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© stock.adobe.com/au/Sergey Nivens

PROCESSING

Dust explosions — how to avoid a known risk in the food industry Jérôme Taveau, Scientific Advisor, Fike Corporation

Many food and beverage processors deal with dust on a daily basis and so it is imperative that they are cognisant of the devastating consequences that can result from dust explosions and can also select the most appropriate explosion protection solution for their application.

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ood and beverage manufacturing plants are sanitary, hygienic environments and yet they are still prone to dusty conditions. Fine, dry products and materials such as sweeteners, starches and flour pose a distinct fire and explosion hazard. Special attention must be paid to areas in or outside facilities where dusts are produced, processed, stored or transported and can be lofted into the atmosphere. Otherwise, all that is needed is an ignition source with sufficient energy to cause a nightmarish event. Explosion hazard mitigation and management begins with understanding the explosion properties of the material. When that information is not available, explosibility testing is needed. Once the material is characterised, explosion prevention and protection measures can be taken based on the intended application. Prevention is the first

line of defence, whereas protection deals with the effects of explosions that do occur. Four explosion protection techniques are used in the food processing industry: • v enting, • f lameless venting, • s uppression, and • i solation. They can be used separately or in combination depending on the application. It is important to understand the advantages and limitations of each technique in order to make the most effective explosion protection decisions.

Venting: pressure release The most popular explosion protection technique by far is venting. This method is extensively described in engineering

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January/February 2017

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What’s New in Food Technology & Manufacturing Jan/Feb 2017  

The most comprehensive coverage of new products and technology developments from companies supplying and servicing the food and beverage ind...

What’s New in Food Technology & Manufacturing Jan/Feb 2017  

The most comprehensive coverage of new products and technology developments from companies supplying and servicing the food and beverage ind...