Magazine

Extraction system maintenance, why maximum efficiency is important

Over the years, sensitivity to the environment and safety in the workplace along with growth in technological knowledge have led to the implementation of serious and strict standards for minimizing the emission of pollutants. Technology has developed hand in hand with this requirement by producing complex and differentiated extraction systems that allow a significant reduction in substances that are harmful to health and the environment throughout the various phases in the industrial process.

Generic ventilation and extraction needs vary according to the characteristics of the company’s premises and, especially, the type of manufacturing process, the materials used, and the substances that are released by the processes. Overall, however, it is fair to say that over time a method has been established for improving industrial manufacturing in terms of eco-efficiency. It is important to note that in this light, extraction systems take on a significant importance within the company and is then the focus of various legal provisions and directives from various territorial agencies and organizations. The reference standard comes from the combination of two Legislative Decrees, one regarding the “Protection of health and safety in the workplace”, LD no. 81 from 2008, and the other regarding the “Standards regarding protection of the air and reduction of emissions into the atmosphere”, LD no. 156 of 2006, part V. Provisions and Directives from Territorial Agencies and Organizations are then added to them. These can focus on specific activities and products, such as in the case of the ATEX prescriptions that must be observed so the agency can issue the special certifications needed to obtain the authorizations to treat the production of materials and equipment used in potentially explosive atmospheres.

The operation of these systems, which are at times extremely complex and highly specialized, is particularly scrutinized by the standard since it establishes maximum tolerable environmental emission levels and related prescriptions for each toxic substance. The tabulated activities are then subject to periodic or annual inspections. Sampling methods and emission analysis types, evaluation criteria and conformity to the limit values are provided and described in detail. Extraction System Maintenance is understood as a discipline that is fundamental for protecting the safety and proper operation of these systems that specialize in maintaining emissions within the limits, but also so that the material processing phases are performed in environments that are safe for the worker. Poor operation of a filter or stack or a clogged nozzle in a scrubber clear the way for a discharge of emissions into the atmosphere. Plus, irregular extraction of vapours, odours, and fumes will damage the health of the workers. These all have administrative consequences, including shutting down the business, and even criminal consequences.