JAPAN:TONER CAUSES RECYCLING PLANT EXPLOSION

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JAPAN:TONER CAUSES RECYCLING PLANT EXPLOSION

 user 2008-10-23 at 10:32:59 am Views: 74
  • #20578

    http://www.yomiuri.co.jp/dy/national/20081017TDY02304.htm
    Copy toner caused Kanagawa Pref. recycling plant blasts
    Two
    explosions that occurred earlier this year at recycling plants in
    Kanagawa Prefecture were found to have been caused by photocopier toner
    particles that chemically reacted with oxygen in the air, according to
    police.

    In the technological competition to achieve clearer
    printing, manufacturers are developing finer toner particles,
    increasing the risk of dust-induced explosions.According to the
    Kanagawa prefectural police, on Jan. 7, a recycling plant of
    waste-disposal company T’s Future Co. in Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture,
    burst into flames. The fire destroyed about 1,100 square meters of the
    plant, injuring three male employees.

    On Aug. 28, a toner
    cartridge pulverizer exploded at a recycling factory in Kanazawa Ward,
    Yokohama, severely burning a man who was operating the
    machine.According to investigators, leftover toner contained inside a
    cartridge is believed to have dispersed in the air as a photocopier
    machine and other devices were being compressed in a crushing machine.
    A dust explosion then apparently occurred when scattered toner
    particles reacted with oxygen and caught fire.

    According to a
    major photocopier manufacturer, toner particles made of plastic and
    other materials have been minimized to as small as five micrometers
    (five thousandths of a millimeter) in the past few years.As if tracking
    the industry improvements in photocopy cartridge toner quality, dust
    explosions occurred at a recycling plant in Owariasahi, Aichi
    Prefecture, in 1999, and at a toner manufacturing plant in Hirakata,
    Osaka Prefecture, in 2003. In both cases, the explosions were
    determined to have been caused by toner, bringing the risk to light.

    Some
    recycling plants are equipped with a toner dust collector and an
    explosion control device that sprays a fire extinguishing chemical, but
    companies and plants are not required by law to employ the measures.The
    plant in Hadano, Kanagawa Prefecture, was equipped with a dust
    collector, but did not have explosion control equipment in place.

    During
    questioning by the prefectural police, an official of the factory
    reportedly said, “It would take time and cost money to improve the
    safety equipment at the facility, and therefore, we couldn’t afford to
    take such measures.”Heiji Enomoto, vice chairman of the Dust Explosion
    Committee of the Association of Powder Process Industry and
    Engineering, Japan, said: “[Industrial] safety measures for toner have
    been lagging behind [the technology]. We need to take action, including
    legal regulation, as soon as possible.”