The Food Processing Industry is Vast
A broad range of applications fall into the food processing category including raw materials handling, finished goods processing and cooking and frying. The processes within these applications generate contaminants that can be hazardous to the surrounding area, be that indoors or outdoors or both as well as pose safety risks to the plant and employees.
Some applications generate contaminant byproducts that require air pollution control measures, such as baghouses or cartridge collectors. For example, cooking byproducts from deep frying or smoking generate outdoor emissions which may require electrostatic (ESP) collectors.
You can eliminate common issues with the right filtration solution:
We understand the challenges facing the food industry and strive to fix every issue one collector at a time; while not applying a "one size fits all approach".
Benefits from food processing dust and mist filtration include:
Contaminants within food processing applications can generally be grouped into two categories: dusts generated when handling dry, bulk materials or wet emissions such as grease or smoke resulting from cooking emissions.
The dry dusts can range from coarse to fine particulate. Contaminant is generated while the product is being conveyed or loaded with the displaced volume carrying the dust airborne such as in bagging or dumping stations. The size, process, speed and material properties will impact the dust characteristics and generation rates. In certain applications, the generated dusts may be agglomerative, hygroscopic, combustible or explosive.
Cooking emissions can range from grease used in deep frying processes to smoke from solid fuel burning or roasting applications; or a combination of the two. The chemistry of the contaminants can be complex due to the heat and organic compounds that are present. Grease contaminants generally have a larger particle size (> 1µm) and consist of the process materials such as the cooking oil and the ingredients being cooked. Grease may also pose a fire risk when collected.
Smoke contaminants will be submicronic (< 1µm) and could be made up of the solid fuel, process ingredients or other contaminants. Cooking with solid fuels such as wood may also include creosote as a contaminant. Odors in a gaseous form released during cooking processes may also be a concern for the facility and surrounding areas.
Food Processing Contaminant Hazards
Uncontrolled contaminants within food processing facilities pose a risk to workers and the facility. Extended exposure and inhalation of process dusts can result in adverse employee health effects. Many of the process dusts are combustible and explosive and must be controlled and maintained in a safe and effective manner to mitigate these risks. Dusts or grease that are allowed to build-up on facility surfaces or within ductwork increase the risk of fire or a dust explosion. Outdoor emissions may collect on the roof and pose a safety risk to workers or odors may migrate to proximate neighbors creating a nuisance.
Design Approach for Food Processing Dust Collection & Mist Control
Approaching dust collection and mist control in food processing applications begins with aligning the control technique with the process and contaminant type. Cartridge dust collectors will be most appropriate for dry dusts and mist collectors such as electrostatic precipitators will be most appropriate for wet cooking-related emissions.
Source Capture. Whenever possible, capturing and controlling the contaminant at the source is the recommended approach. Source capture involves utilizing various types of hoods to extract the contaminant at or near the generation point to protect the worker and prevent the contaminant from migrating elsewhere in the facility. Source capture is the most effective means of capture and requires the least amount of energy and initial investment to accomplish. Source capture can be accomplished utilizing fume extraction arms or local fixed hoods incorporated as part of the machine such as a conveyor or mixer. Hoods can be individual or can be combined for use a central system air pollution control solution.
Local Containment. Containment isolates the dust-generating process from the rest of facility by keeping the local area under negative pressure and exhausting the air to the air pollution control equipment. Examples of this include a cross-draft booth used on a bagging station or an enclosure placed around a deep frying area or smoking operation. In some cases, the filtered air can be returned to create a push-pull airflow pattern to improve the contaminant control.
Air pollution control solutions for food processing applications may also require special options or accessories to improve the safety and reliability of the system. For dust collectors, bag-in / bag-out filter and collection drum options can be used to eliminate exposure and cross contamination when performing filter and dust removal maintenance. Cyclone pre-filters, stainless steel construction, ledge-less design and FDA compliant paint are potential additional options. When handling combustible dusts, fire retardant cartridge filters are recommended and if the dust is explosive, explosion vents or other safety precautions may be required. For mist or cooking applications, grease impingement filters, odor control modules and fire protection connections are common options.