PLĒCO Brand Portable Industrial HEPA Vacuum Cleaner

The PLECO Brand portable industrial vacuum cleaning system is a new product designed and manufactured by Air Dynamics Industrial Systems Corporation.

The PLECO portable vacuum cleaner is USPTO, patent-pending technology designed with the industrial and commercial vacuum cleaner user in mind. The new vacuum system is built around an all-steel, formed and welded platform designed for intermittent or continuous, heavy-duty use.

Each PLECO portable vacuum cleaner is configured with primary and secondary, High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance1 (HEPA) filtration. This filter combination permits use of the system for toxic metal dusts such as lead, hexavalent chromium dust generated during commercial and general aviation MRO operations, cement dust, organic dusts and many others.

The vacuum system can be configured for use in hazardous electrical environments such as the National Electrical Code2, Class II Division 2 or other areas. The vacuum system is also configurable for collection of combustible dusts3.

Many times, we, the user are unsure if a dust collector or vacuum system is required for a specific operation4.

The first step in the process of determining your equipment requirements is to pose the following question . Do I need a dust collector or do I need a vacuum system? The answer depends on a number of variables.

Generally speaking, we identify the need for specific equipment based on how we intend to use the equipment.

1. A dust collector is typically used in conjunction with a process. This type of system is classified as a high volume low pressure system (HVLP). Think large duct or hoses, i.e. 4” and larger.

An example would be a special ACGIH4 hood attached to a CNC milling machine enclosure where milling of solid carbon blocks is performed during the manufacture of injection molds.

2. A vacuum cleaning system is typically used for house keeping in a plant or shop. This type of system is classified as a low volume high pressure system (LVHP). Think small piping and small hoses, i.e. 1.5” to 2” I.D.

An example would be one or more “operators” using 1.5” I.D. x 25’ to 50’ flexible hose/s use for cleaning up or housekeeping around a mechanical conveyor system.

The question is usually asked, can we use one system for two specific operations?

Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

Let’s find out!

Air Dynamics New Product Introduction for the PLECO Portable Industrial Vacuum System

Q. Can a dust collector be used as an industrial vacuum cleaner?

A. No, if properly selected, the dust collector is a high volume device with little ability to produce the high levels of vacuum (>60 inches of water column) required for the task.

Q. Can an industrial vacuum cleaner be used as a dust collector?

A. I wouldn’t try it, you would be wasting energy. The vacuum cleaner generates lots of vacuum or pressure at the discharge end of the pump but produces little volume.

As we can see, selecting the right tool for the job will insure the job is accomplished with the least cost and effort. We don’t expect you to be an expert in selection of air and matreial moving equipment – that’s why we’re here!

We have a few questions to ask you when assisting you with selecting the right equipment for your application.

Please call us to find out which system would best suite your needs.

Product Support line – 1-800-743-3201

The PLECO portable vacuum is available in sizes and horsepower ranges for a single operator or 4 to 5 silmultanous operators, depending on the hose size and distance material is conveyed.

PLĒCO Brand Portable Industrial HEPA Vacuum Cleaner



1. HEPA – See

2. NEC – See

3. Combustible Dust, handling of – See

4. Specific Operation – See


Combustible dust: Wet Scrubber application

Air Dynamics was contacted by a vinyl flooring manufacturer because there was a problem with their pollution control system. The system was not capturing all the pollutants that were collected from the process. The pollutants were drawn through and existing wet scrubber tower followed by a fiberglass filter house. The air was exhausted through a vertical stack which was approximately 40ft tall, then discharged into the atmosphere.

Existing wet scrubber and filter house pictured below:


The problem:

A significant amount of plasticizers and oils were passing through the system that was installed in the mid-1970’s. The system showed evidence of poor efficiency from the beginning. Process oils and plasticizers were seeping out of every bolted connection on the system.

The scrubber systems poor efficiency was releasing pollutants to the atmosphere. The pollutants expelled from the stack were precipitating out of the local atmosphere and employee parking lot. The employee vehicles were being coated with process oils and plasticizers. As a temporary solution, the company was issuing car wash passes for hundreds of cars per week. This was very expensive and did not solve the main problem. The company president required the facility to install a new pollution control system.

