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how to control dust with Hilti expert knowledge

hilti expert knowledge

In our recent article “How to reduce dust”, Saskia, our Services Project Manager explored various measures that support minimising exposure to dust. Since the 1990s, Hilti has been developing a rich competence in the field of virtually dust-free working, so this time we discuss what a dust researcher does and the Hilti dust solutions that can really make a difference.

Hilti has its own Dust Research Centre in Germany where all kinds of measurements and analyses take place. Hilti’s own Dust Experts are part of a community actively developing relevant standards like EN 50632. As a result, Hilti has developed a broad range of dust control solutions for the construction industry.

WHAT DOES A DUST RESEARCH CENTRE DO?

The Hilti Dust Research Centre plays a central role in ensuring that Hilti power tools are optimised to control dust. At Hilti, this means that dust optimisation for tools spans the entire development process, starting already at the design stage. Just recently the Dust Research Centre in Germany has been reviewed by the British Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL) - It was confirmed that the Hilti test lab meets all rigorous requirements.

Mr Saunders, Principal Ventilation Scientist at the Health & Safety Laboratory, who reviewed the Dust Research Centre, commented on the Hilti approach to tackle dust: “It’s clear that the design of extraction has not been added to the tool as an afterthought; rather, it has been embedded into the tool design at an early stage.”

But let’s go back to the variety of tasks our dust researchers do. The Dust Research Centre has a crucial consultancy function for the development teams which spans all stages of product development. As Hilti offers the whole system chain for dust control (from the insert to the tool and the vacuum cleaner), we can optimise each component and interface.

 

Computational Fluid Dynamics

Supporting the product developers with expert knowledge is one part of the job. Our dust researchers also apply Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation as shown in the image. This is a technology that can predict dust flow profiles within the housing of Hilti tools, which are then prototyped and tested by Hilti. The dust researchers also measure the amount of dust generated from Hilti power tools and analyse the portion of inhalable and respirable dust produced. These measurements are completed according to EN 50632.

WHAT IS EN 50632?

EN 50632 is the standard that defines the dust measurement procedures for suppliers of electric motor operated tools. Part one of EN 50632 covers the general test requirements, while parts two and three cover requirements for the dust measurement of certain types of tools.

Remember our busy Dust Experts in the Research Centre? They are also represented in a so-called standardisation committee. This way Hilti can play a proactive role in developing relevant standards that support improved dust control in the industry and Hilti was actively involved in developing EN 50632.

 

HOW DO OUR DUST EXPERTS MEASURE DUST EXPOSURE OF TOOLS?

dust mask

Using EN 50632 means that the results from different suppliers are comparable. One specification is that filters used for sampling are weighed in controlled humidity conditions using a balance to a precision of 0.01 microgram – a necessary, but expensive investment (Hilti’s gravimetric measuring equipment, for example, cost over £9,500.The standard also demands that the tool is used for an hour and the operation is repeated three times, with the average taken of the three dust samples collected.

Have you ever wondered how these measurements are carried out in real life?

Here’s a look at the equipment used in the Dust Research Centre to measure dust. Dust collectors for inhalable and respirable dust fractions including filters for a gravimetrical analysis of the collected dust are worn by the Dust Expert on the chest.

 

HILTI SOLUTIONS FOR DUST CONTROL WHILE WORKING

Today, all electric Hilti tools designed for working on concrete have means to connect a vacuum cleaner or specific dust removal systems (also called DRS in the Hilti world). When controlling dust, it is essential that the complete system around hand-held power tool and vacuum cleaner works well together. A harmonized system is one where power tools, drill bits, discs, blades and other accessories are matched to maximise the volume of dust removed at source, which is then collected efficiently by the vacuum cleaner.

At Hilti we interact with our clients more than 250,000 times every day. This means we learn a lot about the professionals who use our tools, their applications and their specific needs. When it comes to dust control Hilti offers not only dust technologies, but also supports employers to train their teams on the danger of dust. 

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