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How to Choose the Right Dust Control Equipment Systems

How to Choose the Right Dust Control Equipment Systems

Some dust problems are solved best by cyclones, and others by filters. The trick is to use each type for the dust collection jobs they do best. Let’s break down these two major dust control systems.

Baghouse filters or cyclones for dust collection?

Before dust can be controlled, it must be contained. This means ensuring that equipment is tight and gasketed properly. Equipment that emits dust should have suction vent connections and/or suction hoods attached. These connect to a manifold, which then connects to a separator (cyclone and/or baghouse dust filter).

Some dust problems are solved best by cyclones, and others by filters. The trick is to use each type for the dust collection jobs they do best. Let’s break down these two major dust control systems.

Baghouse filter operation

Filters require more space and come at a higher cost than cyclones for a given air volume. As installed, most filters have more resistance than cyclones, resulting in less suction, or more fan power cost. They can handle heavy dust loads and materials that may be slightly sticky or agglomerate.

The biggest advantage and argument for baghouse filters is their efficiency. They can be very efficient — up to and above 99.9%, even with low-micron dust. If the bags are the right type of filter media, if they are kept in good repair, and if the bag cleaning system is working right, then air leaving the filter can be cleaner than the air outside most mills. Filters are highly efficient when it comes to their dust collection design.

Filter bags and dust cake on the surface of media act to separate particles from the incoming dirty airstream, resulting in clean air exiting the baghouse to the atmosphere. If the filter is sized and designed correctly, the maintenance required is moderate for the consumer.

Can velocity

For maximum operating efficiency, dust must be allowed to fall out of the negative airstream that is going through the filter to discharge out of the system. If bags are spaced too closely together or if the housing size is too small, excessive can velocity causes dust to be held in suspension. Suspended dust then chokes the system regardless of the cleaning mechanism or air-to-cloth ratio. Kice filters are conservatively designed to provide proper bag spacing to eliminate this potential problem.


Many Kice customers often ask, “How does a cyclone work?” and “How can they benefit my operation?” Two major cyclone advantages include their simplicity and comparatively low cost. They are compact in proportion to the volume of air they handle, so they are easy to install in any location, indoors or outdoors. They are particularly effective at removing large or abrasive material and large amounts of material before the final filtration of the air by a baghouse or cartridge filter.

Their main disadvantage is their inability to retain extremely fine particulates. Although most well-designed and well-fabricated cyclones are better than 90% efficient with particulates above 30 microns, their efficiency drops rapidly below that size.

Another advantage is that cyclones require very little maintenance because they have no moving parts. A properly applied cyclone will provide years of particle separation from an air stream.

Cyclone efficiencies can vary tremendously based on the following parameters:

  • Particle size distribution
  • Particle density
  • Air and material volume entering the cyclone
  • Cyclone design and dimensions
  • Quality of fabrication
  • Quality of installation

Designed to handle air volumes from 500 CFM to 50,000 CFM, Kice cyclones are engineered to be highly efficient at separating particles from air streams. The geometry of Kice cyclones provides a balance between separation efficiency and airflow resistance.


Filters and cyclones often supplement each other. In many situations, several different process streams may each be directed to its cyclone for primary separation. The exhausts are vented to a large central filter for the final separation to remove the hazardous fines, permitting the filtered air to be returned to the plant. Most pneumatic lifts are vented this way, and there are many other applications where filters and cyclones work together, providing results that neither could do alone.

NFPA standards and what they mean for dust control

Combustible dust explosions are a risk in many areas of a facility. Facilities can create dust particles that can become airborne and dispersed throughout the plant. When these particles are in a combustible environment, they represent a significant risk for an industrial accident. Many plant personnel may overlook and not fully understand the serious hazards associated with handling fine dust and powdered materials. For more information about safety protocols and best practices regarding dust control systems and dust collection design, contact Kice Industries at (316) 744-7151 or