The pollutants expelled to the atmosphere were in compliance with local environmental laws however the local pollution was a problem.

The existing system was using a 125 HP motor operating at 124 amps (100 brake hp). The system also incorporated fiberglass elements used to coalesce oils from the air stream. These fiberglass filters were costly to maintain and replace. Maintenance costs were $57,500 for each time the filters were changed, totaling about $115,000.00 per year for filters.

The company was sending 40 cubic yards of solid waste per year to the land fill from the existing wet scrubber system.

Obsolete Wet Scrubber System Details

21,000 ACFM
125 HP Motor operating at 124 amps / 100 BHP
Annual electricity cost: 2048 hrs. at .095¢ KWH = $19,500.00/yr.
Filtration – Wet tray scrubber followed by fiberglass element, vertical arrangement
Annual filter replacement cost: $57,500.00 x 2 replacements/yr. = $115,000.00/yr.
Annual filter media disposal Volume: 40 cubic yards
Labor to replace filters: $1,950.00 x 2 replacements/yr. = $3,900.00/yr.
Weekly Maintenance: 16 man hrs./wk. x $65/hr. = $1,040.00/wk. x 45wks. = $46,800.00/yr.
Filter Disposal: $2,000.00/yr.
Total Annual Operating and Maintenance Costs (O & M): $187,200.00/yr.

When solving customer problems, whether it be pollution control systems or air and material moving systems, Air Dynamics Industrial Systems begins with a blank sheet of paper. Since we are classified as a rapid manufacturer, we are able to design a solution based on each critical element of the problem.

This approach to problem solving requires more upfront effort and investment. The benefit to this approach is apparent immediately upon system startup. Our clients now have a system designed to meet each challenge presented during the discovery process.

Air Dynamics compiled a list of the problems to solve, including maintenance problems. The goal was to remove and install a pollution control system that is efficient and effective with very little maintenance requirements.

  • Efficient: The design, energy and space required to affectively remove the pollutants from the airstream.
  • Effectiveness: How well it removes the pollutants.

We looked very closely at the maintenance requirements to design out as much maintenance as possible.

New – Air Pollution Control Device :

New Low Energy High Efficiency Wet Scrubber System Details

Design – Air Dynamics Corporation
Engineering – Air Dynamics Corporation
Manufacturer – Air Dynamics Corporation
Installation – Air Dynamics Corporation
21,000 ACFM
40 HP Motor operating at 40 amps / 31 BHP
Annual electricity cost: At 2048 hrs. = $5,083.00/yr.
Filtration – Fixed Media
Media replacement cost: 1x every 4 years $1,250.00
Annual filter media disposal volume: 0, now 100% recyclable
Labor to replace filters: 2 men x 8 hrs. x $65/hr. = $260.00
Weekly Maintenance: Dec 07′ to date $0.00/yr.
Filter Disposal: Recyclable
Total Annual Operating and Maintenance Costs (O & M): $6,593.00/yr.

Part of Air Dynamics approach is to use a Rapid Manufacturing method for the new system. We quickly perform our design, manufacture and install the entire system in a short amount of time in a turn-key manner. This allows for minimal downtime and cost savings for our clients production process.

Maintenance Issues:

In the old system, to service the primary scrubber, they had to climb up a ladder to the first level, then second level and a third level had wooden planks (very shaky) just to inspect the scrubber. This took 16 man hours a week to perform all the required maintenance tasks. They needed to improve safety, so we designed a horizontal layout for the new system at ground level.

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Another maintenance task involved the employees to suit up and use a crane to hoist the fiberglass filters out because they were soaked with oil. Air Dynamics developed a modular, lightweight filter array that did not absorb the oils. Our design premise was exact opposite of the old system and accomplished the goals of the project.

Project comparisons and highlights:

The old pollution control scrubber weighed 25,000 pounds –
The new system weighs 10,000 pounds

Overall energy usage was reduced about 78%.

Filter media is replaced every 4 years and 100% recyclable.

The system is performing excellent since December of 2007. Minimal maintenance has been required. The entire system costs $6,500 per year to operate and maintain. O&M costs were reduced by 96%. We removed approximately 100k pounds of scrap steel and installed 25k pounds of stainless steel.

