Guest Blog – Dr Chris Cloney

Guest Blog – Dr Chris Cloney

04/06/2020 About SpaceVac ATEX Resources Distributor 0
Explosive Atmosphere

As you may recall from earlier in the year, SpaceVac were delighted to be invited to be a part of the annual Dust Safety Science online conference earlier this year, discussing our high-level cleaning systems. 

This week on the blog, we handed the keys over to the events organiser Dr Chris Cloney for a guest blog on what he sees as the key benefits of the SpaceVac system….

The accumulation of combustible dust on overhead surfaces, ledges, pipes and fixtures presents a significant hazard to property and personal in powder handling and dust producing industries.

One does not have to look further than many tragedies in the last decade including:

  • Imperial Sugar Refinery Explosions in Port Wentworth Georgia (14 Fatalities and 38 Injuries)
  • West Pharmaceutical Services Explosion in Kinston, North Carolina (Six fatalities and dozens of injuries)
  • Hoeganaes Corporation Flash-Fires in Gallatin, Tennessee (Five Fatalities and three injuries (three separate flash-fires)

To see the harmful effects explosions resulting from overhead combustible dust build-up have on the environment, the facilities, the workers, and the communities these facilities are operating in.

Antiquated methods such as air-blowdown can cause a hazard in their own right, dispersing the dust and leading to a deflagration or explosion. In fact, recent industry standards such as NFPA 652: Standard on the Fundamentals of Combustible Dust, outlaw the use of these methods, except in cases where vacuum cleaning, water washdown, and other approaches are used first and under strictly limited conditions.

Furthermore, stopping production and using boom lifts in conjunction with these methods can make for a costly safety routine; especially when cleaning is needed frequently. This increases the bottom line cost and may encourage workers or management to “skip the cleaning, just this one time”.

I want to thank SpaceVac International for presenting on their overhead, high-level, dust cleaning systems at the 2020 Digital Dust Safety Conference, and for bringing this technology to markets around the world.

With their focus on building a certified, explosion safe, and lightweight system that can be rapidly deployed to clean combustible dust as it is generated, they are contributing to a safer workplace and reducing the number of combustible dust explosions and tragedies like those mentioned above around the world.


Dr. Chris Cloney

DustEx Research Ltd.


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