How Hilti's Dust Research Centre Measures Dust Exposure

hilti expert knowledge

Since the 1990s, Hilti have been developing a rich competence in the field of virtually dust-free working. In fact, we even have our own Dust Research Centre in Germany, where our Dust Experts actively develop relevant standards like EN 50632.

Ever wondered what a Dust Research Centre does? Or how our experts measure dust exposure? What dust management solutions do Hilti offer? Keep reading to find out...

WHAT DOES A DUST RESEARCH CENTRE DO?

Computational Fluid Dynamics

Our Dust Research Centre plays a central role in ensuring that our power tools are optimised to control dust. At Hilti, this spans the entire development process, beginning at the design stage. In 2016, the centre was reviewed by the British Health & Safety Laboratory (HSL), where it was confirmed that the Hilti test lab meets all rigorous requirements.

Mr Saunders, Principal Ventilation Scientist at the HSL, reviewed the centre and made this comment on Hilti's approach to tackling 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 returning to what a Dust Research Centre does, it 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 to the vacuum cleaner), we can optimise each component and interface.

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. Our experts even 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.

Our Research Centre Dust Experts are also represented in a so-called standardisation committee. This means Hilti can play a proactive role in developing relevant standards that support improved dust control, and why Hilti was actively involved in developing EN 50632.

HOW DO OUR EXPERTS MEASURE DUST EXPOSURE?

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.

Ever wondered how these measurements are taken in real life? The image to the right shows 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 on the Dust Expert's chest.

HILTI'S DUST MANAGEMENT SOLUTIONS

Today, all Hilti electric tools designed for concrete applications can be connected to a vacuum cleaner or specific dust removal system. A harmonised system is one where the power tools, drill bits, discs, blades and other accessories are matched to maximise the volume of dust removed at the source, which is then collected efficiently by the vacuum cleaner.

As well as offering dust technologies, we also support employers to train their teams on the dangers of dust. To find out more, visit our dust page or explore our Hilti dust management solutions.

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