Ashes to Ashes – Dust to Dust

If you want to be the best, then you need to work with the best.  The best designs, the best raw materials, the best processes and the best partners.

Such sentiments are clear at Salix, the high quality, handmade cricket bat manufacturers who have established a well respected brand with their no compromise on quality ethos. When they needed an LEV system check for their dust extraction, they came to Fercell Engineering, with sustainability and efficiency front of mind.

Established some 28 years ago by Andrew Kember, a time served cricket bat maker, Salix’s production is labour intensive and skill intensive.  No mass production, no computerised machinery, every aspect of a bat’s manufacture is controlled right from the cleft to the final finish.

The same level of care and attention given to Salix products is applied to the health and well being of their skilled workforce. So, when looking to appoint a new service provider for their occupational hygiene and testing for their local exhaust ventilation (LEV) systems Salix wanted a partner who matched their values. Containing and extracting dust is a high priority within the Salix factory, due to the obvious wood work they carry out. Our LEV engineer service department were extremely excited about carrying out testing within their factory, firstly for the challenge of ensuring dust was being extracted to a high standard in an environment where dust would be very concentrated but also to take a peek behind the scenes at such a renowned sporting equipment provider.

What happens before a LEV assessment?

A preliminary visit generates a snapshot report detailing what level of service is required and the scope of works which should be included within a COSHH assessment (COSHH is the law that requires employers to regulate the Control Of Substances Hazardous to Health).  This was discussed with the prospective client, Salix in this case and covered areas such as legal duties, current regulations and best practices.

It gave Salix the opportunity to express what they wanted to achieve and illustrate their individuality in their manufacturing processes. It also gave them an opportunity to talk about the prospect of our LEV engineer talking through points to look out for to ensure the safety of staff is kept to a maximum at all times. Our LEV and Hygiene Services Manager, Peter Cheeseman, carried out a filter service and an installation of airflow indicators prior to the LEV assessment in order to get the system to a more efficient working level so that the assessment would not fail at any point.

The LEV Process

Following the consultation process Fercell were delighted to be selected as Salix’s LEV partner, especially considering the synergy of values between Salix and Fercell, which include working with local, UK, suppliers and supporting sustainability and renewability. The environment is top of our list of priorities and this is reflected through the recycling arm to our business.

Peter Cheeseman attended Salix’s Kentish workshops, which are equipped with a varied range of both traditional and bespoke machinery, designed specifically for the manufacture of cricket bats. We can say no more as the Salix cricket bat manufacturing process is something they guard closely and rightly so.

The LEV assessment consisted of observing their procedures and working practices. Then talking through what they were doing and why they were doing it, along with qualitative and quantitative testing. This process ensured that Salix staff knew what to look for on a daily basis with regards to their dust extraction system and whether it was working effectively or not. If a dust extraction system isn’t working efficiently it can cause harm to staff and in extreme cases, lung diseases or ill health.

Points covered included:

  • Location and position of enclosures
  • Location of enclosures
  • Static pressure at each extraction point
  • Ducting dimensions, transport velocity and volume flow
  • Dust filter/collector specification and volume flow
  • Dust filter/collector static pressure at inlet, outlet and across filter
  • Any repairs and details of testing before and after repairs
  • Any potential exposure to dust that staff may encounter
  • Areas of concerns via any notes from an accident book

LEV Aftercare

The figures, findings, comments and recommendations were all included with a detailed report based on the points above, which was sent onto Salix along with system log books,all of which are a legal requirement.

For Peter, our Hygiene Services Manager, the whole experience of seeing how Salix worked and understanding what goes into a cricket has been extremely interesting and he is looking forward to returning in just over a year’s time. He is also on hand to answer any questions that Salix have regarding their dust extraction and any concerns they may have regarding dust within their factory.

Fercell Engineering as a whole are looking forward to a long batting partnership at the crease with Salix.