Welding Fume Extraction


Have you considered the danger of fumes in your workplace? We offer a complete solution of removal in every environment with our comprehensive range.

We provide specialist equipment for each process, from dealing with torch extraction and portable units for mobile welding applications to offering a complete installation package for multi-user fume exhaust systems.

Our products are CE approved and manufactured in Europe to the latest European standards and are second to none in build quality and reliability.

We offer the full technical support that you require to deal with any welding fumes, call us free to discuss your requirements on 0800 975 9710.


HSE Regulations

Organisations who are found not in compliance with the HSE enforcement expectations of protecting workers health can expect to be given an improvement notice, enforcement order or fine. There is no leniency regarding this matter as businesses are expected to have already tackled this problem. A fabrication firm was fined £12,000 plus costs for failing to comply with HSE regulations.



FAQs

Why do I need a welding fume extractor and are welding fumes toxic?

The fumes and smoke generated during the process contain hazardous metal particulate and this must be taken care of to ensure the welders's safety. Ventilation is key as the particulate can settle (having previously been in the air) on the work area, clothing and electronics creating additional work and health and safety issues. It's recommended to utilise for the removal of harmful gases, especially when MIG welding.

3 steps to welding fume extraction

  • Avoid or reduce exposure
  • Use local exhaust ventilation (LEV) to remove the fume away from the source
  • Use suitable respiratory protective equipment (RPE) to protect workers from inhaling fumes

Why effective removal of fumes is vital

Exposure can be deadly. Potential illnesses include occupational asthma, pneumonia, cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and ‘metal fume fever’ which are all linked and widely found in facilities where welding and cutting take place.

Should LEV systems be tested?

HSE COSHH regulations state that LEV systems must be maintained, examined and tested at least once every 14 months (or more frequently depending on types of contaminants). To conduct thorough maintenance, examinations and tests, a qualified LEV engineer must be used. The tests may include air sampling and all records must be kept for a minimum of 5 years.

AES Industrial Supplies Ltd has an LEV qualified engineer who regularly inspects LEV systems for businesses at competitive rates. To enquire, please contact us.

How do you control welding fumes?

  • Use alternative cold joining techniques
  • Weld in ways that produce less fumes
  • Local exhaust ventilation (LEV)
  • Use respiratory protective equipment (RPE) and personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • maintain control measures and general ventilation
  • make sure welders understand the risks and how to use controls

When should LEV (Local Exhaust Ventilation) be used according to the HSE?

  • Moderate to high volume MIG/MAG production welding, small or medium-sized parts, welding on a bench or in a screened off area
  • Welding on carbon mild steels and aluminium
  • High volume production welding using TIG on stainless steels or aluminium
  • Welding of stainless steels for stick welding, using MIG, MAG, Flux cored or MMA
  • Arc air gouging
  • Welding or hot cutting galvanised materials (e.g. zinc plated)
  • Welding or hot cutting materials containing cadmium, painted with lead or chromate paints
  • Automated cutting of flame or plasma requires LEV extraction, but this is usually built-in
  • Automated multi-head resistance welding machines

What to think about when buying a welding fume extractor?

Ensure the capacity of the unit is powerful enough. For example, an operating flow rate of 1480 M3/hr is more than adequate to remove at source. Ensure the filter is sufficient, many manufacturers use less efficient filters to minimise cost, an advanced E12 Hepa filter removes 99.5% of fumes. Avoid MDF Hepa filters, many well known brands are surprisingly still using these outdated Hepa filters as they are inexpensive to manufacture. However, their tendency to burn very easily has caused serious safety issues in the workplace so make sure to check the cost of replacement filters. Also, low priced extractors usually have overpriced replacement filters.

To discuss the above points in detail or to find out which equipment will suit your needs, call free on 0800 975 9710.

What are the dangers of not using fume extraction?

Increased risk of respiratory health effects including lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), occupational asthma, welder's lung and irritation of the throat and lungs.

How does a welding fume extractor work?

Welding and grinding can create harmful fumes and gases, a fan draws out those fumes into a cleaning system, eliminating harmful gases and preventing inhalation.

Exactly how much fume extraction is needed when welding?

