Mining Publication: Maximizing Air Quality Inside Enclosed Cabs with a Unidirectional Filtration and Pressurization System
Enclosed cabs have been used on surface mining equipment for many years to protect equipment operators from health and safety hazards. The surface mining and quarrying process is a highly mechanized process that generates large quantities of respirable dust. Due to economic factors, more older mining equipment is being used today than in years past. With this older equipment, it is common to observe deterioration of many components on the enclosed cabs which greatly reduce their protection effectiveness. NIOSH has performed a number of different field studies, as well as a comprehensive laboratory study evaluating various factors and parameters regarding enclosed cabs. NIOSH has recently completed a cooperative research effort with Sy-Klone International and Vulcan Materials Company to evaluate the effectiveness of a newly designed uni-directional filtration and pressurization system that brings all the clean filtered air in at the roof of the cab and extracts all recirculated air near the floor. This design provides the highest air quality to the equipment operator. Testing on this new system showed an almost 10-fold reduction in respirable dust inside the enclosed cab. The uni-directional design is easy to incorporate and should be considered for all new and retrofit systems in surface mining equipment.