Sunday, December 6, 2009

Dust explosion rocks plant

DUST EXPLOSION Dust explosion rocks North Portland Land O' Lakes plant (an explosion at the plant at about 8:30 p.m. caused about $100,000 - the explosion was on the third-floor of the plant - a machine called "corn cracker" had created a dust explosion - no employees were in the area of the blast - the "corn cracker" mixes hot and cold materials that are distributed to other parts of the plant - it overheated and created the dust explosion which sent embers into several silos - it took fire crews two hours to locate and put out hot spots in the building and the silos)

5 comments:

Stephan Rehr said...

Explosions like this are unfortunately widely experienced where ever cracking and milling actions are being applied at dry organic materials. Wether these are corn crackers, cereal mills, wood or pet food flakers, small loose metal parts, mineral compounds like rocks, or shifting adjustments are able to convert the breaking action of this machine into overheating, or creating sparks and embers.
If it can be applied, an explosion like this could be prevented by use of a spark extinguishing system. Its application is depending on the design and layout of the material infeed into, and out of the cracker, crusher, mill or flaker. A pneumatic duct conveying system is the most ideal transport solution to protect a mill's operation by a spark detection and extinguishing system, but lot of other solutions around belts, augers or elevators are possible as well, and have been applied very successfuly in those industries.

The strong advantage of such a spark extinguishing system is based on the fact, that it can, if applied to professional standards, delete most of the dangers leading to an fire or explosion, even without an interruption of the running milling or cracking process.
To manage this task, the required system should show multiple positive reference installations, and a wide range of manufacturing and performance standards. E.g., if a system shows the Factory Mutual Approval, the NFPA, and as well as international accepted specifications according to expert associations like ATEX Explosion Protection, it could be the right one for this application.
Even if the spark detection and extinguishing system can dependably reduce the risks of fires and explosions in cracking and crushing utilizations, there will always be, depending on local circumstances, a residual risk for those occurrences. Therefore, to track the real time expansion of an explosion later on accurately for analysis, insights and future prevention, the spark extinguishing system must be able to operate in explosion speed as well. Those spark detection systems, proven to operate and track in milliseconds only are available in the market and have been successfully installed in a wide variety of the milling industry.

jonny said...

The spark detection and extinguishing system can dependably reduce the risks of fires and explosions in cracking and crushing utilizations, there will always be, depending on local circumstances, a residual risk for those occurrences.

Anonymous said...

To say a dust explosion can be eliminated from a spark detection system is irresponsible. Even the manufacturers of these systems will state they aren't 100% effective. They may REDUCE the possibility of an explosion, but even then they don't prevent dust explosions caused by overheating equipment, bearings, static discharges, etc, etc. You were right when you said explosions are widely experienced in cracking, and milling actions, but please just tell people to consult an expert in explosion protection, rather then recommending inadequate protection strategies. Prevention is never a bad thing...it just shouldn't be the only thing.

John Astad said...

Good point Anon that the probability of ComDust explosions and fires can only be minimized not totally eliminated.

Pete said...

The required system should show multiple positive reference installations, and a wide range of manufacturing and performance standards.

 

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