In our recent newsletter, we talked about the commitment that we’ve made to the 2 Second Lean program here in our company. It’s been exciting to see how people have embraced the idea of continuous improvement, and we’ve been making videos to record some of the ways we’ve applied lean principles to our office and shop areas!


This before-and-after video shows one of our first big improvements based on the 2 Second Lean principles. Does your company have a supply or storage closet that’s become a collection area for assorted stuff that doesn’t have a home anywhere else? Justin will walk you through the improvements we made, and you’ll be able to see how this got turned from a room-sized junk drawer into a useful work and storage space.



As you can see, we’ve applied 2 Second Lean tools like labeling items, marking where things should be stored, and posting pictures of what the area should look like. It’s shined, sorted, and standardized, and there will be no more rummaging around to find the mop bucket or the paper towel rolls. It was a big project but it’s now a big time-saver.


In this video, you’ll see a messy tool box in the grinding area with everything thrown in together. You’ll also see how it gets turned into an example of a 2 Second Lean improvement. Instead of a pile of tools and supplies, we now have a perfectly organized cart.



With a clearly labeled spot for every tool, wheel, and other supplies, this cart can be moved to wherever in the work area someone needs it. No more wasted steps from people walking back and forth to get the tools they need. Tools get returned to their proper location, and it’s easy to see if you’re running out of wheels or belts. This 2 Second Lean project is just one example of the continuous improvement that’s been happening all over the shop.


Check out our YouTube channel to see all our 2 Second Lean improvement videos. Make sure you don’t miss the before-and-after video from our own famous “Good Luck with That” Charlie!


If your company is following the principles of lean manufacturing, is your dust collection system keeping up? Lean is everywhere, eliminating waste and improving processes. However, many companies trying to find lean solutions haven’t taken a look at that ancient baghouse rusting away behind the building. Can you apply any of these lean solutions for dust collection?

In our last post we talked about an efficiently running dust collection system, and how this reduces waste and saves time and money. This time, we’re going to look at the system design and see whether yours is as lean as it could be.



You have several pieces of equipment in your building that generate dust. The equipment doesn’t move around, and most of the dust or fume is generated at a particular point. Examples can be a plasma or laser cutting table, a blast booth, a mixing machine, or many others.

The leanest solution for this situation would usually be source capture. Hoods can be located directly over the equipment, or the equipment can be designed with dust collection built in. An example of this is a downdraft system on a plasma cutting table. These lean solutions for dust collection make sure the dust generated at certain spots doesn’t get out into the rest of the area.

Source Capture Dust Collection System diagram



In your facility, welders and fabricators work on assembly of large steel items. The workers usually move around the piece they’re working on. It’s not practical to put hoods over the entire area: the sources of the dust and fumes are moving around, and you would need too many hoods. This would require a huge amount of air flow and huge fans, which is not efficient.

In this situation, the best lean solution for dust collection might be an ambient system. This type of system filters the air in the entire area. It is designed to change over all of the air inside that space within a certain period of time. As it does this, it removes dust and fumes, even if the sources are moving around and can’t be put under a hood. It will keep all the air clean, not just the air around particular machines or work areas.

Ambient Dust Collection System Diagram


You have a machine shop with welders and fabricators working on different equipment at different times. Some of the machines might have hoods over them, and the cutting table might have a downdraft system on it. These are examples of source capture.

Another type of source capture often used in these situations is a fume arm. This flexible arm is situated near the welder, and he adjusts it as he works to capture the fumes. He needs to keep the hood of the arm positioned correctly so it’s catching the plume coming from the welding.

While in theory this is an effective method of source capture, it is not a lean solution for dust collection. Time is spent repositioning the hood. Welders deal with the issue of having the hood in the way of the work area, slowing down the process. It is difficult to position the hood correctly for maximum efficiency. These all create wasted time, worker frustration, and inefficient fume collection. The end result: the fume arms don’t get used, and your system is wasting airflow because it’s not collecting anything at those points. Check out the article where Imperial Systems Inc. President Jeremiah Wann tackles this issue directly. Click Here.

