Dependability is another benefit of an efficient system; no one wants to have a system that demands a lot of attention.
“If you have issues on a dedicated system it affects everything,” says James Boston, product development with Donaldson Torit. Boston also notes that improved energy efficiency is a major concern, and the costs of running fans can be reduced with an efficient system.
“In addition to added efficiency, an improved filter life, the frequency of maintenance and the predictability of maintenance will also save the operator time and money.”
The value is the ability to schedule service intervals when it is convenient and to do maintenance quickly to reduce downtime.
• Insurance savings
Dust control is more than a safety issue, it’s an insurance issue.
“The cleaner your facility the less your premium will be,” says Ron Krebs, president, AIRLANCO. “Keep your records in order so when they do come to audit you — and they will come — sometimes they won’t even walk your facility if your records are in order.”
Krebs adds: The better your system is the less capital expenditure you’ll have and the less continued expenditure on that. He suggests inviting your insurance carrier’s trained personnel into your facility to show them what you’re trying to do to improve safety and ask them to drop your premium.
“If you have a clean working environment, nine out of 10 times you’ll get the insurance company to drop the premium — or at least consider it,” he says.
As “well run” companies acquire existing facilities, immediately make the investment in dust upgrades and refurbishment. Mains says: “The companies with a culture of quality understand an effective system will cost more and they’re willing to invest in dust control equipment if they see the value. It really speaks to their corporate culture and their competency in effective management.”
Start by going to the federal register and pulling down the guidelines pertaining to the grain handling industry, and make sure you are familiar with them.
Krebs suggests operators objectively evaluate their facility, and catalog all the dust collection points and equipment they have to date to get a handle on the current state of their ability to comply with the law.
“Take a look at your facility and do an internal audit and see what could be improved,” he says. “A lot of it is going to come down upon the operators to keep up. OSHA and EPA will come in asking for records and looking for daily data, and I don’t think a lot of people in the feed and grain industry are prepared for this — or they aren’t aware they should be doing that at all. If you have documents and records, you’ll be okay; but if you don’t, they’re going to come down on you pretty hard.”
Many states offer free guidance for proactive facilities. The local agencies will come in to review the facility and offer guidance to be in compliance — this occurs without the threat of being fined for violations.
“It’s a changing world; a facility manager really has to be on top of this. It’s really part of his business plan to keep his dust collection systems in tip-top shape because in the end it’s going to make his life easier from both the government and private sector standpoint,” Krebs says.