Home > Automation Blog > Pneumatics

Summary of Air Best Practices Article:

What is Imerys dust collector pilot program?

Imerys Performance Mineral Americas promise to take action on climate change and protect the environment consists of dedicated teams that find and implement processes that reduce energy and CO2. Imerys conducted a dust collector pilot program that quickly spread amongst their other plants across North America because of the tremendous success.

The processing plant relies on compressed air for transferring materials and also for powering a vast amount of pneumatic devices and systems. The biggest user of compressed air in the plants are the baghouse dust collectors. These dust collectors filter, separate and capture dust and particulate matter which then cycles clean air back into the environment.

Finding ways to reduce energy.

Imerys team examined how compressed air was used with their dust collectors to explore a plan of action to make improvements. After much investigation, they tested how the dust collectors might work with a lower level of pressure. The plant manager opted to experiment with lowering the psi from 100 to 85. Several days went by and there were no complaints or alarms from the pressure being too low. It became a no-brainer to continue with the lower psi to save energy.

Switching to MAC Valves spool technology.

The Sandersville plant also explored more efficient ways of pulsing compressed air to clear the bags, as well as which technologies could improve the process. Not only did the team install differential pressure monitors to replace their manual gauges, so that the dust collector would stop when not needed, but also considered efficiency on the dust collectors pulse valves. They installed Mac valve that uses spool technology rather than diaphragm-style technology for pulsing several bags. The diaphragm-style technology on the traditional valve can contain microfractures within the rubber that can contain small leaks. This is why they decided to use the Mac Valve spool technology, which has an aluminum die-cast body and Viton seals. The valve goes back and forth to transfer the air instead of the rubber constantly flexing like the diaphragm-style. This new technology proved for better performance and reduced compressed air consumption. 

So, what were the results from these changes including switching to Mac Valves?

The dust collector pilot program was counted as a tremendous success which led to implementing the findings across other processing plants. The changes in these processes concluded that each plant has revealed a cost saving potential of up to $68K per plant annually. The project also earned Imerys a 2020 Better Practice Award from the Department of Energy. By lowering the psi and using Mac Valve’s spool technology valves, they are able to save upwards of 16 GWh of electricity across North America and reduce CO2 emissions in the process by more than 7,500 metric tons by optimizing its dust collectors.