The SMAC industrial air cleaner was designed specifically for the harsh environment found in and around steel mills. SMAC room pressurization is the most efficient, cost-effective, and lowest maintenance solution for keeping critical spaces clean.
Traditional room filtration involves a bank of HVAC filters that needs to be changed weekly or even daily to ensure the mill’s employees and equipment remain protected from harmful or conductive dust. These frequent changes can add up to a lot of money spent on labor and filter media.
So How Does Room Pressurization Work?
Opening a door and not feeling air coming out, or even worse, the air being pulled in with negative pressure, is a problem.
Room pressurization with positive clean air keeps conductive dust and other harmful contaminants out! SMAC does this by forcing enough clean air into the room that it is impossible for dust to enter. You can tell when a room has positive pressure if you open a door and can feel air coming out.
Room Pressurization Applications
EAF/LMF Transformer Vaults (see below)
MCC Rooms (see below)
Electrical Equipment Rooms
Operator Pulpits (see below)
Crane Cabs (see below)
Motor Drive Rooms
Laboratories & Testing Facilities
SMAC is the solution for many room pressurization applications commonly found in steel mills. Systems has a long line of successful transformer vault SMAC unit installations. Our SMAC systems are in place protecting EAF and LMF transformer vaults across the country, eliminating conductive dust and arc flash.
The SMAC unit can be sized for any single MCC room or even multiple MCC rooms. The SMAC comes in many different variations. It is modular in design so making a standard model custom is an easy task for any size room. An MCC room pressurization system couldn’t be simpler.
At Systems, we believe Safety is JOB ONE, which includes the air we all breathe. SMAC units can provide HEPA grade filtration to operator pulpits anywhere in your mill, protecting your employees.
It’s crucial to keep conductive dust out of transformer vault electrical systems. An arc flash may cause a fire, explosion, or both. This can shut down all activity and production of a melting process. Replacing a high-voltage transformer may cost several million dollars. Therefore, it must be safeguarded from heavy dust particles.
It may surprise you to learn that an HVAC system by itself is insufficient to guard transformer vault equipment. While air conditioning maintains the temperature, it does not keep the dust out. Almost all steel mills attempt to cool and pressurize a vault with only an HVAC system. Usually filtering it with MERV 12 or 14 filters, they draw ambient air from outside into a room. The fact is, dust penetrates these filters.
Also, using an HVAC system to create airflow does not produce room pressurization. The popular method is to control the equipment heat load by letting it escape through a louver on the other side of the room. The mistaken belief is that this also creates positive pressure to keep dust from entering. But it does not.
True Room Pressurization with SMAC
On the other hand, with a 0.5 micron and larger efficiency, the SMAC nanofiber filter captures all the particulate. Plus, the system keeps calculated, effective room pressure up to keep dust and pollutants out when opening a door. Instead of the old, insufficient method using only an HVAC system, we pressurize the room with clean, filtered air using SMAC technology.
Operating by itself, an HVAC system diminishes the life of transformer vault machinery and components. HVAC filters can’t manage the heavy dust loading and range of particle sizes that SMAC filter technology can. But with both systems working in unison, frequent HVAC filter replacement comes to an end.
Motor control center (MCC) rooms have electrical circuits that must be protected, just like transformer vaults. Arc flash from conductive dust can permanently ruin equipment. There’s a safety danger to workers as well. These unlocked rooms have personnel regularly entering and exiting them. Due to the comfortable air conditioning, some people even have their workplaces set up in them.
An HVAC system is normally installed to try and remove equipment heat and supply clean air for breathing. However, a closed-loop air conditioning system is not creating positive pressure to prevent dust from entering a room. In actuality, an HVAC system will not keep dust out as doors perpetually open and close.
The effectiveness of HVAC systems on dust in steel mills is widely misunderstood. A lot of people believe that cooling a room with HVAC filters will also control the dust. It simply will not. The solution is to pressurize the room enough to keep out the dust while permitting the HVAC to cool it.
This is exactly what the SMAC filter does. It delivers cleaner air under sufficient positive pressure without affecting the system cooling the room. Integrating SMAC with an HVAC system creates the best scenario for an MCC room. That’s in keeping the room cool as dust is being kept out to avoid issues from arc flashing. Plus, HVAC filters no longer load up with dust, ending weekly replacement.
In the thick of the furnace fire and smoke, a pulpit is generally in the filthiest area of a steel mill. Operator safety and electronic equipment in that room face severe challenges.
As workers continually enter and leave the pulpit, the dust gets pulled in through the doors. The air conditioning draws the dust in instead of pushing it out when the doors are open. Operators in the pulpit should certainly not be breathing metal dust in this environment.
Besides respiration, there’s another concern regarding safety. When dust from the furnace gets inside the pulpit, the viewing glass gets especially dirty and impairs the operator’s view. This exposes workers outside the pulpit to danger. It’s crucial that the operators can see all activity below.
There is a great deal of dust inside all areas of the pulpit if it isn’t under positive pressure. In little time, dust will even settle on food sitting in a break room.
With clean, hospital-grade filtered air, SMAC creates positive pressure, which is key. Our engineers and installers design and balance it with any HVAC system to keep the pulpit free of hazardous dust. Another benefit is that the dust loading on the HVAC filters is tremendously reduced. This eliminates weekly filter change-out.
In a mill, crane cabs are run where toxic gas and dust levels are highest. They usually have their own power source with a cooling HVAC system. Filter replacement is usually every few days because of the heavy dust loading in these surroundings.
Also, dust gets inside the cab anyway due to the lack of enough positive pressure. As a result, the operator’s personal safety is at greater risk than is falsely assumed. HVAC keeps the cab cool, but it does not prevent dangerous dust from entering when opening the door.
Finally, metal dust can cause arc flashing in the crane’s electrical components if not safeguarded. Don’t ignore remote-controlled cab-less cranes, either. Every crane rail has an MCC room being that they have their own power. SMAC protects the computerized and electrical components regardless if a worker is up in the crane or not.
SMAC MINI for Crane Cab Filtration
Crane cabs operate where noxious gases and particulates accumulate most in a mill. Our SMAC MINI is sized small enough and light enough to fit on a crane deck, providing HEPA-grade filtration to your crane operators.
What type of room pressurization equipment is best? Fans with heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) filters have traditionally been used but are they the right choice today? Which room air pressurization systems are ideal for steel mill applications like MCC electrical rooms?
While most steel mills use HVAC systems in an attempt to keep areas clean, this is inefficient and ineffective because these types of filters are not able to catch all of the dust particles. When these filters have dust on them it increases the static pressure resistance on the HVAC system and can reduce the amount of positive pressure in the room.
HVAC systems with standard filters are typically rated MERV 5. However, this type of system is not ideal for use in a steel mill. The airborne dust load in a typical steel mill is very high. Standard HVAC filters are not designed to deal with this type of dust load. They will quickly become overwhelmed with dust and will start to block airflow through the system as well as allowing smaller dust particles through the filters.
Also, it is common for the HVAC filters to require changing once a week or even once a day. Besides the expense of constant filter changes, steel mills also must deal with the time and labor required to change these filters. Further, the cost of disposal must be handled since the filters may contain hazardous materials.
Better Than HVAC
Instead of HVAC or HEPA filters, SMAC uses round cartridge filters that hang vertically from a tube sheet. It’s called “self-maintaining” because its filters are cleaned by pulses of compressed air. As a result, they do not require manual cleaning. By using positive pressure from SMAC, critical spaces in steel mills can be kept clean at a much lower cost and with better results. It’s the forefront room pressurization unit for steel mills.