There are many applications where fume extraction is necessary and/or required by law. Manufacturing and assembly operations, repair centers, salons, ect. Anywhere where there are harmful fumes and particles in the air that can be detrimental to worker health and safety.
In any type of welding or soldering applications, there will be smoke and fumes. These fumes contain a variety of toxins depending on the materials being used. Welding applications can expose workers to high levels of manganese toxins because welding rods contain high levels of manganese to strengthen the metals that are being joined. Manganese toxins enter the bloodstream quickly targeting the respiratory system, central nervous system, blood, and kidneys. Prolonged exposure to welding fumes may cause various types of cancer, including lung, larynx and urinary tract.
Soldering applications can expose workers to lead oxide fumes, aliphatic aldehydes (like formaldehyde) and hydrochloric acid, as well as gases containing benzene, toluene, styrene, phenol, chlorophenol and isopropyl alcohol. All of which can cause loss of appetite, indigestion, nausea, vomiting, constipation, headache, abdominal cramps, nervousness, insomnia, nose/sinus/eye/throat irritation, skin rashes, and long-term problems may include asthma and dermatitis.
Nail salons are another industry where fume extraction is very important as there are chemical vapors, odors, and dust including ethyl methacrylate (EMA), titanium dioxide, benzoyl peroxide, methacrylic acid, polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), acetone, gel & acrylic nail dust. These chemicals are damaging to employees and to customers. Not only is employee safety paramount in any industry, services such as nail salons have the added need of maintaining customer safety and satisfaction. If a customer experiences negative side effects due to chemical inhalation the chances of them returning are diminished and chances of them sharing their poor experience with others is increased, this can be detrimental to a salon business.
Those are just a few examples of applications requiring fume extraction. So now that we know that fume inhalation is dangerous and that there are many applications where fume extraction is necessary, but what is the solution? What can employers do to maintain a safe working environment? We know that the answer is extraction, but what type of fume extraction is best for your application? We can discuss the types of extraction that are available and then you can decide what is best for your application.
The quickest and most affordable solution is a benchtop fume extractor. These are smaller, direct plug units that can maintain a clean air workspace for up to 8 employees per machine which can be the perfect solution to many applications including solder, rework, manicure work, ect. A benchtop fume extractor uses filters and suction to keep harmful fumes and particles out of the air and contained until disposed of. They are easy to set up and maintain, and can quickly be moved to any location that needs fume extraction.
Large scale soldering or welding operations, or even a large salon/cosmetology school may find more of a benefit in a whole building fume extraction system where a central unit is installed and the building is outfitted with ducting and vents that maintain a constant level of air filtration. This can be a costly option due to the amount of work that goes into an installation, but maybe the best solution for operations where fumes are constant, the volume of fumes are high, or where the number of employees is such that individual extraction units are impractical. These units pull fumes and particles through vents installed in the building, the air gets filtered and processed in the main unit and can then be discharged into the atmosphere or recycled back into the building.
Those are two solutions when looking for a fume extraction system, what will work best for you will depend on the factors we’ve discussed – the type of fumes, amount of fumes, number of employees, ect. Of course, there will be many factors that your individual application will require that may not have been mentioned here, this article is only meant as a guideline to help you start thinking about proper fume extraction and what goes into it. Production Automation offers many benchtop/workstation models of fume extractors online, and we can be contacted at 888-903-0333 or at [email protected] if you have questions about fume extraction and how best to manage fumes in your application.