaning system require? Prevent a web cleaning method from causing extra production stops and unnecessary strain on your employees.
If you are looking for an effective solution to dust problems, one of the most critical questions is: what do the results show?
Measuring the removed dust and pollution is often easy. In some production environments, particle counters or sensors detect contamination.
In these cases, the absence of warnings proves that the cleaning method works. But even without detection equipment or sensors, it is possible to check the cleaning results. Clear indicators are:
- Improved print quality.
- Extension of wash-up distances.
- The volume of dust collected in the filter (See this report.)
To get the most out of your investment, it is essential to check whether a web cleaning method will bring you the desired results. We will be happy to help you with that. Please also make sure to read the experiences with a recent dust elimination solution in a large paper board/solid board production facility.
To comply with modern production and printing techniques’ strict requirements, we have developed the HE web cleaning range. Based on almost 40 years of experience in developing web cleaning solutions and static elimination, it meets all our checklist requirements.
By applying the gained insights and the latest technologies, the HE-web cleaning range effectively removes dust from your production environment. The result is that you can produce clean, beautiful, and safe products that are ready for printing, packaging or further processing.
Learn more about what makes the HE dust removal range so efficient. To discover the benefits of dust removal for your specific production or substrate, look up your application.
In conclusion, deciding on the cleaning method that is right for your production asks for careful preparation. But all of it will be worthwhile because a thorough solution that eliminates dust before it hurts saves you tons of time and money!
If you have questions or want to discuss your production process or thoughts, feel free to contact us, we love to hear from you.