T-Grão Cargo Terminal handles 4 million t/y (3.6 mil. mt/y) of organic granular materials that created excessive dust emissions. Located between a naval facility and a civilian boarding area, fugitive dust would travel from four conveyor belt transfer points, yielding complaints and triggering government inspections and fines. Operators attempted several solutions from numerous vendors, including dust bags, but none worked adequately. Spillage resulted in a workplace hazard and extra labor costs as 45 workers cleaned transfer point areas over a 24 hour period every month. Inspection reports, port relations and operating costs prompted managers to seek a more viable solution.
Martin Engineering was one of the vendors invited in to inspect the problem and offer a long-term solution. While other vendors offered expensive new transfer point solutions, Martin technicians suggested that airflow was the issue and simply recommended the installation of a customized EVO® Skirtboard Cover to existing equipment. The pitched cover design alleviates environmental problems caused by fugitive dust emissions by ‘shedding’ debris and material in the settling zone. Airborne particles agitated by the transfer remain within the enclosure and are allowed to settle back into the cargo flow rather than escape. By controlling airflow, less burden is put on dust bags and spillage is dramatically reduced.
All four transfer points were retrofitted during scheduled downtime, incorporating the existing dust bags. The results were immediate. Fugitive dust emissions to the surrounding area were eliminated and dust in the work areas was reduced to sustainable levels. Labor for cleanup has been cut to only a small crew cleaning as needed. T-Grão has now budgeted for EVO® Skirtboard Covers on all of its transfer points throughout the facility. "We are very satisfied with the solution," said a manager close to the project. "We also decided that going forward, a Martin service contract was more economical than attempting to handle all the maintenance ourselves."