Frequency/duration of welding Type of welding Good control practice
Sporadic low-intensity welding Gas, MMA, FCA, MIG, MAG LEV where reasonably practicable. Otherwise good general ventilation & RPE
Regular and/or highintensity welding Gas, MMA, FCA, MIG, MAG LEV and consider supplementary RPE
Regular and/or highintensity welding outdoors in the open air Gas, MMA, FCA, MIG, MAG, TIG RPE where LEV is not reasonably practicable
Sporadic low-intensity welding TIG and resistance spot welding Good general ventilation
Regular and/or highintensity welding TIG and resistance spot welding LEV



What is local exhaust ventilation (LEV)?

It is an ventilation system that extracts airborne contaminants such as dust, mists, gases, vapour or fumes out of the workplace preventing inhalation.

Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) for welding

Use on-torch as this is the most effective fume control for MIG welding when it is set up and used correctly. For other types of welding fume where on-torch cannot be used, use LEV with a movable fume capture hood. Ensure the correct set-up so it can be used without compromising weld integrity.

On-torch extraction is effective because

It's integrated with the welding gun, it moves with the weld, it's very close to the source of the fume at all times and it doesn't rely on the welder to reposition the extraction gun to maintain fume capture.

Extraction directly at welding torch

The torch is easily connected to the correct unit for capturing most of the hazardous gases. The extractor is positioned directly on the welding torch always ensuring accessibility, work becomes flexible, and the capture rate is fantastic.

Extraction with extractor arms

The arms are connected to a vacuum filter system removing contaminants from the air. The extraction arms are flexible, easy to position and does not obstruct the welder. There is no impact on the welding process and the capture rate is fantastic.

Portable fume extractors/filter units

Easily position the extractor arm anywhere that is required in the workshop. If welding is conducted in different locations, a portable solution is optimal. As with fixed extraction arms, they are flexible, easy to position and does not obstruct, ensuring no impact on the welding process.

Industrial welding and grinding table

The tables have integrated extraction of gases, dust and other particles generated during welding, grinding, and polishing. Very suitable for fixed workplaces and covers the surface area of the table. Adjustment of the extraction point is not required and the capture rate is very good.

Fume extraction for welding robots

Nozzles can be mounted directly on a welding machine which protects sensitive electronics and operators who oversee the facility. This solution is available in two variants which are extractor mounted on the welding nozzle or a hood mounted above the robot. Both solutions provide very good capture rates.

What are the different types of welding fume extractors?

  • Portable
  • On-Torch Packages
  • Mobile
  • Wall Mounted
  • Multi-User Systems
  • Downdraft Benches
  • Robotic Applications
  • Systems for Colleges & Training Centres

Health effects contributed by fumes, gases, dust, and particles when welding

  • Cancer e.g. lung, liver, kidney, eye, bowel, intestine
  • Lung infections and dieases e.g., acute pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), Siderosis
  • Occupational asthma, acute irritant-induced asthma
  • Brain damage & neurological diseases e.g., Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
  • Heart disease
  • Infertility
  • Metal fume fever
  • Asphyxiation
  • Ulcers
  • Allergies e.g., dermatitis

What’s involved in an LEV inspection?

Firstly, there’s a check for issues or potential issues to maintain the proper performance and safety of the equipment including the condition of the extraction hose, nozzle, hood, arms and filters. Also, cleanliness of extraction hoods and if there’re moving parts, are they still operational. Does the monitor and airflow indicator read correctly and match the inspector’s measurements. Does the extractor leak fumes and when extracted, does the machine treat the fumes correctly to protect workers and bystanders. If there’s an alarm system, does it sound when not fully operational, such as in the event of a blockage, to warn of a performance issue. If there is a filter warning light, does it switch on when the filter becomes blocked.

Next, a report of the extractor including the machine information, location, customer information, time, date, types of tests employed and the equipment used.

Comparing the results of the test to the benchmark performance, concluding the exact results numerically of each working part, the pass or failure of each test and the result of the inspection. For failing parts, repairs or replacements are recommended.

What’s checked in an LEV inspection?

  • Check for damage
  • Suitable operation of mechanical parts
  • Is there water damage
  • Are there blockages
  • Visual examination of all parts and components
  • Efficiency of filters

Types of extraction

On-torch extraction If used correctly without compromising weld integrity, on-torch fume extraction is the most effective fume control for MIG welding as it removes most harmful fumes at source. On-torch can reach welds where conventional fume extraction arms cannot.

