Food Processing Dust Collection

Introduction to Food Processing Dust Collection

Food processing is a dusty business. From grain silos to bakeries to food packaging facilities, dust control is a critical consideration for the food processing industry.

The food processing industry as a whole produces many different types of dust. Some of the most common food processing dust types include fugitive grain dust from silo filling and grain transport; grain and flour dust from milling and grinding; corn starch and other powdered starches; dust from transporting or grinding dried nuts and legumes; dehydrated milk and egg products; sugar dust; and cocoa dust.

Dust control for food processing is important from both a food safety perspective and a worker health and safety perspective. Uncontrolled food dusts create many different types of problems, including sanitation concerns, cross-contamination, microbial contamination, health issues for workers and slip-and-fall hazards.

Dust control is also a regulatory consideration for food processors, who must comply with stringent food safety regulations from the FDA and USDA as well as occupational safety regulations from OSHA and NFPA. Failure to properly control food processing dust can expose companies to substantial fines, a greater risk of food recalls and even loss of FDA registration.

Each of the three major areas of the food processing industry have unique considerations when it comes to dust control.

Dust from wheat grains

Bulk Food Ingredient Handling

Bulk food ingredient handing encompasses the front end of the food processing industry, where raw grains and other bulk ingredients are transported by truck or rail car, pneumatically conveyed into silos for storage, moved via conveyors or high-velocity pipes, and dry mixed. These are among the dustiest processes in the food processing industry.

Dry bulk materials in the food industry include all kinds of grains, flours, starches, spices, sugar, cocoa, dry beans and legumes, nuts and other dry ingredients. Processes included in bulk material handling of food ingredients are:

  • Food Ingredient Transport/Conveyance
  • Dry Mixing
  • Silo Filling

Moving, mixing and storing bulk dry ingredients creates a large amount of dust, which can build up in silos, storage bins and conveyor systems if not controlled. Some of the biggest challenges at this stage of the food processing industry are: combustion risk, cross contamination, nuisance dust and microbial growth.

Learn more about Bulk Food Ingredient Handling challenges, regulations and solutions.

Batch mixing at food processing facility

Cutting, Grinding, Blending and Batch Mixing

The middle stage of the food processing industry is where bulk ingredients are transformed into edible products. During the processing stage, food manufacturers prepare and combine ingredients and add flavorings and additives such as stabilizers and preservatives.

Some of the specific processes included in this stage include:

  • Milling
  • Cutting
  • Grinding
  • Batch mixing
  • Blending
  • Cooking

The dustiest processes at this stage include cutting and grinding and batch mixing of dry ingredients. Transport points and conveyors can also become points where dust from dry ingredients becomes airborne or collects on surfaces.

Learn more about Cutting, Grinding, Blending and Batch Mixing challenges, regulations and solutions.

Food packaging at processing plant

Packaging

Dust collection and containment for food packaging lines is critical. At this stage, the finished food product is packaged for sale and consumption. At the packaging stage, cleanliness is especially important to prevent contamination and ensure that the finished package is clean, sanitary and appealing for consumers.

Controlling dust is essential both for food quality and safety and for aesthetics and salability. Seeing excess dust on the outside of the food package—or, worse, inside packages between the inner bag/sealed product and outer container—is a real turnoff for consumers in addition to a potential avenue for microbial growth and contamination.

Food packaging processes include bag filling, box filling, carton filling, canning and wrapping. Bag filling and box filling for cereal products, flour, sugar and powdered starches can be especially dusty.

Learn more Packaging challenges, regulations and solutions.

Robovent consultation with engineers

Dust Control Solutions for the Food Processing Industry

RoboVent offers robust and innovative dust control solutions for all stages of food processing, including silo filling and dry mix, processing and packaging. We understand the regulatory pressures you are under and will help you design a system that will meet your needs.

Dust collection for food processing dust is not “one size fits all.” Our engineers will evaluate your processes and help you select the right dust collector and filter media. We can also design an industrial ventilation and makeup air solution for you to ensure optimal dust collection, reduce cross-contamination concerns and mitigate health and safety hazards.

RoboVent can also help you meet OSHA and NFPA regulatory requirements and safety guidelines for management of combustible dusts. We can conduct a dust hazard analysis (DHA) for your operations under the NFPA Combustible Dust Standard (NFPA 652) and put dust control systems in place to mitigate the risks of a combustible dust explosion from food processing dust.

Our experienced air quality engineers will work with you through the whole process, including needs analysis, system design and engineering, collector and ductwork installation, filter selection, HVAC system integration, startup and commissioning, and aftercare and service.

Solutions

Fusion™ Series

A dust collector on the cutting edge of air filtration. The Fusion Series delivers exceptional performance and cost savings in a powerful, simple package.

PleatLock Cartridge Filters

PleatLock Dust Collector Cartridge Filters

RoboVent's premium filter engineered to provide the best filtration protection for your plant and employees. A widened pleat and proprietary filter media help deliver top performance.

Deflagration System

Deflagration System

Protecting your workers and facility from the risks of combustible dust, RoboVent's Deflagration System employs multiple devices and technologies to mitigate dust explosions.