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Starch Dust Extraction and Collection

CFW is an industry leader in the South African dust extraction and material recovery industries, designing, producing and supplying bespoke solutions for the starch industry. A range of standard mobile and free-standing fabric-type dust collectors and various cyclones can be supplied. Spare parts are readily available.

Both the food and packaging industries make use of starchy materials in their products. These materials, which include starch-based glues, corn starch, and wheat flour, often produces large quantities of fines that pollute the air. Corn starch is a potential risk factor for occupational asthma, and is considered particularly troublesome because the particles are very small and easy to breathe in.

As a hygroscopic material, deposited starch dust can adsorb water and clog machines or dust collection equipment that has not been designed to handle it.

Fine starch dusts can also ignite under the right conditions, creating a fire or explosion hazard.

All of these factors mean that dust extraction is essential for industries producing or making use of starch. In particular, pneumatic conveying systems for starch require collectors to separate the dust from the air stream. In starch production, dust extraction may be needed during a number of processes, including

  • Raw material refinement
  • Pre-grinding
  • Separation
  • Final grinding
  • Screening
  • Drying
  • Pneumatic conveying
  • Storage
  • Packing

Drying operations and sparking in the dust collection system are two of the most prominent causes of starch dust explosions.

Measures that are taken to prevent explosions in dust collection systems include using non-sparking metals and explosion-proof fan motors, grounding all conveying equipment and installing explosion isolation valves. Experimental research, as well as investigations of starch dust explosions in factories, shows that starch dust explosions can propagate through dust collection systems and other pneumatically linked systems. While fabric filter or baghouse systems have a very high particulate collection efficiency, cyclones are often preferred because they are less prone to fire.