By Didier Heckmann (RCX Managing Director) and Georges Serra (RCX Maintenance Manager).
What is the purpose of a dust collector?
A dust collector is an industrial equipment essential to our process of transformation and treatment of the materials we recycle. It is an industrial filter that captures gases and dust as close as possible to the emission sources during the various phases of the treatment of used lead-acid batteries.
As set out in our sustainable performance charter, the purpose of this equipment is to protect our workers and the environment in order to minimize fugitive emissions, whose values are set by our “arrêté préfectoral”.
Dust generated by our activity is therefore collected and filtered by this tool, thus allowing a working environment with controlled and clean air in the battery treatment areas (at the outlet of the crusher and trommel), drying (dryer tube and storage area for dry and volatile products) and truck loading.
This device is 13 meters high, with a diameter of 5 meters. It is equipped with 306 filter bags for a total surface area of 692 m². A turbine driven by a 90 kW motor provides a capture rate of 77,000 m3/hour.
Why replace the dust collector?
The old dust collector was built in 1974. It had been regularly under maintenance throughout its operation but due to increasingly complex and expensive repairs over the years, it came the time to replace it with a more modern and efficient tool.
The new filter has many advantages: it is permanently resistant to the condensation of corrosive gases, is fully automatic, requires little maintenance compared to the previous one and meets our need for performance while remaining compact. The new model is a stainless steel appliance, fully insulated and heated on the outside to limit the condensation of gas charged with sulphuric acid. Its cylindrical and vertical design eliminates possible material accumulations in the dust collector, which could lead to generating weak areas. Its design allows us to eliminate cleaning interventions in hostile environments.
Finally, in terms of safety and environmental protection, it offers real advances: it is equipped with continuous measurement of dust emissions and in the event of a malfunction, the system generates a total shutdown of the plant. In addition, to protect the device, the crusher and dryer tube lines are equipped with automatic monitoring and shutdown in the event of incandescent particles.
What were the key aspects of the project?
This was a major project for the RCX site in Villefranche-sur-Saône. Apart from the civil engineer works and the stainless steel chimney that we were able to keep, it represents an investment of approximately € 850,000.
For this project, we called upon several partners such as Lysair for the removal of the old dust collector and the assembly as well as the mechanical and electrical connection of the new dust collector. Prémys was in charge of removing polluted filter sleeves and bags and GreCon was in charge of fire protection. The various civil engineering and network transfer works were handled by Recylex’s technical departments. Beyond the very tight intervention deadline, the dismantling of the ducts and the former dust collector was the most sensitive operation of this project.
The work was carried out during the period of technical maintenance of the site during the summer. The work lasted three weeks, in accordance with the initial schedule, thanks to the joint and coordinated efforts of all project partners and RCX teams. The new dust colletor was put into service on August 26, 2019.
What are the expected results of this investment?
This investment demonstrates our commitment to improving working conditions for our employees and our environmental protection approach for the benefit of all our external stakeholders. It is also an important step to ensure the long-term production of the Villefranche RCX site.
The technical performance in terms of filtration compared to the previous dust collector is better, and this investment will a make it possible to perpetuate and make our environmental performance even more reliable. Capturing dust as close as possible to the emission areas is the main goal to help reduce fugitive emissions in the future. It also extends the life of our filtration system, with lower maintenance and servicing costs.