Designed to remove dust from the air, a dust collector is a critical part of any blasting and extraction system and its impact is often overlooked.

Having been building abrasive blasting equipment for over 40 years, we wanted to share with you 6 major points that will produce the best returns for your business (and mistakes to avoid that we continue to see made in the industry):


Safety with the most effective velocity


Reduce blockage with correct pressure


Fan design is critical


Filter ratio to maximise lifespan


Reduce maintenance with higher filter area


Lower energy costs with variable speed drive

1. Volume + velocity = visibility + safety.

With blast chamber ventilation there is regulation which stipulates the minimum velocity required within the chamber. This is worked out by choosing the smallest cross section and calculating the volume needed to achieve the required velocity. The chosen velocity is the most effective for keeping the chamber free from dust and therefore providing adequate visibility and a safe environment for the operator.

2. Correct Pressure = minimum blockage.

This is especially important when the dust collector is positioned at a distance from the blast chamber. The pressure is the energy in the moving air and keeps the dust from losing velocity in the ducting and dropping out causing blockages. The other aspect to take into consideration is the friction of the air through the filters which need energy to overcome especially when there is a loading of dust on the media.

3. Fan design= maximum efficiency = longevity.

Protoblast uses the Backward Inclined Centrifugal system as the most efficient across our product range. This design eliminates overloading and when using a direct mount there are no extra bearings to worry about and no power loss through belt drives.

4. Filter ratio = long life.

The filters really are the heart and soul of the dust extractor as this is where the cleaning is done and if this isn’t done properly will lead to problems. Sand blasting dust is very fine and very abrasive so trying to save money by lowering the grade of filters is counterproductive. Protoblast have used the Cellulex filter cartridge for decades. These cartridges have a filtration efficiency of 99.99% of all particles above 1.0µm. This means that the air being exhausted from the dust collector meets all EPA requirements, provides a cleaner working environment and increases productivity.

5. Higher filter area = lower velocity = less maintenance.

This is very important and cheap dust collectors fail because of this. The more filters there are, the more area there is for the air to pass through so the velocity is much lower. The lower the velocity the longer the filter lasts and the less pressure the fan will have to produce. Protoblast recommends on an air to cloth ratio of 2.212:1 critical to filter life.

6. Variable speed drive = lower energy costs.

What’s your available power? Large volumes of air mean very large fans and large fans need large motors…. You get the picture. For example a blast chamber with a cross section of 5m x 5m requires 21,000cfm of dust collection. This would use a 22kW motor which has a full load current draw of 38Amps, but the big issue is on start up as the motor has the inertia of the fan impellor to overcome so effectively it is starting under load. With standard direct online starting the motor needs 7-8 times the full load current, so in this example it would be 266amps. This is massive and by law the wiring and circuitry has to be sized accordingly. The solution for this is a variable speed drive (VSD). The VSD the Protoblast uses is a fully adjustable unit and best of all it will only draw a maximum of 10% more than full load current on start up. Not only on start-up will you save power but the fans can be slowed down during operation and when running at 75% of full speed the power consumption is halved. This mean a massive saving on your power this is why Protoblast equipment continues to save you money every day.

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