Welcome back on this journey to learning how to read the User Manuals of the top six amalgam separators sold in North America. Our first segment started with the amalgam separator that requires the least amount of work, maintenance or inspection, the M.A.R.S LibertyBOSS.
Before we took some time off this blog series to write about the many Dental Conferences M.A.R.S was attending; we had just finished writing about the assembly and installation of the Air Techniques Acadia. Part 1 of this blog highlighted the recommendations for pre-installation and assembly of the Acadia. Part 2 touched on installation recommendations. Today we will be continuing part three on the Air Techniques Acadia amalgam separator, reviewing the inspection requirements of this system.
Inspection of the Air Techniques Acadia
Similar to the inspection schedule of the all the SolmeteX systems and Crosstex brands; the Air Techniques Acadia requires a WEEKLY inspection. Unlike those brands, Air Techniques does not provide an inspection log, something their customers will have to create for themselves, as it is required by the EPA Regulation. It is recommended that Dental Practices with an Air Techniques Acadia keep two inspections logs;
1) For filter inspection and maintenance
2) For the built-in solids collector inspection and maintenance
Acadia Filter Inspection
All filter based amalgam separators require WEEKLY inspections for two major reasons; clogging and filling. Currently, all amalgam separators with filters reduce their interior diameter to ¾” or ½”, causing an issue with clogging and filling.
When inspecting the Air Techniques Acadia’s filter, it is recommended to use a flashlight. Unfortunately, due to the design of the filter, even with a flashlight, it is hard to determine the capacity of the filter.
The settling portion of the Acadia filter retains the solids using a foam barrier. This design is a very elegant solution to separate the solids from the fluids. Unfortunately, it also makes it difficult to see the sludge level within the filter. The design of the system often results in either an office over the spending on changing filters too often or the more common, an office is left non-compliant as they do not have the require visual confirmation of the sludge level in the filter. Air Techniques does offer some assistance in the estimated service life of a filter based on the size practice. The chart below is a fairly accurate service life of the Air Techniques Acadia filter;
The “users” in the chart refers to all users, especially Hygienists, as it is their use of prophy paste that fills amalgam separators faster than any other substance.
Checking for Clogging
The inlet to the Air Techniques Acadia filter is the smallest of all the centralized amalgam separator at a ½” inlet.
The upper chamber of the Acadia requires an inspection weekly to ensure it is clear from particulates that clog the small ½” inlet to the system’s filter.
The clogged upper chamber is a result of either a neglected filter that has overflowed into the upper chamber or larger particulates have entered into the upper chamber and clogged the inlet to the filter. With other amalgam separators like the SolmeteX Hg5 and the Crosstex Cyclone, the clogging of the filter due to large particulates is a common issue. Air Techniques Acadia on the other hand, has a built-in solids collector on the system’s inlet that is designed to capture the larger particulates from entering the upper chamber and clogging the system. The downside to this design, it requires even more maintenance and increases the disposal costs of the system.
Acadia Solids Collector Inspection
Due to the design of the Acadia filter, Air Techniques built a pre-filter to capture bio-film and other large particulates from clogging the small filter intake. Though it is recommended by Air Techniques to inspect this pre-filter once a week, it is worth noting, during any suction loss this filter should be cleaned into a toxic waste disposal container. Many Dental Professionals will tell you, 90% of suction issues in a dental practice is due to a clogged or damaged solids collector.
When cleaning this basket, the person should dawn protective equipment, as they will be exposing themselves to methylmercury and other biological material. Some of the equipment that should be worn are;
* Respirator rated for mercury gases
* Long clothing
Preventative Maintenance, Inspection, and Troubleshooting Video To review much of the material covered in this blog, please review the Preventative Maintenance video below.
Due to the complexity in the design, maintenance, and inspection of the Air Techniques Acadia, this blog series will continue to discuss;