Industrial process air that is created inside a machine tool such as grinding machines or lathes, is often warmer than the ambient air within the factory. Varying climates and industries around the globe create a need for facilities to be heated in the winter. Recovering energy and returning heat back into the facility can provide a substantial reduction in energy consumption that helps maintain a comfortable and productive indoor temperature and environment.
However, in order to recover the valuable energy in an air handling unit (AHU), the process air needs to be clean. This cleaning, or air filtration as we call it, is connected directly to the machine tool and extracts the warm air inside. We call this type of air filtration a mist collector. Other commonly used industry terms for this process are oil mist collectors, separators, or extractors. Two crucial tasks for the extraction unit are:
- To be able to purify the air with high efficiency that remains constant throughout the whole life of the filter. This means the air is as clean on the day of commissioning as when it is time to change filters. To ensure this consistency, a HEPA H13 must be installed in the filter unit.
- The volume of extracted air must remain constant over time. This means that airflow from the day of commissioning with new filters to the day the filters must be changed is equal.
If the filtration equipment fails to combine these two tasks several things will happen. The filtration equipment or the machine tools will eventually start leaking poor or unfiltered air (oil mist or oil smoke) through inspection doors and/or other openings. From that point, the dirty process air may enter the exhaust ducts and pass to the air handling unit. Those units are typically equipped with traditional bag filters that clean indoor air and are not capable of removing the messy, oil-laden air. In addition to harming the operator with dirty air, the immediate risk is that the uncaptured and dirty process air will soil the heat exchangers which will negatively influence the recovery efficiency. The signs to look for in your facility are dripping exhaust ducts (especially when you turn off the air handling unit), smoke or mist escaping out of the machine tool or filtration equipment, and unreasonably high energy consumption in the heating coils.
Ensuring that your oil mist filtration is functioning properly and cleaning the air as effectively as possible accomplishes several things:
The process air is adequately directed away from the machine operator. If all process air is captured and filtered properly, the entire facility will have cleaner air, which impacts all staff members, not just the operators. Sticky and slippery surfaces on floors, surfaces, and parts are avoided. Energy consumption is reduced, and in turn, so is the heating bill. This is a win-win for all parties; employees, owners, consumers, and last but certainly not least for nature and our world!
If you are interested in knowing how others have effectively implemented this process, it is worth your time to read about Audi in Hungary! Before Audi invested in Absolent’s filter units, 1 million cubic meters of air per hour was sent out through the roof. The ventilation system was forced to work at maximum capacity to handle this task. Today, a lot of that valuable energy is recycled thanks to Absolent. Click here to read the full story.
If you want to know more about how Absolent’s filter equipment can help your company reduce heating costs, contact your nearest Absolent office or distributor. Click here for contact information.