Why are Fumes Dangerous?
Welding generates gases and smoke containing various types of oxide particles. In addition to oxide particles, many processes also produce gasses such as carbon dioxide and ozone. These gases can be dangerous if ventilation is inadequate. Weld fume also contains additional small particles. The size of the particles can influence the toxicity of the fumes. Smaller particles present a greater danger.
Factors to Consider for Fume Extraction
There are multiple types of weld fume collectors, also known as weld fume extractors, that can be suitable for your process. There are many variations in welding applications to consider. Airflow, loading, and fume properties are some factors to consider. Additional factors include:
- Fume generation rated duration, frequency of operations, and work practices (particularly distance of the plume from the breathing zone) the effectiveness of ventilation.
- The generation rate of fumes and gases varies with the composition of the base metal, fluxes and fillers, and with the rate and depth of welding or cutting.
There are many types of hood designs for plasma, laser cutting and welding ventilation. Two examples are:
- Source capture or enclosing hoods are the most effective in controlling contaminants. However, they can restrict access and force reconsideration of material and product handling. Another option is capturing hoods. They are less effective than enclosures but can be adequate if properly used.
- General ventilation filters air in the entire room to reduce the airborne fume concentration. Consider this method only if source capture is not possible and/or practical. Because general ventilation does not remove fume at the source, it does not limit exposure at the worker’s breathing zone.
Donaldson Torit offers dust and fume extractors to help you design the right ventilation system for your shop. For additional information, see the Products section below.