In this situation, your system may be able to do double duty as an ambient and source capture system. You can still have the dust collector attached to the cutting table for downdraft fume collection, and hoods over stationary work areas. However, you need a lean solution for dust collection from your welding or similar work areas.

Having ambient dust collection makes sure that the air in the entire facility is clean. It’s often said in lean manufacturing that the best solution is the one people will actually use. Considering that fume arms are often used wrong or not used at all, they’re not the best lean solution.



For each company or workplace, there are lean solutions for dust collection, but they are different for each situation. Contact us to talk to one of our systems specialists and figure out the leanest way to handle your dust collection.





Lean Manufacturing is about simplifying and improving processes, solving problems, and reducing waste of time and materials. DeltaMAXX filters can help you achieve all these lean goals… for your dust collection system, at least. Here are some ways our filters can help get your dust collector as lean as the rest of your workplace (or leaner):

  • EFFICIENCY – with nanofiber material that is 95% efficient capturing particles as small as 0.3 microns, DeltaMAXX filters keep your air clean and control fine dust better than cheaper materials
  • LONGER-LASTING – with DeltaMAXX you can expect up to twice the filter lifespan. If you’re looking for filters for lean manufacturing, longer lifespan saves money on filter purchases and saves time on several process steps, from ordering to changeouts.
  • LESS WASTE – because nanofiber material is surface-loading instead of depth-loading, dust collects on the outside of the filter, not stuck in the material. Filters pulse cleaner and need pulsed less often, preventing waste of compressed air.
  • RELIABILITY – when you’re buying filters for lean manufacturing, it’s important to know that you will always get consistent quality so there’s no wasted time dealing with filter problems or replacing them too often.
  • TIME-SAVING SERVICE – DeltaMAXX filters come with the customer support only Imperial Systems offers. You’ll work with the same aftermarket team member every time, so they’ll know what you need and make the order process smooth and fast.
  • FIELD SUPPORT – Sometimes keeping your process lean means knowing who to call to solve a problem quickly and efficiently. Our ServiceMAXX team has the experience to troubleshoot and fix a problem fast. No wasted time trying to figure out what’s wrong, and no wasted production having your employees away from their work trying to fix it.

DeltaMAXX Dust Filter Brand

If you’re going lean, every part of your process needs to become more efficient, reduce waste, and improve quality. For these reasons, DeltaMAXX filters for lean manufacturing are one way to move toward those goals. A dust collector problem can shut down a machine or an entire process, and that’s a huge waste. Using high-quality filters helps make sure this doesn’t happen.



Imperial Systems Quarterly Newsletter | Issue II

The Second Issue of Dusty Jobs Newsletter. Articles include How to Troubleshoot a defective filter and a story about the different people at Trade Shows and how they score free gear.

Dusty Jobs Newsletter Issue 2-1


Download DUSTY JOBS | Issue 2 PDF



Your dust collector is supposed to keep dust or fumes from getting back into your facility. That means that the last thing you want to see is what we found when our ServiceMAXX technicians went on a service call to this facility: badly leaking filters in their horizontal dust collector.

How do you know you have leaking filters? Obviously, you might see dust in places it shouldn’t be, like coming out clean air vents. You might also see dust in the clean air plenum of the collector, but this isn’t exactly a place that’s easy to get to, especially in a horizontal collector.

The best way to find out if you have dust getting through a leaking filter is to have a professional conduct a dye test. Not only will this show you whether there are holes in your filters, but it will also show you any other places that dust is getting where it shouldn’t be.



In a dye test, a dye that fluoresces under ultraviolet light is run through the collector just like regular dust. After this has been allowed to go through the collector, everything is inspected with the UV light.

If there are no problems, the dye should only appear on the outside of the filter: the side that is supposed to be in contact with dust.

When spots on the inside of the filter start to light up, you have a problem. Dust isn’t supposed to be on the clean air side of a filter, and if the dye is getting through, dust is too.



