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Because industrial locations often involve the use of dangerous chemicals or vapors, it is necessary to implement air cleaning and filtering systems to keep workers safe and comfortable in their working environment. Industrial exhaust systems can be simple or complex interwoven systems of different components that help to clean air in a variety of ways of a variety of different particles and fumes. Exhaust systems are an important part of facilities that deal with radioactive or nuclear material, biomedical treatments, general manufacturing, and many other industries. Even facilities that only contain annoying or uncomfortable air contaminants might need an industrial exhaust system in order to conform to OSHA working standards.
Planning for an Industrial Exhaust System: Hygiene Air Sampling
Before implementing an industrial exhaust system, a facility must be monitored to determine what sort of system should be installed. To do this, a neutral hygiene air sample should be taken. This sample is a measurement of air contaminants and other particles in neutral air in a facility, as measured and tested in a sterile laboratory. Once the sample is tested, particles and contaminants can be identified and measured to determine if an industrial exhaust system should be introduced and, if necessary, what kind of equipment is necessary.
Planning for an Industrial Exhaust System: Preparation
Once health and safety officials determine what type of industrial exhaust system is needed in an industrial facility, a contractor can establish how to properly and safely construct the system in the site location. This involves reviewing safety and engineering documentation about the facility and developing a plan for competently introducing exhaust system components.. Because of the wide variety of equipment available at both standard and custom sizes, exhaust systems are fairly modular and alterable in order to properly complement a location’s needs.
Installation of Components
Several different components must be combined to form a properly functioning exhaust system. With the advent of digital controls, these components are all monitored by a singular unit called a capture hood, which then reports its readings back to a central PC. The capture hood can be installed in an innocuous location such as a duct, air vent, or exhaust pipe. It collects and monitors samples of room air to ensure the proper amount of filtration is achieved. It can take readings at different periods of the day, timestamp them, and send them back to the central PC so an analyst can monitor the variations of air filtration at different times and make adjustments if necessary. Advanced capture hoods can also make adjustments to air filtration if readings show that air is not being properly scrubbed.
An air filtration unit is necessary in any industrial exhaust system. They are available at different strengths in order to filter air at different levels of intensity. High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are some of the strongest air filters around, and can clean air of up to 99.7 percent of all air particles 0.3 microns large or larger. Depending on the type of contaminants present in a facility’s neutral air, different types of air filters are selected. These decisions need to be made based on the disposal of the contaminants as well as the filter’s capability capability to remove the contaminants from the air. For instance, certain types of contaminants, such as radioactive materials and biomedical fumes, are illegal to release into the environment, so an air filter must collect this waste for proper disposal at a later time. Numerous federal and state laws regulate what types of pollutants can be released into the air after filtration, so these regulations must be considered before deciding on an air filtration system.
The exhaust pipe is one of the final components of an industrial exhaust system. This final unit is the manner in which all contaminants are disposed of, either into a hopper for collection and disposal later or out into the environment. As noted above, different federal and state regulations control this type of disposal, so it is important to follow such laws when deciding on an exhaust method. If an air filtration system is dedicated to removing nontoxic/dangerous dust particles, a simple exhaust pipe directing the dust out of the facility is available. Otherwise, special safety precautions need to be taken, and local laws should be consulted.
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