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Innovative solutions for dust and fume control

Supplier: Luehr Filter Australia Pty Limited
18 September, 2013

Luhr Filter, a global leader in dust and fume control solutions, first broke into mining in 2005. The company's very first job within this industry was a key project for a Tier 1 mining company.

A competitor's dust collector was at the end of its life, and the company looked to Luhr Filter to provide the replacement rather renewing the competitor's contract.

"It was because of the OH&S benefits of our horizontal bags and the robustness of our reverse air cleaning system," Luhr Filter general manager Trevor Baud explained.

This innovative solution also helped win a coveted contract with Fortescue Metal Group's Solomon Mine Project. For this job, Luhr Filter put in $8 million of dust control and ventilation systems at the King's Valley and Fire Tall Ore Processing Facilities.

These two high profile contracts helped the company successfully break into the competitive mining sector and a string of resource industry jobs followed.

"We have been very busy over the last five years in mining," Baud said.

Luhr Filter's horizontal oval bag design is a prime example of the team's use of game-changing technology, according to Baud.

"The main difference between us and the competition is that we use oval bags instead of round bags for our fabric filters," he explains.

"Because we use oval bags, we can mount them horizontally or vertically."

The advantages are significant, particularly when it comes to reducing manual handling hazards.

AI the end of their life filter elements must be replaced, and traditional vertical bag filters require a lot of awkward lifting. A horizontally positioned bag by contrast allows access doors to be hinged vertically, so no lifting or straining is required.

"You're not lifting hatches on the top," Baud explained.

"You just open a door."

Furthermore, most horizontal filter bags can be accessed from a standing position as opposed to a bending position, reducing the risk of back strain.

The horizontal oval bag technology also reduces the volume inside the bag, so when removing a burst bag filled with dust the risk of injury is further reduced when compared with a typical round bag.

Luhr Filter has also reduced the weight by limiting the length of each horizontal bag to 2.5 metres, making the handling far more manageable than with longer, heavier bag filters.

Fortescue Metal Group was so impressed with these advantages that it requested horizontal flat bags for all seven of its Solomon Mine Project's fabric filters.

Fortescue Metal Group is also utilising Luhr Filter's reverse air cleaning technology. This unique, reverse air off-line cleaning design is relatively new to the iron ore market and dramatically reduces energy usage.

The system eliminates the need for compressed air and because it draws the cleaning air from its surroundings and not from the clean air chamber it prevents contamination of the clean side of the bags in the event of a leak. Dust emissions are reduced and bag life is extended due to gentler cleaning in comparison to a traditional compressed air pulse cleaning system.

In addition, reverse air systems do not require long, difficult-to-manoeuvre pulse jet tubes, further reducing the manual handling risk.

Baud said Luhr Filter tailors its innovative solutions to fit each client's specific needs.

"We customise every project. We are nor an off-the-shelf type of company. We design from scratch every time."

Every detail is taken into consideration, including specifics in regard to location, industry, environmental requirements and budget constraints.

It is a comprehensive, hands-on process that requires careful analysis, onsite visits, and in-depth consultation with the client.

The process also requires a team of well-seasoned experts.

"With our experience, we can have a better undemanding of what they need to achieve," explained Luhr Filter project manager Darren Edwards.

"The outstanding quality of every Luhr Filter product builds client loyalty.

"Luhr Filter has extensive experience in waste-to-energy emissions control."

As long-time Industry insiders, Luhr Filter also knows all the ins and outs of the shed ventilation industry. This is crucial in an industry ruled by strict regulations and mounds of paperwork.

"We understand the requirements," Edwards explains.

"There are quite a few different standards involved and developing an effective solution requires meeting all of them.

"We are able to comply with those standards to produce a cost competitive solution."

The team's ability to easily navigate government rules and regulations has been heartily appreciated by the mining industry. This helped Luhr Filter to secure two recent shed ventilation wet scrubber contracts for controlling lead and zinc concentrate dust for two leading mining companies.

Luhr Filter designs wet scrubbers through their technology partner Trema GmbH in Germany.

The team's experience and inside knowledge also means that clients can count on Luhr Filter to deliver a project on time. For Instance, Fortescue Metal Group chose Luhr Filter for the Solomon Mine job specifically because the team would be able to successfully execute the project within an extremely tight timeline. This project saw the team develop a creative solution by negotiating the purchase of four previously owned low-use Luhr Filter dust collectors.

They refurbished these collectors and used them for the Solomon Mine project, rather than starting from scratch. Each moving part was replaced, and the product received brand new reverse air cleaning systems, screw conveyors, rotary valves, and where required access stair towers, access platform and support structures.

The company then covered the like-new collectors with a 20 year performance guarantee. The resourceful plan made it possible to complete the job in record time and win Fortescue's praise as a result.

"The outstanding quality of every Luhr Filter product also leads to client loyalty," Baud said.

"We have proven that our product will do the job, be reliable, and last a long time."

Some Lulu dust collectors, for example, are stilling running in the field after three decades of service.

'We have a very good track record in the marketplace," Edwards highlighted.

"Good product, good reputation, good equipment."

Of course, the company's ability to select, optimise and maintain equipment to each particular project's specifications is just as crucial.