Aimed at: "small" pro users who need efficient and easy dust control.
Pros: lots of them, including easy to move, easy to change bags and filters and very verstaile on or in workshop.
Dust control of all kinds at work sites is very high on the Health and Safety agenda at the moment. We have known about the dangers of dust for over 100 years – historically, the coal mining industry was particularly callous in the way that it treated employees with dust damaged lungs. And yet, when I look about me on building sites and public places, I still see many examples of poor practice. One of the worst examples I have seen was a crew of contract workers laying kerb stones along the Thames Embankment. One worker was using a disc cutter to cut a concrete kerb stone. He had no ear, face or dust protection and the disc cutter had no dust damping or vacuum collection attached. I watched as he and members of the public were engulfed in a cloud of dust as he finished the job.
Hopefully, now, councils and employers are more up to speed, and such sights have become rarer, but I still think that knowledge about dust control is patchy and the advice to people is not as informed as it might be. Anyone who works where dust is created should really take a close look at the latest advice – and I mean anyone from the bloke in a shed to a worker in a huge factory. A very good starting point would be to consult a company like Dustcontrol UK. Its incredibly knowledgeable representatives will not only provide very good advice, but will be able to supply a wide range of machines, devices and accessories to help solve the problems of dust.
And so to the review – most of the dust I produce is via woodworking machines, both static and portable, or on small building and decorating jobs where a wall sander is used before final finishing. After a chat with Phil, the Dustcontrol man, I worked out that the vacuum machine I had been using was not quite up to the job for a variety of reasons, mostly the filters and hose functioning. And of course emptying the thing was a H and S nightmare. Phil introduced me to the DC 2900, one of Dustcontrol’s best selling machines and ideal for use by “small” tradespeople. It is affordable, highly portable, very versatile and will fit into the back of an estate or van quite easily.
The DC 2900 stands over a metre tall, but is quite slim, with a handy set of wheels mounted on the rigid steel chassis, so it is very easy to move, even up stairs and over rougher surfaces. At around 14Kg all up, it is not too difficult to lift either, and lifting is made easier by the addition of an auxiliary handle on the front filter housing. Getting through doorways for example, is actually a lot easier than some of the wider and squatter vacuums commonly used on sites. The result of pulling some of the “squatter” vacuums along by the suction hose is that the machine is pulled over since the wheels tend to be quite small. Dustcontrol have actually built in a solution to the problem by building in a suction hose retainer belt that prevents kinks in the hose and lowers the centre of gravity of the machine so that it can be pulled along quite easily. Working reach is impressive since the machine has a 5m long hose and about 6m of electric cable. Both of these are easy to tidy away – the electric cable is wound around the push handle and the suction hose around the top of the filter housing – thus making movement and storage pretty easy.
Most of the “works” of the DC 2900 is taken up by the all-important filter system. Inside there are two filters. One is the fine filter that is the first line of protection. Inside this filter sits a conical HEPA H13 filter that is incredibly easy to change as it simply lifts out, and this makes regular maintenance about as easy as it could be.
The motor is powerful but very quiet, with typical noise levels of only 68dB(A) and I can vouch for the fact that customers like a vac machine to be as quiet as possible, especially if vacuuming goes on for more than five minutes at a time. The all-important vacuum flow is a very impressive 190 cubic metres per hour via the antistatic, kink free, 38mm diameter suction hose. Anti-clogging is done via a cheeky little rubber flap on the side of the filter housing – a very simple but effective solution.
With the confidence gained from knowing that you are using a top class machine it becomes a lot easier to work safely and to minimise exposure to dust. Phil pointed out that even the traditional sweeping up at the end of the day, usually done by the apprentices, is unsafe because it simply makes dust particles airborne again. Far better to use the robust and carefully designed floor cleaning kit supplied. This has adjustable wheels on the vacuum head so that anything from fine dust to fairly sizeable lumps of plaster can be swiftly vacuumed up.
Emptying a vacuum can be as much of a hazard as working in a dust laden atmosphere, but the DC 2900 makes it as safe and easy as possible. Simply loosen the retaining strap around the filter housing and unloop the handles and the bag slides off. The handles are then tied together to make a package of dust that can be safely disposed of. Some users might be disconcerted that the dust bag is sucked flat by the vacuum during use, but then when the motor is switched off, all the dust that has been collected via the cyclone falls into the bag as the vacuum is lost.
Dustcontrol also makes a good range of accessories for its machines and I was able to see the pointing device demonstrated as well as trying out the core drilling accessory myself. Both collected dust very efficiently and having used the vacuum core drilling device for real, I see no reason why mess or dust should ever trouble your clients’ floors or your lungs again.
Now that I am better informed about dust and dust control I certainly feel empowered to work more safely around dust. Of course it is key that dust control requires a good vacuum machine and the DC2900 is certainly that. It is well designed for safety and ease of use with a huge range of accessories too. The DC 2900 is a very good way to start the proper ongoing protection of your lungs as well as meeting statutory rules and regulations.
For more information, please visit Dustcontrol at www.dustcontroluk.co.uk