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Preventing Combustible Compounds Threatening Worker Safety

Mid-America machinery


When combustible compounds threaten worker safety, it’s Hastings to the rescue


Mid-America Machining makes blow molds for the bottling industry. Plastic injection people use these molds to make plastic bottles, milk cartons, juice cartons (e.g. orange juice), liquor bottles, and detergents. They were founded in 1988 and are based in Brooklyn, Michigan.

The Challenge

Mid-America Machining sought a solution to provide dust collection equipment for combustible dust. Their molds are aluminum and their inserts can be beryllium, brass, or stainless steel. Their operators sit at workbenches to debur imperfections out of molds and inserts and come into contact with harmful particulates. Dust has a tendency to fly everywhere. In addition to the combustible dust, the beryllium inserts contain components which are carcinogenic, requiring special after-filters in the deburring unit.

There was a danger of the “fire triangle” being completed, meaning the material (aluminum, beryllium, oxygen) would burn from a spark being created from the deburring tool off the stainless steel or brass. Mid-America Machining realized there was increased volatility with all these components being mixed together and knew something had to be done.

In searching for a solution, they would be keeping three things in mind:

  1. Keep the building cleaner
  2. Improve air quality
  3. Protect their workers

The Solution Options

Mid-America Machining’s search was driven by the company wanting to change their entire process from where they were at the time and by them wanting to regain air. They knew about wet scrubbers ahead of time, but Hastings’ competitors did not propose solutions that had wet collectors as an option. One competitor in particular quoted a baghouse with an explosion vent on it which would be ducted to backdraft hoods at each drop.

Hastings proposed a double-sided wet downdraft table at 38” W x 42” D with customized options for additional legroom for Mid-America Machining’s operators. This legroom allowed for a foot pedal to fit underneath the table so a seated operator could control the speed of the deburring device on top of the table. Mid-America Machining was able to see similar tables in operation via site visits, which ultimately helped Hastings secure their business.

Everything looks great. We are very pleased with these units.


The Results

Mid-America Machining’s operators were covered in dust and dirt prior to Hastings’ solution being implemented; now they are cleaner and safer from contaminants. Overall, they are much happier.

A recent check-in with Mid-America Machining’s staff regarding system performance yielded positive feedback. Everything was said to be “running perfectly.”

Corporate Headquarters

5555 S. Westridge Drive
New Berlin, Wisconsin 53151

Phone: 262.364.0500
Toll Free: 800.236.8450
Fax: 800.260.9199

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