Dust Extraction Installation for Syncreon – The Engineer’s aspect

Western Airducts had been employed by Syncreon to work on the installation of a dust extraction system for their client Lexmark, in Zary Poland. The factory is a new and vast purpose built site where Lexmark will be producing toner cartridges for the consumer market.

This installation was a sensitive one due to the risk of explosion during the filling of the toner cartridges from the powders used. As such this required that all work was carried out to Atex approved standards.

Western Airducts sent a three man team of engineers to Zary to install the extraction system over two floors of this site.

Monday 14th January

We had an early start today meeting at 5am.

After loading the remainder of our equipment onto the van, we set off on what was going to be a long drive to Zary, Poland for our weeks work. First stop was the channel tunnel. We arrived in Folkstone as the snow started to fall and boarded the train to Calais. Once off the train we started our long drive through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany to reach our destination Zary some 700 miles and 10 hours driving away. We reached our hotel at 10pm local time, and after the drive it was time to call it a day and get some rest.

Tuesday 15th January

Today we were to start work on the site, but first we had to undergo a medical before we would be allowed to start working. So after breakfast we were collected by Michael our local Polish contact and taken to the doctors, here we had a quick check over before being sent to the Hospital for further tests at the hospital we saw the Optician, the Ear specialist and the Neurologist. We all came through our check-ups and where given the necessary permissions to commence work in Poland.

On arrival at the site and after introduction to all the various people in charge of different aspects of the job we started by unloading our delivery or equipment from England that had arrived by lorry, this got us warmed up as it was -5 degrees with about 4 to 5 inches of snow on the ground.

Once the lorry was unloaded we set about checking over the Filter unit that had been delivered directly from our supplier Donaldson back in the England.

When we were satisfied that we had all the equipment required for the job we split the tasks between us, Gary started work on the ground floor of the site setting about installing the 8 articulated arms that would provide the extraction to the machinery in this area. Whilst he did this Colin and I started to assemble parts of the filter unit so that it was more or less ready for installation the next day once our crane had arrived.

After what was a productive day, despite what seemed a slow start due to all the medical tests and formalities we headed back to our hotel, for what turned out to be a delicious dinner and a good night’s rest.

Wednesday 16th January

Another early start today, we all felt that if we are here in Poland we should spend as much time on site as possible and really set about the work we had to do.

We had a bit of a wait today for the correct crane to arrive as the initial one sent to us was not capable of moving the 1.5 ton filter unit the distances we required.

Whilst we waited for this we all worked inside which was a blessing in some ways to be out of the biting wind. Gary had installed all eight of the articulated arms on the previous day so we worked on connecting them up with ducting and the preassembled parts that had been manufactured for us back at the work shop in Midsomer Norton. We worked on this until we were in the position that all was left to do was to install the branch of duct work that would connect to the filter unit once this was installed.

At this point early in the afternoon, the correct crane arrived and so Colin and I went outside to assist with the moving and installation of the crane whilst Gary moved upstairs to the second area that we were installing arms into. Upstairs was to be fitted out with four larger articulated arms. Here Gary discovered that the fire wall that the arms need to be fitted against was too soft to take the weight of these heavier arms, but this didn’t slow him down for long and he soon had a solution for this and had overcome the problem.

Outside the crane driver was doing well with the positioning of the filter unit and fan. First we positioned the bottom section of the filter this consisted of a large stand and the dust collection bin, then for the trickier part of the movement we had to get him to lower the top section of the unit down on to the stand. This required very precise actions with a slow and steady approach, despite the language barrier the two sections of the filter unit were smoothly joined together without any problems at all. So we quickly fixed a few of the bolts into place to secure the parts together, next the fan was dropped into position by the crane driver and then finally we had him move the main stack for the outlet of the fan into place, for this we need the help of Gary so we called him out into the cold. Once these parts were all in place we decided that due to the high cost of the crane to our client that we would continue the rest of the installation with a fork lift and cherry picker and so sent the crane home.

Once the bulk of the heavy work was done Gary went inside to continue upstairs, whilst Colin set about measuring up to position the large non return valve that was required because the equipment was serving an Atex sensitive area and work out precisely where the duct work would enter the building. At this point he came up against our second little issue. The building work was ahead of schedule and a down pipe for the roof guttering that wasn’t meant to be in place had been installed directly at the point where we need to make our hole in the building to allow the duct work through. This was mainly an issue to use because it meant we would have to move the Non return valve back towards the filter unit, and the problem here is that it needs to be a minimum distance from the unit to operate correctly. Colin looked at the problem and after consultation with the office back home and much re measuring a safe workable solution was found.

Whilst Colin adjusted the duct work to accommodate the solution to our problem I finished fixing the two parts of the unit together and making sure everything was secured and correctly earthed.

After a long full day we returned to the hotel ready for more food and a rest.

Thursday 17thJanuary

Back on site early today my first task was to start fixing parts of the duct work to the unit whilst Colin and Gary continued to install the duct work inside.

I enlisted the help of the site forklift driver and then between us in broken communication we installed several sections of the heavier gauge steel duct required by Atex regulations, he lifted the parts into place whilst I fixed them together from the cherry picker.

Once we were ready Colin came from inside to help with the fixing of the Non return valve and bend. After this we had the alignment need to see precisely where the holes in the building need to be positioned, so between them Gary and Colin cut the first hole and then we were ready to complete the down stairs section of the job. Because we had worked ourselves into a good position in the days before it did not take long at all to finish this area and then as Gary sealed and finished off, I fitted earth bonding to all of the joints to ensure continuity to earth for extra safety precautions. Meanwhile Colin was outside cutting the hole in the building for the upstairs branch of the duct work. Once this was done we all moved upstairs to complete this section as well again due to the amount of work we had already achieved the joining of the Arms and the main duct went smoothly and well.

By the end of the day we had been on site for about 13 hours but we headed back to the hotel knowing that it was our last night and that after a few hours of tidying and finishing off we would be heading home tomorrow.

Friday 18th January

Back on site bright and early on what was the coldest day yet, with a very chilling biting wind. We set about finishing off any areas that need to be done. Gary and Colin worked inside checking ducting and earth bonding the duct work upstairs whilst I fitted the control panel to the filter units and wired the air cleaning system to this.

Once all of these little jobs had been completed Gary and Colin cleared the site and loaded the van whilst I went over the installation with our client’s representative. Once he was happy with our work we said our good byes and head back to the hotel to freshen up collect our belongings and head home.

The journey home went well and was interspersed with Gary’s music quiz and games of who wants to be a millionaire to break up the monotony of the drive. We drove the whole distance through snow arriving at Calais to board the Euro tunnel just as he really heavy stuff started to fall. Finally I arrived home at 1am on Saturday morning, I was the lucky one as I would be heading to me bed as Gary and Colin continued their drives home.

Working in Poland was an interesting experience and a bit of a challenge, the main points being the distance we had to travel (we gained a minor amount of celebrity on site for driving so far so quickly) and the language barrier, although the later was often overcome with the help of our excellent local contact Michael, whose English was brilliant and was a very helpful and nice guy.

Soon I will return to commission the system, thankfully this time I will be flying.


Alex Barker, Engineer

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