Welding produces hazardous fumes that can threaten the health and safety of workers. Implementing proper welding fume extraction and filtration is crucial to remove these dangerous contaminants. This guide will cover everything you need to know about choosing and installing welding fume extraction systems.
What Are Welding Fumes?
Welding fumes contain a complex mix of metallic oxides, gases, and ultrafine particles that are released when metal is heated. Fumes from materials like stainless steel, galvanized metals, and alloys can contain toxic chemicals like hexavalent chromium, manganese, nickel, cadmium, and lead.
Both short and long term exposure to welding fumes can lead to metal fume fever, lung damage, neurological issues, and an increased risk of lung cancer. That’s why controlling welding fume exposure is so important.
Components of a Welding Fume Extraction System
A proper welding fume extraction system will consist of these core components:
- Extraction Hood – Captures fumes at the welding point using backdraft or down draft airflow design. Often integrated with the welding helmet.
- Extraction Arms – Flexible arms with adjustable hoods to position the extraction as needed for optimal fume capture.
- Air Mover – Powerful fans or blowers to provide sufficient airflow through the system.
- Filtration – Multi-stage filtration to trap particles and hazardous gases. HEPA and activated carbon stages are common.
- Ducting – Metal ductwork that moves contaminated air from the hoods to the filtration unit.
- Ambient Air Filtration – Secondary filtration units to clean surrounding air of any remaining fumes.
Key Considerations for Choosing a System
There are several important factors to keep in mind when selecting a welding fume extraction system:
- Airflow Rate – Higher CFM ratings provide greater fume capture. Match the airflow to the number of welders and workspace size.
- Portability – Mobile filter units with flexible ducting and arms allow the greatest positioning flexibility.
- Filtration Efficiency – Look for high filtration grades to remove the smallest particles and gases.
- Automatic Operation – Fume extraction that starts automatically when welding begins increases consistency of use.
- Low Noise – Choose quieter blowers and filters to reduce fatigue and hearing damage. Sound insulation helps.
- Low Maintenance – Easy filter access and cleaning reduces downtime and operating costs.
Proper Installation Guidelines
To maximize the effectiveness of your welding fume extraction system:
- Position the extraction hood as close to the welding arc as possible without obstructing visibility. Capture fumes at the source.
- Angle extraction arms towards the weld joint to pull in the plume effectively.
- Confirm adequate airflow using anemometers and smoke tests. Adjust CFM if needed.
- Route smooth ductwork to avoid kinks that can reduce airflow. Follow duct size recommendations.
- Change filters per the manufacturer’s schedule to maintain high filtration efficiency.
- Conduct regular visual inspections to check for leaks, damage, or blockages.
Innovative Welding Guns With Built-in Fume Extraction by Translas
An innovative option for integrated welding fume extraction comes from Translas, a leading manufacturer of welding equipment. Translas offers welding guns and torches with built-in fume extraction nozzles that capture 98% of harmful fumes right at the point of welding. The extracted air flows through the torch handle into a flexible extraction hose. This allows for portable point-of-origin extraction without needing external arms or hoods. Welders using Translas’ integrated extraction torches benefit from cleaner air exposure without sacrificing mobility or flexibility. The self-contained design makes Translas welding guns an appealing choice for improving air quality in any welding operation. With high-quality filtration systems, these integrated extraction welding guns provide a compact solution for cleaner, healthier welding environments.
Investing in a high-quality welding fume extraction system is one of the most important things you can do to protect the respiratory health of welders. Removing these dangerous contaminants will lead to fewer worker illnesses and higher productivity. Contact a qualified supplier to design a system tailored for your specific welding needs and environment.