When our service technician visited this company, he found filters that looked like this:

Leaking Filters Dust Collector Filter

Leaking Filters around the edge of dust Collector

The blue marks show where the dye accumulated after running through the system. This allowed the service technician to discover the locations of several problems. Some of the filters had holes in the filter media, which was probably caused by large particles hitting the filters and damaging them.

Some of them also appeared to be leaking around the gaskets. This is a common problem in horizontal collectors because of the yokes that support the filters, which are easily bent. This can pull the filter away from the tube sheet or the door and cause leaking filters.

Leaking Filters Leaking around the gasket in the Dust Collector

This photo shows how much dust was sitting on the yokes. These are inside the filters and should never have any dust on them unless you have leaking filters.

Dust Collector Filter Yoke

Our technician then took a look inside the clean air plenum to see how much dust had been getting past the filters. The results weren’t good:

This valve in the clean air plenum should have no dust on it or in it. The dye test showed a large amount of dust accumulating inside the clean air plenum. This dust can be very difficult to clean out, even after leaking filters have been replaced. If there is dust in the clean air side of the collector, it will continue to get into your clean air stream even after the filter issue is fixed.



Any system can benefit from inspection by a trained technician. This can find problems you didn’t know were there, or things that can be fixed to prevent a problem.

Some problems that may be identified by a dye test:

  • Defective filters with manufacturing flaws
  • Failure of gasket seals
  • Damage to filters due to large particles hitting them (or being handled incorrectly)
  • Filter material damaged by high differential pressure
  • A bent or warped tube sheet (usually a problem in horizontal collectors)
  • Other areas where dust is getting through
  • Dust in the clean air plenum from past leaks that needs to be cleaned up


One frequent cause of filter failure is using the wrong filter media for your dust. DeltaMAXX nanofiber filters are highly recommended over cheaper and less efficient material, and for special applications media like spunbond PTFE can be used. The wrong filter media can cause filters to fail very quickly.

DeltaMAXX Filters

As another good reason to have a technician pay a ServiceMAXX visit to your facility, the inspection and dye test results can be presented in a report to prove that your facility is in compliance and everything is up to standards.

To The Limit – Understanding Exposure Limits

To the Limit - Understanding Exposure Limits


To see the article and the rest of Fab Shop Magazine Direct go here: http://magazine.fsmdirect.com/2017/may/d/#page32 or visit their website here: http://www.fsmdirect.com/safety/433-to-the-limit



Differential pressure in a dust collector is the difference in air pressure between the dirty and clean air sides of the filters. Most manufacturers recommend that you keep a regular log of the differential pressure measurements. But did you know it might also be required in your air quality operating permit?


Each state issues its own air permits to any business that is going to create any kind of air contaminant. There are different types of permits, depending on the state, the type of pollutant, and the size of the facility. Sometimes businesses are permitted to operate without a permit as long as they comply with certain regulations.




The EPA’s Clean Air Act applies to operations that are major sources of air pollution or particularly dangerous kinds of air pollution. If your company is required to have a Title V Permit, you have very strict regulations to follow, and are required to certify your compliance yearly. If you use baghouses, cartridge collectors, or similar types of particulate collection, a record of differential pressure monitoring is often required.


What if you have a state-issued permit, though? Does it say you have to keep a log of your differential pressure? And what happens if you don’t?


Your state’s air permits may require that companies using baghouses (the EPA and many state agencies refer to all fabric filter particulate collectors as “baghouses”) keep a differential pressure log. Others may not require you to keep a log, but might require that you take certain actions if the differential pressure indicates a problem.


If there is no log of your system’s normal differential pressure changes, you may not know when there’s a change indicating a problem. Unusually high differential pressure might indicate that your filters are being blinded off with dust, and they need to be changed. If the differential pressure is much lower than expected, it could mean you have a leak in your filters or somewhere else in the system.


If you don’t keep any kind of log of what your differential pressure is normally, you won’t have a record to show a state or EPA inspector who comes to renew a permit or to look into a problem. Even if your permit doesn’t specify that you are required to keep a log, it’s good documentation to show that you’ve been diligently monitoring your system function.




