Weld smoke or weld fume is a common metalworking byproduct in industrial manufacturing plants, metal fabrication shops, and technical training schools. They can be a small amount in an isolated machine shop or a major issue to be addressed in production assembled metal fabrication. Concerns might be worker safety, equipment maintenance requirements, capital costs or simply to remove the blue haze at the ceiling or roof line.
SysTech addresses weld smoke and fumes through the use of a variety of industrial ventilation equipment such as mobile or stationary dust collectors, downdraft benches and walk-in enclosures that are designed to meet each client’s specific operation requirements.
- Portable units are mobile and small enough to navigate small spaces. They use either pulse clean cartridge filters or throw away panel filters, depending upon loadings and required frequency of filter change. They typically have a flexible fume extraction arm with a hood and are available in several lengths. In a small shop or if there are multiple isolated locations within a facility that need weld smoke exhaust cleaning, mobility is important, and that’s the way to go.
- A stationary remote central system with duct, hoods and fume extractors. These are ducted systems with a cartridge dust collector located remotely with hoods or fume extraction arms at each weld station or point. If you have a production shop with multiple operator stations, source capture with slotted or canopy hoods than a stationary design might be in order.
- Welding downdraft benches provide a work area or station to position the assembly and can be standard designs or custom.These benches can be structurally reinforced for heavier pieces, modified for crane access, square feet of surface work area can be increased, or have a backdraft hood built into the bench. Because of the number of atypical requests, Custom does not mean expensive or long lead time. Filtration systems located within or adjacent to the bench can be compressed air continuous “pulse cleaning” for heavy dust loadings or filter systems with throw-away filters for intermittent light-duty applications. If a bench is a perfect solution but loadings are heavy, it can be ducted to a cartridge dust collector.
- Welding walk-in enclosures are stand up or bench seating styles depending upon piece being processed. These enclosures can be very large to accommodate large work pieces. Height and width and depth are all adjustable options.
- Custom slotted backdraft hoods designed for the products with adjusted height and width.
- Fume extractor arms provide flexibility with a workspace radius of 25 feet or more. Arms can be adapted with specialty hoods to promote maximum capture. If you’re handling large pieces, fume extraction arms fitted to a central weld exhaust system will allow access to all parts of the assembly.
Workers in welding operations are in continuous contact with potentially hazardous weld fumes and gases. Weld processes such as shielded metal arc welding and flux-cored arc welding produce various types of hazardous small particulate chemical compounds.
What are the hazards of welding smoke and fume?
- Weld smoke fume is made up of 30 to 80 percent submicron-sized particles. Without a reliable weld smoke collection system, these particles remain suspended in the air and are inhaled.
- Hazardous gases can be produced during welding. A weld smoke collector helps to remove toxins from the air.
- Welding stainless steel (Hexavalent Chromium) is now governed by OSHA Standard 29 CFR1910.1026 where the permissible exposure limit (PEL) for Cr (VI) is 5 µg/m³.
Another metalworking operation that generates smoke and fume is the thermal cutting processes of plasma and laser cutting tables. Remote central dust collection systems with exhaust duct and spark arrestor are applied to plasma and laser cutting tables because of the micron size and loading of the particulate. The dust collector would be a cartridge type with nanofiber filter media with a flame-retardant treatment.
What are the hazards of thermal cutting smoke and fume?
- Plasma cutting smoke fume is made up of 10 microns or less sized particles.
- Laser cutting particulate is mostly 1 micron or less in size.
- A fume collection system is mandatory in both cases as these particles remain suspended in the air and post a potential health hazard to workers.
We know that safety is always first and foremost, but if production is important and low maintenance a requirement, let SysTech design your next Welding Exhaust System solution, and all important criteria will be met.