Most abrasive cabinet upkeep is related to the dust collector maintenance. The dust collector, a critical component of the machine, stores the dust and spent abrasive as well as the material being removed from the part. Purchasing a dust collector that cannot scale with the production model is one of the biggest pain points customers express.
ProTip: You can never have too much dust collector, if you have more budget spend it on a dust collector optional upgrade or more dust collector features like automatic cleaning cycles.
Dust Collector Maintenance Items
- Clean the dust collector filters as often as needed to keep the dust collector moving air out of the cabinet creating negative pressure inside the cabinet and keep good cabinet visibility. The smaller the filter area, the less dust the filter stores and the more frequently you must clean it. A shop vacuum blower operated dust collector often needs its filter cleaned every 15 minutes depending on how dirty a part is being processed but it meets minimum regulations for construction.
- Drain the collected dust daily, or when the dust storage is full. This is likely necessary more frequently if dust storage is limited.
- Purge the machine and install new abrasive. All abrasives only recycle so many times before the particles decrease in size and speed. Not changing the abrasive is like not changing oil in your car… The smaller the old worn out abrasive becomes the longer it takes to clean the part. The longer it takes to clean the part the longer you need to run the equipment. The longer you need to run the equipment the more you need to clean the dust collector. (Can you see where we’re going with this?)
- Maintenance of the dust collector filter itself depends on its filter area and location. You may be wondering what location has to do with anything; it’s also the humidity in the air that affects any dust collector filter. Using a small filter size means changing more often and you should plan to replace the filter annually if not more frequently.
Real Life Example:
Years ago, a potential customer complained that no attached dust collector was large enough to store all the material being removed from one day’s operation. Media Blast’s team asked the customer how much volume of shell was being removed daily and, with a little math, they realized the customer was trying to store five cubic feet of casting shell dust inside a dust collector that only held 2 cubic feet of dust. The capacity and maintenance of your dust collector is not a place to cut costs if you want to run an efficient business! Try and calculate the amount of dust being removed from your parts if you have a real industrial application. Remember, some applications are only removing heat discolorization caused by welding or peening a part to make it stronger. If you are removing rust, carbon or rubber flash materials don’t short the dust collector or possible upgrades.