Author: Mark Rorabaugh
Company: United States Air Force
Email: (801) 775-4471
Hexavalent chromium dust is eight (8) times more likely to cause cancer than asbestos. Hazardous chromium, cadmium, and other dusts are generated by common industrial processes and all sustainment centers (“depots”) of all Department of Defense (DoD) components subject personnel to these exposures. The Air Force has received numerous OSHA citations in recent years and have struggled desperately and failed to reduce exposures using the best available equipment, which is technologically outdated and consumes remarkable amounts of energy.
This SIBR project is giving the AFSC capability by developing three technologies contributing to the achievement of the DoD goal to eliminate hazardous dust exposure to personnel:
1. An Advanced Continuous-Time Adaptive Ventilation (ACTAV™) blast cleaning enclosure (BCE).
2. A Continuous Hazardous Environment Monitor (CHEM™).
3. A Dust Migration Mapping™ system.
In addition to enhancing DoD system capability, the three dust mitigating technologies, when inserted into blast equipment, will reduce operating costs by supplying “ventilation on demand,” i.e. the right amount of air movement for the task at hand, thereby significantly reducing the energy wasted by conventional systems that can operate at a single “worst case scenario” speed. Maintenance costs and lost production costs will be reduced through machine health monitoring capabilities supported by the ACTAV™ control software, providing maintenance personnel with forecasting and immediate need data, thereby increasing equipment uptime and decreasing unscheduled shutdowns. Measurement of exposures being encountered directly by the operator will provide for more information than simply measuring the general atmosphere. By developing remote monitoring technology, ACTAV response can be tuned to optimally reduce operator exposures.
The ACTAV and CHEM systems are enhancing Air Force capabilities by providing AFSC maintenance depots with the capability to address operator exposures of hexavalent chromium and cadmium to below the OSHA permissible exposure limit (PEL), while minimizing the migration of hazardous contaminants from the BCE to surrounding work areas.