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Selecting an oil mist eliminator for clean air and good health

Oil mist

The metalworking industry utilizes metalworking fluids (MWF) to lubricate and cool mechanical machines. The MWFs can contain a combination of synthetic oils or mineral oils as well as a variety of additives. Additionally, these oils can contain contaminants, such as bacteria and tramp oil. Unfortunately, if you do not use a proper filtration system, droplets of MWFs can become airborne, resulting in what is called an oil mist.

The specific types of mechanical machines that create oil mist include compressor pumps, vacuum pumps, and turbines. This oil mist clouds the air and poses potential environmental and health hazards. In addition to these potential hazards, the oil mist builds up on everything in the environment, creating an unwanted oily residue on all of your machinery.

Eliminating oil mist

An oil mist eliminator is an air-cleaning device that filters out the oil mist from an exhaust air stream before it can be released into the working environment. This type of highly specialized oil mist extraction results in significantly improved air quality compared to an environment that does not utilize an oil mist eliminator.

Things to consider

When choosing an oil mist extraction system, there are a variety of things to consider to ensure you choose the best oil mist eliminator for your needs.

1. Extra features

In addition to finding an eliminator that provides oil mist extraction, you should look for a system that also removes other harmful chemicals and contaminants that are often produced by these types of mechanical machines.

2. Low maintenance

A system that requires you to frequently replace a paper filter should be avoided as a paper filter will become filthy very quickly. Additionally, you should not purchase a system that requires a lot of routine maintenance. Although a system that requires very little maintenance may cost more up front, the time and hassle saved over the life of the system is well worth it.

3. Capacity

It is extremely important to determine beforehand the volume of oil mist that you will need to filter to keep the air in the environment safe. For instance, not all oil mist collectors allow for the same amount of gas to flow through during the filtering process. Additionally, it is not recommended to exceed the limits of oil mist collectors. To ensure you choose the best system for your needs, you should opt for one that allows for at least three times the operating capacity needed.

Must haves

In addition to the above consideration, you should choose a system that can filter the air and recirculate clean air throughout the building. The ability of a system to recirculate clean air is dependent on the filtration design, which includes the efficiency of the collector and the life of the filter. For instance, the system should include multiple stages of filtration that start with the removal of what is known as swarf metal. 

Following this, the filter should reduce mist loading at the final stage. This final stage should end with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter or a DOP filter ranked at 95 percent. A system that does not include a HEPA or DOP filter will generally allow small particles to be released into the air, creating an environment that may damage your machines and pose serious health risks.

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