A Filter/Receiver Dust Explosion
A filter/receiver directly connected to a powder milling operation exploded giving rise to an indoor deflagration, which, fuelled by powder deposits, propagated into three floors of the building. Fortunately no one was injured, however, the filter/receiver was destroyed by the explosion and several other pieces of equipment were damaged by fire. Windows were blown into a courtyard from three floors of the building. A deflagration in the courtyard caused damage to several building windows.
A mill bearing failure caused overheating of the powder and creation of embers, which entered the filter/receiver and initiated a primary dust/air explosion. Dust build up in the explosion relief discharge ductwork caused delayed activation of the relief door and over pressurization of the filter/receiver. Poor housekeeping had allowed significant dust build up on floors and overhead surfaces.
The root cause of this incident was "less-than-adequate recognition of dust explosion hazards (e.g. inadequate DSEAR/ATEX Assessment)" including:
- Less than adequate training and awareness to key staff (Training)
- Less than adequate housekeeping (Management Systems)
- Less than adequate preventive maintenance of rotating equipment (Mechanical Integrity)
- Less than adequate monitoring of powder mills e.g. bearing temperature or vibration monitoring (such requirements should be determined from a detailed DSEAR/ATEX Assessment)
- Less than adequate explosion relief system and its maintenance (Mechanical Integrity and failing to use appropriate design standards)
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