The products manufactured at Wavin’s Durham premises are extruded using a combination of virgin and in-house recycled materials, together with the required fillers and stabilisers, which are mixed on site. It is during the re-cycling and mixing operations that the most dust is generated.
The re-cycling involves taking the company’s waste materials and reducing them to granules that can be mixed easily with the virgin materials and additives. For some products, the waste is reduced still further (100µ) using a micronisation/pulverisation process. Both operations create dust.
However, according to George Hutchinson, Production Manager at Wavin, the dustiest area is the mixing department where the plastics granules/grains, fillers (chalk) and stabilisers are combined. Accordingly, all operators working in this area are provided with overalls to protect their clothes.
The solution installed for de-dusting of personnel as they move around the plant either between departments or on their breaks, and prior to going home is the blower powered ‘JetBlack’ from Air Control Industries of Chard.
Initially, a single JetBlack was taken on a week’s trial. This proved so successful that the company installed another three.
“The attraction of ACI’s JetBlack is that it is both efficient and safe,” said George Hutchinson. “And what’s more the staff like it because it is so easy use and effective.”
Previously staff would use compress lines with pressure reducers. This practice has now ceased because the JetBlack is recognised as not only being more efficient but also safe. In addition, with a less than 78dB(A) level noise it is a lot quieter.
The ACI JetBlack installed at Wavin is a wall mounted unit that delivers high volumes of air at low pressure (less than 29 cubic feet of air per minute at less than 2.5 psi.) which makes it safe to use on bare skin. It is powered by a 1400W blower. Filtered air is directed via a triggered hand-gun attached to a 1.5m flexible hose. A touch-timer switch helps avoid excessive power use.