Dust collector manufacturers recommend keeping a differential pressure log, regardless of permits or regulations. Monitoring your differential pressure over time will allow you to see when your filters are getting close to needing changed. This lets you order and have replacements on hand, and it’s much more efficient than having to shut down a collector because the filters are so blinded off that they’re not working.


Monitoring can also alert you to other problems, such as leaks in the system that let the air take a shortcut around or through holes in the filters. Any sudden or big changes from your normal differential pressure should be a warning that something might be wrong.


Here’s an example chart from an electronic differential pressure recorder. Every application would have a chart that would look different. For example, the system in this chart only runs for one shift each day and does off-line pulse cleaning during breaks and lunch. You can see the pressure drop after each of these off-line cleanings during the day.


Differential Pressure Monitoring over a day infographic


How you record and monitor the differential pressure depends on your system. It can be monitored by having someone record the number at specified times every day, or by having an electronic monitor that tracks it. Each system’s normal differential pressure graph will look different. The point is to know what your system’s “normal” is so you can tell if anything changes.


If you do have an air permit, it probably contains some statement that you’re responsible for monitoring and maintaining your equipment to prevent air contamination. It might not specifically say that you have to keep a differential pressure record… but keeping that record is a great way to show that you have the monitoring and maintenance bases covered.




A spark trap (also called a spark arrestor) is a critical part of fire prevention in a dust collection system. They help block sparks before they can start a fire. We hope to answer some of your most frequently asked questions about our spark traps here. You can also watch the video below. If you need more information, please feel free to contact us.

  • How do spark traps work?

Our spark traps have impingement plates that cause turbulence and direct sparks and embers toward the walls of the spark trap, which knocks them around and causes them to lose heat. A screen blocks larger debris from passing through.



  • Why do I need a spark trap?

This is one of the most common questions. If there’s a danger that a spark could travel through your ductwork and ignite combustible dust or other materials, a spark trap may be an important part of your fire prevention system. If you need to know whether a spark trap will work for your application, contact us and we’ll help you find out.


  • What size spark trap do I need?

This depends on the size of your ductwork. We manufacture to fit almost all diameters. Our standard sizes are 6 inches to 40 inches but larger ones are available.


  • How do I connect the spark trap to my ductwork?

To make it easy to install, you can choose from three end types. We manufacture them with a raw end, a flanged end, and a quick connect end for clamping. Larger models can be heavy and may need hangers or other support.


  • Where in the ductwork does a spark trap go?

This is another one of the frequently asked questions. They can be installed vertically or horizontally. For proper functioning, the length of duct between the spark source and the spark trap should be at least one duct diameter, and between the spark arrestor and the dust collector should be at least ten times the duct diameter. A shorter distance will prevent the spark trap from working correctly and is not recommended. If you have a question about the length of ductwork, we suggest that you contact us for assistance.


  • What kind of maintenance does a spark trap need?

Our spark trap comes with a drop-down cleanout door that removes easily. This allows you to clean out debris and dust. There are no moving parts that need to be maintained.


  • Can they be used for high temperature applications?

If the temperature of air going through the spark trap will be higher than 200 degrees F, please contact us with details. There are options for higher temperature applications.


  • Does a spark trap work for every application?

There are some applications where spark traps will not be able to function properly. They do not usually work well for applications with wood chips or sawdust, or applications with sticky or fibrous material. We can help you determine whether a spark trap will work in your system.


  • Is your spark trap guaranteed to stop all sparks?

Another one of our most frequently asked questions. No spark trap is guaranteed to stop all sparks. Our design is as effective as a spark trap can be. A spark trap is an important part of a fire prevention system, but it should not be the only part. Our model meets all NFPA standards. We will take the time to help you decide what equipment will best meet your needs.




For any air filter, it’s important to know how efficient it is at filtering out dust and particles from the air. The problem is that not all dust is the same size. This will give you some idea of the different dust size that a dust or fume filter might have to deal with:

Dust size versus the MERV rating of a DeltaMAXX cartridge dust filter



A micron (also called a micrometer) is one millionth of a meter. As shown above, a human hair is about 80-100 microns. A sheet of paper is between 70 and 180 microns thick. Most fibers for use in making clothes are somewhere between 10 and 50 microns.

