Pallet Loading Dust Control System
Description:The Bureau of Mines has developed a pallet loading dust control system designed to lower the dust exposure of workers during the bag stacking process at mineral processing facilities. The system makes bag stacking much easier because the pallet height remains constant throughout the entire bag stacking cycle through the use of a hydraulic lift table. The system uses a push-pull ventilation technique to capture the dust generated during bag stacking. A low-volume, high-velocity blower system operating at approximately 150 cfm blows a stream of air over the top layer of bags on the pallet. The blower system is composed of two 3-in air jets (approximately 1,200-ftjmin velocity) directed toward an exhaust system on the opposite side of the pallet. As these air jets travel across the pallet, they entrain the dust generated during bag stacking. The exhaust ventilation system pulls approximately 2,500 cfm of air and dust through the exhaust hood. This exhaust air can then be dumped into a baghouse ventilation system, or filtered before being discharged outside the mill. During a laboratory evaluation, a 70-pct dust reduction was recorded for the bag stacker. The system was then evaluated in an actual working environment. The first field evaluation was performed at a silica sand operation in which one worker performed the entire loading and bag stacking process. This worker's dust exposure was lowered 76 pet when using the new pallet loading system. The second field evaluation showed only moderate dust reduction, but this was mainly attributed to an overriding problem associated with background dust and the cleanliness of the bags. From both the ergonomic and production standpoint, the system was well received by both the workforce and plant management.
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