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Effective, friendlier solutions for dust suppression

 

A key supplier to the extractive industries in the prevention of airborne dust emissions from quarrying processes is undertaking a research project to determine the most effective solution with the least amount of effort for quarry producers.

Polo Citrus continually listens to its customers to better service their needs and improve solutions. Service is a priority; the company has long prided itself on developing personal relationships with producers and coming to the discussion with a wealth of industry knowledge. Each installation is different, including the material, the weather, the machinery and the staff. Polo Citrus considers all these factors and works with producers to provide the most effective solution to their dust problems. The company follows up with its customers, taking on honest feedback and not shying from difficult situations. 

A key component of Polo Citrus’ offerings is the regular servicing of units, which helps maximise cost savings and ensures the equipment works with minimum water and Polo’s product for maximum results. Regular servicing also ensures producers protect their staff, communities and equipment with environmentally friendly products and comply with Environmental Protection Agency regulations and other regulatory guidelines. Polo Citrus’s reporting system provides an emailed record showing before and after results and any repairs completed. This is completed on-site in real time with photos and data.  This type of preventative maintenance helps improve equipment life and avoid unplanned issues that can cause downtime. 

As an industry, there is now a greater understanding of the issues surrounding the generation of fugitive dust. Dust can cause many health issues varying in severity as well as visibility problems and safety hazards. Excessive dust can also be carried on clothing and transported home, affecting others outside the workplace. Machinery can also be damaged by dust which can cause wear, blockages and engine damage. There are also environmental concerns around dust and its impact on plant and animal life in surrounding areas. A layer of dust on the leaves of plants can hinder photosynthesis and this disturbed plant growth can then impact other food chains and the overall biodiversity of the area.  The control of dust on extractive sites is a priority and serious concern, so Polo Citrus has commenced a research and development project to provide the most effective solution with the least amount of effort for the customer. 

FOAM QUALITY

Polo’s research and customer feedback determined that on some sites the biggest challenge is maintaining the quality of foam. There are several factors that come in to play. First, the water source can be unpredictable; the water can vary from high pressure to low pressure or no water at all. Second, Polo Citrus provides a lockable cabinet with a key so on occasion it can be accessed to check if the filters need cleaning, parts replaced, or air or water pressures changed. Unfortunately, these keys get lost, or the cabinet remains unlocked and staff make changes outside of Polo’s recommendations that cause problems to the foam quality and overall dust control. 

Polo Citrus’s first priority was to stop the variability of the amount of product (BDS) in the foam due to factors relating to water pressure and staff intervention with the set controls. One of Polo’s key partners has been able to source a self-regulating pump that will monitor and adjust when and where necessary the amount of BDS in the water, to ensure that the percentage of Polo Citrus product in the water remains the same. This has a flow-on effect to Polo’s customers’ confidence, in both their site dust control as well as ensuring their finished product is within specification. 

The research and development project entailed on-site testing at the Polo Citrus manufacturing facility at Sunshine West in Melbourne. The company’s fully operational test rig was pushed to its limits with a wide range of water flow and foam generation. The generated foam was collected and these samples were analysed for total solids content and compared to Polo’s standard product, currently used on extractive sites. 

The results undisputedly demonstrated that when the water pressure was reduced and increased, the foam generation stayed similar. The dosing pump slowed and sped up, dependent on the water flow rate. If the flow rate of the water varies on the producer’s site with this new pump system, the concentration of Polo’s products remains consistent, avoiding an oversupply of BDS in the end product and poor foam generation due to excess or insufficient water caused by water flow changes. Polo’s main objective for its customers is to produce consistent quality foam which provides highly effective dust control.

REMOTE CONTROL SOLUTION

An in-depth study comparing all results and final sign-off was given to the dosing unit. The results of the trial with some key customers will be released in January.

A previous R&D project determined that the Polo Citrus dust suppression system required the operator to be able to start and stop the foaming unit when necessary. The research showed the feed material can be intermittent, due to blockages or the way the material needs to be handled. It became obvious that that a remote system was essential to avoid wastage of the Polo Citrus foam and over-saturation of the belts with foam when there was no material. Polo Citrus now has the option to fit all of its units with a remote system that can be operated by the driver in the cab or control centre, without the safety risks of manually shutting off the unit on the working floor.

Polo Citrus is focused on providing highly effective dust suppression by making it affordable and readily available to all sized businesses. The company uses its industry knowledge rather than expensive engineers to design systems and works with clients to customise the best solution. •

To learn more about Polo Citrus and its dust suppression solutions, visit polocitrus.com.au

This article appears in the November issue of Quarry Magazine. 

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