A welding torch with fume extraction attached at the tip of the torch extracts fumes directly above the welding pool. The nozzle at the end of the torch has an opening which is where the harmful fumes are extracted when welding. The fumes are suctioned through the torch, treated, and filtered in the collector before being safely released.

Multi-user extraction

Multi-user extractors in workshops with multiple welders, multiple workstations, or multiple welding machines maybe more efficient and cost effective than individual extractors. They can be uniquely designed and configured to the needs and requirements of businesses.

Mobile fume extractors

Mobile fume extractors are ideal for at source extraction for heavy welding applications which also has the flexibility of free movement around the workshop. Mobile extractors have wheels, a large extraction nozzle and hose, and are light enough to move around the work area.

Extraction arms

Extraction arms are ideal for small workshops or workstations and can be fixed and mounted to walls. They’re easy to use, adjust and convenient as they have high manoeuvrability and stability. The MasterWeld extraction arms are heavy duty and suitable for small to medium welding applications and is suitable for welding large objects.

Key performance indicators of fume extraction

Filter pressure

The higher the pressure of the filter the more power and emissions are produced from heightened cleaning cycles. To obtain the definitive performance of airflow, the quality of filter cleaning and the filter life expectancy is measured through differential pressure.

Duct pressure

To ensure proper extraction of fumes, gases, dust, and particles from the environment and provide clean air, the pressure in the ducts and hoods can be assessed to ensure the airflow is adequate and the extractor operates appropriately.

Filter cleaning pressure

Too high-pressure filter cleaning can potentially harm the filters, it’ll use more power, and will be louder than necessary. However, if the pressure is not high enough, limited airflow will mean the filter isn’t cleaned sufficiently and the life cycle becomes less due to a lower cleaning effectiveness. In addition, the requirement to clean more frequently consumes more power and raises wear over time.

Smart filters

Smart filters in welding fume extractors detect and monitor which improves planning, minimises the need for planning and decreases maintenance costs. Smart filters can help professionals to predict errors to prevent issues or detect issues early, contributing to a longer life cycle, decreased energy consumption, improved safety, further decreasing the likelihood of fire due to malfunction. Plus, due its intelligence, professionals can efficiently make positive decisions swiftly and productively.

Dust bin level

Common maintenance of a welding fume extractor is the cleaning and disposal of the dust bin contents as it builds up over time. Warning lights can be useful to minimise time spent inspecting several bins that aren’t full as well as avoiding bins from becoming over filled.

Fan performance

Technical data can be found regarding the motor’s life cycle and performance through a variable frequency drive which are common in extractors. Regular inspection of the fan is important as it’s the most energy consuming part and contributes to maximising its life expectancy. Maintenance can prevent problems and acting when experiencing issues such as vibrations can help avoid damage to the motor.

Extraction hoods

  • Workers can be unprotected to welding fumes if they that are positioned incorrectly
  • The work area should not be obstructed
  • Productivity and cost effectiveness can be improved with smart extraction hoods
  • They shouldn’t be used as a substitute for ventilation hoods
  • Shielding gas isn’t extracted
  • Its vital to plan dimensions of arm extractors before set up
  • Airflow can decrease if extraction hose is over contorted

Collecting dust using fume extraction arms

Extraction arms cannot be used as a substitute for vacuum cleaners to remove settled dust and fumes. They’re also not the ideal solution to removal of dust when cutting and grinding, extraction tables are best suited for this application.

Benefits of capturing welding fume at source

Due to smaller parts including nozzles, hoses, fans and motors, fumes can be captured, cleaned, and released more cost effectively regarding factory or workshop utilities. Capturing at source removes almost all welding fume that is dangerous to welders and bystanders, limiting particles that settle on the ground, work benches, objects, and machinery, will in turn, reduce time spent cleaning. Machinery that’s protected from on source extraction, in theory, demands less maintenance, helping to extend life cycles.

Low vacuum fume extraction vs high vacuum fume extraction

This comes down to the amount of room in the working area and the welding processes that are executed. Work areas are required to have plenty of space above head height and around the workshop to effectively install low vacuum extraction arms which can be over 16 feet and contorting extraction hoses can decrease its effectiveness. If portability is required, you need to be able to transport your extraction device, a portable welding fume extractor or on-torch extraction would be best suited. In work areas with limited workspace, again, on-torch extraction maybe the ideal solution.


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Company Registration: 07988136 Registered Office: Olympic House, Collett, Southmead Park, Didcot, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom, OX11 7WB

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