OEM cabin filters were not designed to stop respirable dust

June 06, 2021

*OEM filter media is not designed to mitigate respirable dust.

Dust inside OEM airway immediately AFTER filter.

Fine dust contamination is the main reason for air conditioning-HVAC system underperformance and premature failures. Dust wears out electrical components quickly while dust accumulation inside the system restricts airflow increasing the entire system heat load.

This is due in part to the inefficacy of OEM filters and the harsh and dusty conditions at mine, quarry and construction sites

The design of the original HVAC system by the manufacturer is intended to deliver cooling capacity overall and may not be designed to perform in extremely dusty environments or to be effective at removing smaller fine dust.

The OEM filters are normally intended to filter out coarse dust but not hazardous respirable particulate.

OEM filter from a Volvo EC480 and a CAT 972H

OEM filter from a Volvo EC480 and a CAT 972H

For instance, if HEPA filters were to be retrofitted to an original system, the end result is a system that may not be capable to cool down the cabin from higher air restriction of HEPA filters. The best practice is to use a multitude of controls combined with an environmental cabin (tight against particulate) that is precisely designed with fresh air pressurisation with HEPA filters to control respirable dust.

The BreatheSafe design is a custom system that regulates the correct volume of fresh air delivered to the air conditioning- HVAC system. Thus, minimise the amount of hot ambient air being blown into the cabin – reducing the heat load on the HVAC. The system can effectively keep the operator comfortable even in very hot and humid conditions.

The worst scenario is an air conditioning-HVAC system that is not effective at cooling the working environment leading to unsafe practices such as the operator opening a window for ventilation risking high exposures and allowing the cabin to be contaminated with respirable dust. This situation is hazardous because once respirable dust is inside the cabin; it will continue to be recirculated by the air conditioning system.

This BreatheSafe system has been installed with HEPA primary and HEPA return air filter for equipment working at a cement shed with 8000 hours of operation. It has kept the cabin clean and it has kept the internal HVAC components clean and dust-free.

*Some OEM’s offer a HEPA option.

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