October 9, 2021

How Does a Dust Collector Work?

A dust collector is a system that removes dust and debris from the air in any workspace. The system cleans the air by forcing it through many airtight filters. When the air cleans, it is expelled outside or recirculated. That is after the system has achieved the proper emission standards. Production operation creates many contaminants, which is why there are dust collectors to remove the pollutants from the air. 

In other words, that is a design meant to capture toxic contaminants. The dust collector has many components that complement each other to fulfill the duty. These include a blower, dust filter, cleaning system, receptacle, and means of collecting the particulate matter. 

The types of dust collecting equipment include fabric filter baghouses, inertial separators known as mechanical cyclones, cartridge collectors, wet scrubbers, and electrostatic precipitators. Baghouse dust collectors gained popularity since they have a 99% efficiency. The types of pollutants removed depend on the industry. Dust collectors are made with specific designs to meet the needs of each environmental condition.

The main components of a dust collector


A blower comes in the dust collection system in a simple design. Consider the volume of air before you install one. The air volume is in cubic feet per minute (CFM). 

The static pressure is also of importance throughout the system. Since temperature, substances in the air, and the level of moisture differ in places, that has to attract your attention. The blower is also known as the fan, and it consists of a mechanism that draws the pollutant into the ductwork away from the workplace. 

The contaminated air goes to the filtration and cleaning systems. Standard blowers include centrifugal and axial.  The centrifugal model has wheels in housing, whereas the axial type has propellers.

Dust filter

As the name dust filter implies, it filters dust particles from the air. The dust filter component is the cleaning portion of the dust collection system. The filter has no standard size. It works with the blower since it pulls the air from the workspace into the filter. 

That is when the filter removes the pollutants from the air. The air to cloth ratio is the amount of air that passes through a square foot of the filter. Measure the quality of the filtration system with the ratio. The lower the ratio, the higher the quality of the filtration system’s efficiency.

Filter cleaning system

The filter cleaning system holds up the particulates that build up on the surface of the filter, and it gets filled and clogged hence the need to clean the filters before a problem emerges. The cleaning systems involve shutting down the machine, and the system has to be disconnected when cleaning. 

The system has a pressure sensor that monitors the static differential on the filter. Since the system measures the pressure on the filter, there are signals sent depending on the state. Higher levels send a signal to the diaphragm valve to let compressed air go into the filter. That allows the removal of accumulated particles. 

It is known as the pulse jet baghouse or pulse jet dust collector. That is a popular mode of particulate air pollution control equipment. Other systems have an alarm system that gives you notifications whenever there is high pressure. Other control devices make operators aware there is a collection failure or low-pressure levels across the filter. 

Dust receptacle 

When the particulate escapes from the filter, it passes through the system and falls into a container. The container is the one called a receptacle, and the particulate will be awaiting collection. The receptacle comes in different designs depending on the type of material and the loading rate. 

The enclosed box has collected material that is funneled into a receptacle. The drum or bag is a system that requires a drum or bag to matter. A rotary valve is almost like a bag, but the matter flows through a valve into a drum.  A screw conveyor system moves it along to a disposal location.

Setting up a dust collector

Start by unpacking the box. Gather all the tools and materials needed to begin. These include a dust collector, filter, hose, tools set, tool ports, hose clamps, and a handle docking port kit. The dust collector and the canister filter require one to follow the attached instructions. 

Mark studs and drill pilot holes

Choose a position where you like the dust collector mounted. There should be an outlet close by. Look out for the studs and mark the center point on each. The studs should be at least 65inches from the ground—Drill 3/16″ pilot holes through the wall and into the stud. 

Attach cleats to the wall

Attach the cleats to the wall using 4 x 5/16 inch lag bolts and washers. The pilot holes guide you for mounting, and the lag bolts are driven tightly into the wall studs.

Install lag bolts into cleats

Hang the dust collector

Tighten the bolts to the cleats.


A well-functioning airflow system ensures maximum performance. Some troubleshoot issues come from insufficient airflow, and poor airflow affects the performance since the design accommodates a certain percentage of airflow to work.  

There is an expected volume of air that ensures proper distribution of air. There should not be an instance whereby the air is lacking in the system, and the process will be incomplete. 

The Motor

The dust collector uses an electric motor that supplies energy to drive the fan. The dust collector motor supplies enough power that operate fans during the whole process. It has to accommodate both temperature and flow rate. 

The ductwork

Dust collection systems have ductwork to draw in the air. The ductwork is the heart of the dust collection system. It is a simple component, but it controls the performance of the system. To ensure proper performance, consider the tool size when you want the pipe size. 

These should be compatible. Consider the air requirements, pipe length, the number of machines serviced, and the types of particulates extracted.

How to waste material is removed from the air

The dust collection system reduces and removes unwanted particles and fumes that are a possible danger to your health. These particles are removed from gases that come during the manufacturing process and the surroundings. 

The dust collecting system purifies and filters dust released into the work environment and the atmosphere. Pollutants differ by industry, and industrial dust collector models are specific to the extraction method required for each industry. Dust collector systems draw dust and particulates from the air through a filter. 

The filter first captures and separates the air and discharges clean air back into the workplace. The process involves filtering, separating, and capturing dust and particulate, and releasing sanitized air.

How the air is purified

Dust is separated from a gas stream through centrifugal force. The air is purified in the collection chambers. There is a strong airflow that forces the dust particles against the walls, including both heavy and bigger particles. 

How to control the airflow

Adjust an outlet damper on the collector’s fan to control the airflow. It has to be adjusted often, as conditions in the system change over time. The knowledge to adjust an outlet damper properly, and, as a result, it is not unusual for a plant to see shorter filter life, the compromised product is required. 

Other than the above way, optimize airflow control by using an inlet vane damper, modifying the fan by replacing the sheaves, or using a digital control system with a variable frequency drive (VFD). 

David D. Hughes

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