Pharmaceutical manufacturers now have a consensus standard to use in evaluating new dust collection systems. Dust management is a rising concern in pharmaceutical processing facilities, with personal exposure limits, product waste, and security concerns.
Published in June 2016, ANSI/ASHRAE Standard 199-2016 is a voluntary test method for filtration manufacturers. It was developed by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers to improve on Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values (MERV), a rating system developed for HVAC filters but applied to dust collectors in the absence of more-relevant test methods.
Standard 199 measures three performance factors over 48 hours of pulse cleaning, variable dust loading, and failure and recovery that mimic real-world conditions. The entire dust collection system is evaluated—not just the filter element—and a test report includes:
- Operating pressure drop on the filters, which relates to operating cost and filter life
- Particulate matter in the vented emissions, an indication of efficiency
- Energy consumption for compressed air to clean the filters
“The more pharmaceutical manufacturers demand Standard 199 test data from filtration manufacturers, the more our industry will rush to fulfill that need,” said Chris Fischer, Industrial Air Lab Supervisor with Donaldson Company, Inc. and chair of the ASHRAE Standard 199 committee. “The reports will provide apples-to-apples performance data that really matter.”
Until then, Fischer said, pharmaceutical manufacturers should use the test’s performance criteria to ask important questions before making a dust collector purchase.
“Ask about emissions performance, energy consumption, and filter life, which are all interrelated and comprise total cost of ownership,” said Fischer. “A high MERV rating may not be all that important. Emissions released and total energy consumed to run your system for a year may be more relevant performance metrics to your business.”
The ASHRAE Standard 199 committee represented competing dust collector manufacturers as well as end users and leading test laboratories. Fischer is also convening an ISO trade group working to apply the U.S. standard internationally.
“At Donaldson, we’re actively adopting the standard both in our internal test lab
s as well as contracting with certified external labs,” said Fischer. “While we don’t intend to test our legacy products on the market, we’re engineering our new dust collection systems with this standard in mind.”