The end result is an system with low energy usage and high efficiencies to keep the entire process running smoothly and cost effective for the company.

Central vacuum for explosive dust


Recently OSHA has re-issued a safety directive to all of industries including manufactures of products that use or produce combustible dust in their process. One reason for the reissue is due to an explosion in a sugar refinery in 2008 where 14 people died along with the total destruction of the facility.

Industry has had numerous explosions in the past, one occurred in China during the production of the Apple iPad and iPhone. This incident underscored the hazards of working with combustible dusts that can be found in wood products, food products, aluminum and metals processing as well as a number of other processes.

There was a change in the thinking after the sugar plant incident and Congress has allowed OSHA to enforce previous recommendations. Now they can inspect, fine or shutdown a manufacturing or processing operation if necessary.

The problem:

In the manufacturing and production process, there were misunderstood guidelines or, they were not enforced at the plant or local levels. Cost is a factor as well because a dust collection system, especially one fitted with explosion protection did not contribute to the bottom line. However, if the process explodes with loss if life, there is more incentive to make the investment for a safe and cleaner workspace.

Manufacturing can create particulates and excess debris during various stages of the process. The handling of this debris can fall into several categories:

  • Industrial ventilation: This type of system can be designed to control all forms of pollutants created in the workplace.
  • The production of combustible dusts: Combustible dusts are collected by industrial ventilation systems with special add-ons and engineered controls to mitigate the risks associated with collecting combustible dusts. These hazards are closely controlled through OSHA directive CPL_03-00-008. See the link below.

The directives are closely tied to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) which is an independent organization that issues guidelines based on residential, industrial and commercial applications.

OSHA Directives include general house-keeping practices to help mitigate the chance of an explosion. Dust is generated from the manufacturing process and usually finds its way throughout the facility via the HVAC system and drafts from open doors, rising air currents, etc. Both NFPA and OSHA have guidelines on the amount of material that can accumulate and how often it must be cleaned up. This task is accomplished by using industrial portable vacuum systems and industrial central vacuum systems specially designed in the event a spark ignites a deflagration inside the vacuum system collection area.

In the past, compressed air was used to blow off the area. Brooms and shovels were and are used to clean up dust and debris – this comes with the associated risk of creating an explosive dust cloud. This activity usually contaminates other areas of the facility. Today, there is a high demand for industrial vacuum cleaning systems that can help workers in most plants by removing combustible dusts and properly collecting it.

Example Application:

A food ingredient manufacturer wanted to clean up spills of fruit pectin around a food manufacturing facility. They needed a small system that would have 2-3 users operating it at the same time. Air Dynamics provided the system proposal and it quickly became apparent that the cost of explosion protection system was more than the cost of the vacuum system. Industry is not accustomed to the add-on costs associated with explosion mitigation systems such as explosion suppression, explosion isolation and explosion venting. Air Dynamics is also sensitive to these costs because it adds to the overall price of the vacuum system. We set out to design a system, by following the NFPA guidelines that produced a very economical design for our client.

We provided our client with complete 3D drawings to aid the approval and installation process. The engineering firm found Air Dynamics to be the most helpful resource for their customer application.

The innovative design also saved the end user well over $6,000 in annual explosion suppression system inspection costs per year in addition to the $25 thousand dollars required for an explosion suppression and isolation system. Now, there are no maintenance costs and no up-front costs for explosion suppression, isolation or venting.

Call our vacuum system experts to learn more about vacuum cleaning systems for combustible dusts

Industrial Fryer – Potato chip fryer / scrubber

An Industrial fryer, scrubber or Air Pollution Control Device for commercial cooking is mainly used in two applications:

  • Made to order food in commercial restaurants
  • Food manufacturing of continuous cooking. This includes mixing and formulation of batches of recipes which are then cooked in continuous fryers.

Most of these operations are running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Case history:

Industrial fryer in non-compliance within a US EPA “non-attainment” area


The United States Environmental Protection Agency is focusing its efforts to reduce pollution in certain areas across the country. These areas, called US EPA non-attainment areas are receiving more attention from State and Federal regulators in an effort to curb air pollution. The US EPA non-attainment areas are usually in low lying geographic regions of the country, such as large river basins and valleys. Examples are the Ohio River Valley and San Fernando Valley.