Here are some other things measured in microns:

BACTERIA – 1 to 10 microns

RED BLOOD CELL – 7 microns

MIST/FOG DROPLET – 10 microns




MERV stands for “minimum efficiency reporting value”. It is determined by testing a filter to find out what dust size it can filter. What’s important isn’t just the dust size, though. It’s also the efficiency: how much of that dust a filter can capture. There are three general categories of dust size used by ANSI/ASHRAE: E1, which is particles from 0.30 to 1 micron, E2, from 1 to 3 microns, and E3, from 3 to 10 microns.

The MERV rating tells you what percent of particles in that size range the filter will capture. Here are some examples:

MERV 6 – between 35 and 50% efficient for dust size bigger than 3 microns

MERV 10 – between 50 and 65% for dust size from 1 to 3 microns

MERV 15 – between 85 and 95% for dust size smaller than 1 micron



Your filter needs to have the right MERV rating for your dust size. For an industrial dust collector, this is especially important for meeting OSHA regulations, keeping your facility clean, and keeping the collector working efficiently.

Metal fume particles and other industrial dust can be smaller than 1 micron. If you look at the chart above, you’ll see just how small that is. It’s much smaller than many other things you can’t even see.

Metal fume and smoke particles can also be dangerous for your health, so it’s important that a filter catches as much of that dust as possible.

DeltaMAXX nanofiber filters have a MERV rating of 15. This means that they will capture between 85 and 95% of particles in the 0.30 to 1 micron range.

If your dust is very hazardous, like hexavalent chromium, you may need to add a HEPA filter. These don’t have a MERV rating: their rating is usually between 99.95% and 99.99%.

So why not use HEPA filters for everything just to make sure? First, they’re expensive. Second, catching that dust size means that the filters have to slow down the air a lot and have a lot of resistance. This isn’t necessarily what you want happening in an industrial air filtration system. For most industrial applications, MERV 15 is efficient enough.


We’ve talked a lot about how the Shadow handles weld fumes and meets the need for a powerful, portable fume collector in weld shops. The Shadow can handle a lot more than just weld smoke, though. Here are some of the applications this versatile source capture collector can handle:


Welding Source Capture with the Shadow



Instead of a fume arm, the Shadow can easily have a hose that attaches to other metalworking equipment, such as a cutting table. In a bigger shop, a cutting table might have its own fume collector. If your shop is smaller or the cutting table doesn’t get used all the time, the Shadow might be a great solution. You could hook it up to the cutting table, then easily roll it to the welding area, put the fume arm back on, and use it there.



Do you do grinding work that gets dust all over your shop, but not enough to need a full-sized dust collector for it? The Shadow’s source capture arm doesn’t just have to go over a welder. It can also go over any other dust-producing work area, like grinding or sanding. The collector takes up minimal floor space, and when you’re not using it, it’s easy to roll it out of the way.



In a woodworking shop, you might have dust being produced at a lot of different places, depending what you’re working on. One big dust collector could handle it all, but maybe your shop doesn’t need something that big, or maybe you just need something to handle one spot that’s extra dusty. The Shadow can move around your shop to wherever you need it, and the source capture arm adjusts to go exactly where you need it.



OSHA’s new silica laws are very strict about controlling exposure to silica dust. If you have stone cutting or grinding going on, the Shadow can be moved wherever it’s needed for source capture of silica dust. Not all portable collectors are built strong enough to handle abrasive particles like this, but the Shadow is designed to work on almost any type of dust. It can go from stone cutting to woodworking to a cutting table, and it can do it as often as you need it to.



If you’re collecting metal fumes, wood dust, or other combustible materials, a plastic collector could have a serious problem. If a fire occurs, a plastic collector could end up as a charred, melted lump, but the Shadow’s sturdy metal design will still be standing strong. If you’re going to be rolling a collector all over your shop, a cheap design that can’t handle the stress isn’t the best value. The Shadow’s nanofiber filter works with everything from wood dust to weld fumes and pulses clean for low maintenance and high efficiency.