Div.1 Group E Vac for Aircraft Manufacturer
Div.1 Immersion Vacuums were recommended for source-capture of conductive explosive dusts.
Quite a bit of grinding and sanding of aluminum occurs during the construction of an aircraft. Aluminum dust is highly explosive. Aluminum dust can also cause a violent thermite reaction if it comes into contact with some ferrous metal dusts if the right conditions exist. The only correct way is to vacuum conductive metal dusts is with an Immersion-Separation Vacuum that pulls the conductive metal dust into a bath of water or mineral oil.
When A leading aircraft manufacturer approached us to provide a vacuuming solution for their dust which was an aluminum alloy, we recommended that they send a sample of the alloy dust to a testing lab for a DHA (dust hazard analysis). When the DHA was complete we discovered that the dust in their facility was highly explosive and had a KST valuve of 400. The entire work space was also designated an NFPA Divison 1 Area. The solution had to be portable, and it needed to be 110V. The vacuum also needed to have an NRTL Division 1 certification as well as NRTL Group E certification for conductive metals.
We recommended the Tiger-Vac EXP1-10 (IT-40L) CFE HEPA Mini Immersion Separator Vacuums as they are NRTL rated for Divison 1 and are Group E cerified. They are also HEPA filtered to 99.97% eff @ .3 micron. The vacuum is lightweight and portable, allowing workers to use it on scaffolding and lifts. We also proposed that the machines be connected directly to the hose port on the handheld sanders they were using, so that complete source capture could be achieved. Source capture keeps harmful dusts and fumes away from from the operator’s breathing zone. A very popular feature of the EXP1-10(40L) is it allows the dust to be collected in a conductive bag that lines the hopper tank.
The vacuums had been in use for about 6 weeks when the plant manager reported that the EXP1-10 (IT-40L) CFE HEPA vacuums improved efficiency and returned clean breathable air back into the work space.
The local AHJ has since recommended its use on other explosive dust vacuuming projects.