Archive for the ‘Spark Cooler’ Category

Special Project: Workshop for Warriors

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

WfW Logo
















On Tuesday, August 27, a truck left the Blender Products parking lot with an exciting shipment – a 34” Spark Cooler ® bound for a metal shop in Southern California. We ship hundreds of times each year, and fabricate countless large units for applications all over the world, so what is special about this one? The destination is what’s special. Workshop for Warriors


Workshop for Warriors is a San Diego-based non profit. In their words,

“Workshops for Warriors assists the transition of veterans and injured veterans into civilian life through mentoring, training, and education. We provide a combination of classroom education, vocational training and work experience that empowers veterans and increases their career options, confidence, and self-respect. Instruction is offered by skilled veterans, active-duty service-members, and industry experts. Our programs work to ensure long-term independence and integration of veterans into the workforce.”

They also provide job placement and startup support, including loans of equipment and tools. Their website highlights a 100% placement rate, with 87 veterans graduated and 241 in training. The waiting list is reportedly around 1500 right now.

We here at Blender are pleased to have donated 100% of the cost of the Spark Cooler ® to be included in a larger collection system donated by Donaldson Torit . We have a number of veterans here and our folks were extremely proud to be a part of this. Here’s a picture of several of us signing the unit before it went out the door.


The whole team here even pitched in to help with the shipping costs, and we were graciously helped in the production by CW Elaborations, who donated the powder coating on the unit.

The entire team here at Blender Products wishes Workshop for Warriors all the best. We are grateful for the opportunity to participate in this unique project and support WfW’s important mission.

Extreme Spark Environment: Seamless Pipe Manufacturing

Monday, May 14th, 2012


The Spark Cooler was recently applied with great success in an extremely high spark environment:  seamless pipe manufacturing. The end-user’s challenge was to extract a high volume of dust from an extremely spark-intensive process and do so in an extremely limited distance. The customer’s Donaldson Torit rep worked with them to design a system which included several Spark Coolers in line, and an extinguishing system from a leading manufacturer. The system went live in November, is working very well, and, most importantly, the facility’s air quality is dramatically improved.

These pictures speak for themselves.

Before & After


Spark Cooler in an extreme-spark environment


This is a great example of what we see regularly:  the Spark Cooler used in concert with a fire suppression system.

Spark Cooler alongside a suppression system

While, in our opinion, a spark mitigation device never should  be used as a standalone device when explosion or life safety are even remotely possible, it is nonetheless prudent to use a Spark Cooler alongside a fire suppression system. Although it’s not apparent in the photos, every Spark Cooler in this installation was in a duct with a suppression system downstream from the Spark Cooler. The reason for having both is that, in many applications, the benefit of reducing the number of  fire events that trigger a spark suppression system (i.e., minimizing downtime,  cleanup, accident investigations, recalibration, etc.), far outweighs the cost of the Spark Cooler. We have close relationships with experts in the fire suppression industry and are happy to make introductions to assist in assessment and design.


Tuesday, March 13th, 2012


The costs of adding higher pressure drop spark reduction devices to a filtration system are often overlooked, and those costs – both in dollars and in energy – are significant. Our team spent some time recently comparing these costs, and brought Jonathan Hale1 – one of the industry’s top authorities on industrial ventilation and combustible dust – into the discussion. Assuming that the cost and disruption of dust collector fires are unacceptable, starting with a baseline cost involved in using the lowest pressure drop tool available, the Spark Cooler, we can detail the additional costs associated with various other spark reduction tools. The bottom line is that higher pressure drop devices increase operating costs from between 83% to over 367% and the devices that can be effective require at least twice the energy. Here is the analysis.




      Energy Use Comparison of Spark Mitigation Devices                


Typical PD @ 4000 fpm (inches of WC)

HP required

Total Additional Annual KWH

(12 hr operation)

Additional Annual Operating Cost

Additional Life Cycle Operating Cost

Spark Cooler






Dropout Box

1.5” +



$      416.61

$     8,332.29

Perf Plates/”Classifiers”

2” ~



$      722.95

$   14,458.97

Typical Static Mixer

2” ~



$      722.95

$   14,458.97

Cyclone type

3” +



$  1,335.62

$   26,712.34


                                   CFM                                             10,000                                               Operating Days/year           261         

                                   Hrs/Day                                       12                                                       $/kWh                                    $0.10

                                   Life Cycle Years                          20




Any restriction to the airflow in a duct will incur a higher static pressure drop and a related higher brake horsepower required of the fan motor. This higher BHP results in added energy being used to power the fan. The fan horsepower equation (HP= ((CFM x PD(in. wg)))/(6356 x Fan efficiency)) is used to determine the additional HP required.




