Cement manufacturers are often faced with the challenge of reducing production costs while still meeting strict environmental regulations. One way this industry has chosen to conquer this double-edged sword is by reducing the cost of fuel, which ultimately has increased the substitution of coal for petcoke.
Petcoke is a petroleum-based carbon-rich solid that derives from oil refining. The switch to petcoke in many companies has impacted the coal mill dust collectors. When using coal, dust collectors have a significant impact on productivity. However, the introduction of petcoke has proven to complicate the process, as petcoke is ground finer than coal and is sticky in nature, making it difficult to remove from filter bags. Petcokes high sulfur content also makes it more likely to cause corrosion in equipment.
As the implementation of petcoke continues to increase, there are many measures that manufacturers can take to keep dust collectors working at peak performance. In a recent blog post, Parker lists a few considerations to observe that will ensure the success of dust collectors, including:
- An air-to-cloth ratio should not exceed 3.5 ACFM per 1 square foot to prevent a short filter life, high emissions and raised operating costs
- An undersized system may cause an excessive buildup of combustible material in the filter bag
- Proper insulation will prevent the increased formation of sulfuric acid from petcoke and prevent the eventual corrosion of the dust collector
- Avoid polyester, acrylic and aramid filter bags as excess dust in these materials can lead to combustion. Opt for an ePTFE membrane material, like the BHA Preveil filter from Parker Hannifin
With a properly designed dust collector, good operational practices and proper maintenance, dust collectors will effectively reduce downtime, emissions and hazardous conditions for cement manufacturers.
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