Combustible Dust in the Paper Industry

Packaging material. Printing paper. Personal care products. The paper industry produces a vast range of items in facilities across the country. What else does the industry produce every day? Combustible dust.

As manufacturers create various paper products, facilities generate combustible dust in the forms of pulp, wood, coal, ashes, resins and starch. When this dust collects on surfaces and remains confined in a plant, it takes just one ignition source to initiate a potential disaster. Open flames, hot surfaces and electrostatic discharges are a few of the potential ignition sources present in paper manufacturing and conversion facilities.

When these conditions are right, combustible dust can create an explosion and/or fire which can injure employees and cripple the business. Prolonged exposure to paper dust can also cause additional health risks for employees, such as respiratory illness.

To mitigate these risks, paper industry professionals must properly manage the combustible dust in their facilities. Solutions have improved over the years, but not all are effective. Combustible Incident Reports from 2017-2018 show a total of 14 combustible dust incidents in the North American pulp and paper industry, three of which were explosions. Manual housekeeping isn’t getting the job done for paper manufacturers, and dust collection systems alone are not able to capture all the dust created. This industry needs a proactive solution that effectively protects paper manufacturers and paper converters from combustible dust events.

How SonicAire Can Help

Offering precision dust-control technology, SonicAire is the ideal partner for paper facilities. Engineered as more than a clean-up solution, SonicAire’s proactive industrial dust control fans prevent combustible dust build-up and effectively mitigate the risk of disaster.

The SonicAire Solution

SonicAire proprietary technology combines two methods to control dust flow.

High-Velocity Airflow

SonicAire fans use high-velocity airflow to clean overhead areas. The strength of this airflow effectively prevents the accumulation of combustible dust particles on overhead structures in the facility.

Thermal-Current Control

Typical airflow includes upward thermal currents which naturally lift and carry particles to overhead areas of facilities, where dust quickly accumulates and can become a fire hazard. SonicAire industrial dust control fans prevent these upward thermal currents from holding dust in the air.

Adjust the slider arrows in the middle of the Before/After photos to see the effect of using SonicAire dust control fans in your facility.

Paper Industry Overview

In a world of digital solutions, the paper industry continues to grow. Successfully adapting to demands, the industry has scaled back in graphic paper production while ramping up supplies for packaging, hygiene product and tissue paper manufacturing.

In the U.S. alone, paper mills generated $48 billion in revenue in 2019. Much of this was in response to high domestic demand: each American uses 700 pounds of paper per year in various product consumption. The country remains second only to China in both production and consumption of paper.

Major manufacturing categories for the paper industry include:

  • • Pulp
  • • Coated Groundwood
  • • Coated and Uncoated Freesheet
  • • Paperboard
  • • Personal Care Products
  • • Transport and Industrial Packaging
  • • Consumer Packaging and Tissue
  • • Graphic Papers
  • • Fiber

Learn More

Contact SonicAire to learn how we can conduct an engineering evaluation of your facility and use our BarrierAire™ technology to mitigate combustible dust, improve safety and reduce downtime/improve efficiency of your operation.

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SonicAire at Work

We installed SonicAire fans over our paper machines to prevent dust from accumulating in the first place. Not only do they keep our plant continuously compliant with OSHA regulations, they keep our employees safer.
– Plant Maintenance Process Leader, Paper Company
Best investment made for the mill in a long time.
– Purchasing Manager, Lumber Company
These things are amazing, at first, folks here didn’t like the idea – but now, everyone who sees these things is asking if they can get them too.
– Sr. Plant Engineer, Paper Company
Our board of directors and OSHA consultants were very impressed with how well the fans operate in our facility.
– Process Development Engineer, Recycling Processing Facility
We installed SonicAire fans throughout our plant because we wanted to find a superior way to deal with the problems of combustible dust. We needed a higher level of continuous clean … the fans have delivered everything we wanted!
– Recycling Foreman, County Recycling Facility

Put SonicAire to Work for You

With an engineered layout custom-designed for your plant, SonicAire fans will replace high-risk and costly manual cleaning measures, eliminate the need for housekeeping shut-downs and help maintain a clean, safe environment. Use the Learn More form above, at right to request more information or visit our Dust Solutions page to learn more.