There are a range of spark mitigation tools available and energy costs should be part of the decision process in selecting the appropriate solution for a given application. Some devices are marginally effective and have relatively high pressure loss – in other words, they don’t work as well and they cost more to operate – ouch. Some are more effective, but involve performance penalties, one of which is higher operating expenses. Many of these trade offs can be quantified and all should be factored into the cost-benefit analysis. Most customers we hear from are looking for a highly effective spark reduction device that minimizes the pressure loss penalty needed to deliver it, and we believe the best tools are designed to find that sweet spot.

We’re happy to assist with the analysis of your specific systems. Please feel free to contact us for assistance in calculating your system’s energy costs or other performance analysis.


1Jonathan Hale is a consultant and educator with Air Systems Corp, a firm specializing in developing application solutions to address unique technical challenges in industrial ventilation and filtration, and is also a principal in Air Systems Solutions, Inc  He can be reached at .


Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Over the last few months we have had the privilege to get to know the team at Donaldson Torit, and to review their product line. In short, we are very impressed with both. As the market leader in dust collection, Donaldson Torit continues to innovate, and we saw a classic example of market innovation in the PowerCore product line. PowerCore provides improved performance in a smaller footprint and at the same or lower cost than prior models. The product set most applicable to the metal dust applications, where the Spark Cooler is frequently applied, is the PowerCore TG Series.

Perhaps more importantly, we have seen firsthand that Donaldson is intent on delivering performance. The product and engineering teams work closely together to put the right products and solutions in the right process applications. This is a great fit for us here, as we have always been conservative in applying the Spark Cooler. We’ve found the Donaldson team to be extremely professional and easy to work with as well, so we’re writing this, for what it’s worth, to endorse both their products and the company. At the risk of turning this into a brochure, we thought we’d include some company and product information. See below.


Donaldson Torit Public Website:

Torit PowerCore TG Series Product Page:

PowerCoreTG Series text from their website: The Torit PowerCore TG Series designed for thermally generated dust is reshaping the future of dust and fume collection technology. Torit PowerCore TG is in a category by itself with a footprint up to 65% smaller than most cartridge collectors and smarter technology housed in the widest range of completely packaged and assembled units available up to 10,000 cfm. Torit PowerCore TG is the new way to get cleaner air in welding, laser cutting, plasma cutting, and thermal spray applications. Torit PowerCore TG collectors’ strong and sleek all-welded housing is the ideal fit as a stand-alone on the plant floor or integrated into an OEM design. Factor in the energy saver package, quiet motor and smart controls specifically designed for metalworking, and the choice is clear. Torit PowerCore TG is the best combination of footprint, appearance and performance.

NECESSITY, THE MOTHER OF INVENTION: the origin of the Spark Cooler

Monday, November 14th, 2011

Necessity is the mother of invention. The Spark Cooler is a perfect example. The product was developed in house at Blender Products, Inc. , to address a problem of metal dust spark fires in our own dust collection system. After installing a high-definition plasma table and Donaldson Torit collector on our shop floor a few years back, our production team ran into regular interruptions due to fires in the collector that were not only filling the facility with smoke, but also damaging expensive filters. Our local rep, AirPro,  was great in helping us design and implement alternatives, but the team was never satisfied with the outcome (i.e., subpar spark reduction, large pressure drop, additional maintenance, etc.). Ultimately, we built upon our core technology and developed the Spark Cooler, and have not had a fire since.

Over the years, some have asked us, isn’t this just your static air mixer packaged differently? The answer is that the design of the Spark Cooler is different, and involves a modification of the blade configuration and proprietary sizing that is specific to each size of Spark Cooler.  While our 40 years of experience in engineering, designing and manufacturing equipment to condition air for temperature, velocity, humidity and other profiling, for a wide range of industrial processes, gave us the working knowledge that allowed us to eliminate some designs that make sense on  paper, the Spark Cooler is a unique design. An example of this is that we quickly dismissed the “jet turbine” blade configuration we had used in other applications, knowing that the associated pressure loss outweighed the performance it delivered.

We believe the Spark Cooler achieves the sweet spot of performance to functionally address the persistent problem of sparks in metal dust process application. It is not a spark trap that promises 100% eradication of sparks, but, applied correctly it can dramatically reduce spark counts and the resulting fire events, and it does so with minimal negative performance and operating trade offs.