Pollutants are categorized as Criteria Pollutants and Hazardous Air Pollutants (HAPS)

The criteria air pollutants and precursors are:

  • CO – Carbon monoxide
  • NH3 – Ammonia
  • NOx – Nitrogen oxides
  • PM10 – Particulate matter (10 micrometers diameter or less)
  • PM2.5 – Particulate matter (2.5 micrometers diameter or less)
  • SO2 – Sulfur dioxide
  • VOC – Volatile organic compounds

Hazardous Air Pollutants (about 188 of them) start with Acetaldehyde and end with Xylenes.

The Potato Chip Fryer Stack Scrubber was designed to remove particulate matter and oil mist from the Fryer exhaust generated by the potato chip or frying process. In addition to Particulate Matter (PM) the food manufacturing frying process emits oil mist.

Air Pollution Control Devices can capture these pollution emissions to within State and Federal limits.

Several options are available to limit pollution from high capacity fryer operations.

Air Pollution Control Device Examples for High Capacity Fryers are:

  • Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO)
  • High Velocity Cyclonic Scrubber
  • Low Velocity Mist Eliminator

These areas are mostly river valleys, bay areas, etc. and if they are not within the EPA guidelines the state must enforce the laws and each environmental district must comply with the law.

This particular site (Potato Chip Maker) was within a US EPA non-attainment area. Upon inspection of the environmental permit, one of the commercial fryers was not in compliance. In this instance, the pollutants in pounds per hours were about a pound per hour (particulate matter in solid and liquid form). The limit was .75 pounds per hour. The commercial fryer was approximately one quarter pounds per hour over the limit.

This issue was brought to Air dynamics by an environmental testing firm because they had prior experience with Air Dynamics success with a different scrubber application.

We visited the site and collected the data. Then, we discussed several approaches with the new client on the best way (at the lowest cost & least maintenance) to solve the problem. The State recommended the “BACT” – “best available control technology”. This was a Regenerative Thermal Oxidizer (RTO). The RTO had a 200hp requirement to run the motors and fans and needed a two inch natural gas line to feed the burner. While this was a viable option, the cost was over $1million to acquire the equipment and many thousands per year to operate and maintain.

Another technology investigated was a Cyclone Scrubber. Basically this is a very tall tower approximately 50 feet high. This tower required substantial steel supports and the equipment required 30hp to operate. The customer did not want to invest the capital to construct the steel structure required.

Solution and Results:

We listened to concerns and designed a scrubber that was easy to access and only 4 feet tall. By using a horizontal configuration and low pressure drop design, we reduced the height significantly and energy consumption was only 15hp. The investment in comparison to an RTO was one fourth the acquisition cost of the RTO and fractionally less to operate. Total cost was approximately 40% less than the Vertical scrubber as well as 50% less in horse power.

We designed the system to remove at least .46lbs per hour, again to minimize cost. During final testing total pollution output was .3 lbs per hour. The design and removal efficiency exceeded our estimates by 40%.

Averse to maintenance ourselves, our goal is to reduce or eliminate maintenance, period. In this case, we designed “CIP”into the system.

Clean-In-Place literally cleans the inside of the unit, similar to a dishwasher. After a year in operation, the result is zero maintenance but still requires periodic inspections. The system is constructed of 100% stainless steel. Even though this was a custom project it took about 10 weeks to manufacture with 6 weeks for the design process.

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The unit and the exhaust from the fan was
designed to keep structural requirements to a minimum

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The ports, on right, after the fan exhaust were oriented to avoid
the requirement for scaffolding during stack testing saving the customer added expense and contributing towards safety.

Project Notes:

Other units would have had to be ground mounted due to the extreme weight:

  • RTO system – 100,000 lbs.
  • Cyclone Scrubber – 4,000 lbs plus wind loading
  • Air Dynamics Scrubber – 2,000 lbs.

This system was 10,000CFM with a stack temperature of 228 degrees and a super-saturated air stream. We were able to use the existing controls from the previous system that provided adjustable flow with a 30% turndown ratio.

This is the first “green” chip manufacturer in the state of Pennsylvania. Other chip makers typically do not have such controls on their fryer stacks. This system has been operating since July of 2010.