Connecting at FABTECH 2011

Friday, November 11th, 2011

Off to FABTECH!        Several from our team are heading to FABTECH 2011, and would welcome the chance to meet with anyone interested in discussing reducing combustible dust fires or the Spark Cooler. If you’d like to reach us, please just email us at, and let us know how to track you down.

If you would like to see the Spark Cooler on display, it will be part of a Miler Electric equipment setup at the AirGas booth (#6146), so stop by there, or stop by the Donaldson Torit booth (#5322) to pick up a brochure. Our friends at both Miller (#5950 + #6154) and Donaldson Torit can provide good insight into the Spark Cooler from a 3rd party, and have great technical insight generally.  

If you’re looking for a good restaurant, one of our guys used to live in Chicago and recommended the food at the Rosebud restaurant on Taylor in Little Italy – .

Happy travels to all who will be attending.

Equipment Comparison: Alternatives to Reduce Sparks in Dust Collection Systems

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

As the inaugural post for this site, we thought it would be helpful to address a common question we get – what are the various options for addressing fires in dust collectors and how do they compare? At the outset, we want to be clear that this commentary is focused on metal dust sparks and other dry dust sparks (i.e., technically, “non-carbonaceous” dusts of non-agglomerating materials). In layman’s terms, we’re not talking about grain or wood applications, or sticky or stringy particles. The comments below will speak to metal dust, but for a number of applications, they apply as well to a wide range of materials, including certain fiberglass, rubber, charcoal, and even coffee chaff.

The Problem      MIG and TIG welding, laser cutting, plasma cutting, grinding, and thermal spray processes generate dust, fume and sparks. Because these must be collected for both indoor and environmental air quality, and combustible dust control purposes, these particles and fumes are filtered or collected in collection systems. These hot and, or, burning particles are not benign; the spark particles are conveyed in the gas stream, and can damage or destroy cartridges and filters, duct and arms, and even dust collectors and fume extractors themselves.

Common Remedies        Over the years, a number of devices have been used to reduce or entirely suppress sparks in metal processing applications. These devices range from those devised in house, such as hanging chains in the gas stream, directing the gas stream over water buckets or drums, baffle plates or improvised dropout boxes. Commercial alternatives include professionally engineered and fabricated baffle plates, drop out boxes, cyclone collectors, the Spark Cooler[1], and fire suppression systems. Below is our assessment of the various categories and alternatives, in increasing order of cost.



Overview:           Can be of limited effectiveness, typically involve increased energy use & fan capacity requirement, added maintenance, and numerous iterations to achieve desire results.
Spark Reduction Effectiveness: Low to Adequate
Pressure Loss: High
Additional Maintenance Required: Yes
Secondary Dust Collection point: Yes
Explosion Prevention Device: No
Floor Space Requirement: Yes (typically)
Cost: Low to Moderate


DROP OUT BOXES/BAFFLE BOXES – commercial              

Overview:           Wide range of effectiveness (adequate performance at best), significant pressure drop.
Spark Reduction Effectiveness: Low to Adequate
Pressure Loss: High
Additional Maintenance Required: Yes
Secondary Dust Collection point: Yes
Explosion Prevention Device: No
Floor Space Requirement: Yes
Cost: Low to Moderate


SPARK COOLER              

Overview:           Very effective, very low pressure drop, inline device, no maintenance. Best overall mix of performance, operating benefits and cost. Not for wood or grain, or as standalone explosion prevention. 
Spark Reduction Effectiveness: High
Pressure Loss: High
Additional Maintenance Required: Yes
Secondary Dust Collection point: Yes
Explosion Prevention Device: No
Floor Space Requirement: No
Cost: Low to Moderate



Overview:           Very effective, dramatic pressure drop.
Spark Reduction Effectiveness: High
Pressure Loss: High
Additional Maintenance Required: Yes
Secondary Dust Collection point: Yes
Explosion Prevention Device: No
Floor Space Requirement: Yes
Cost: High



Overview:           “Must have”  item to address combustible dust applications with explosive potential. Significant cost. Does not address ignition source. 
Spark Reduction Effectiveness: 100%
Pressure Loss: Not applicable
Additional Maintenance Required: Yes
Secondary Dust Collection point: No
Explosion Prevention Device: Yes
Floor Space Requirement: No
Cost: High


We hope this has been useful. The thoughts above are based on direct feedback from the field, engineering analyses, and our personal experience on the production floor. If you have questions or input, please comment here, visit our website, or, better yet, give us a call at 800.523.5705. We answer application questions every day, and always benefit by working through real-world issues with manufacturers.


Although it is a brand name, we compare the Spark Cooler here as its own category because, as a patented product, with no comparably-performing products available as alternatives, the Spark Cooler is effectively its own category.