Welding Dust Collector

Welding dust collectors are designed to purify the air in a working environment by filtering out the dust, fume, and mist generated during a welding process. They are also called welding fume extractors or industrial dust extractors. Welding fumes, which refer to industrial dust created by electrodes and materials in metal welding, are mixtures of metallic oxides, silicates, and fluorides. They tend to generate when heavy metals are heated above their boiling points. When the boiling point is reached, the vapors form particles that might be harmful to health.

The welding dust collector is the solution to such serious air quality problems in the welding area. With the rise of manufacturing, domestic production, and the use of more overseas labor, the manufacturers must be conscious of imperative concerns of welding fumes and their effects. The machines are used for a wide range of welding applications in motor vehicles, the aerospace and shipbuilding industry, mining, and agricultural manufacturing.

How Does a Welding Dust Collector Work?

A typical welding dust collector consists of a suction head, a suction hood, a centrifugal motion fan, a spark trapper, a membrane cartridge, a carbon filter, and a dust tray.
 

Suction Head

The welding fumes get extracted by the suction heads which are mounted at the end of the swivel flexible arm. In the welding area, the suction head will keep nearing the welding point from which welding fumes are generated.

Suction Hood and Centrifugal Motion Fan

The welding fumes are extruded by a negative draft created by a centrifugal motion fan inside the dust collector. Through the driving of the suction hood and centrifugal motion fan, the arm with the suction head can complete the extractions.
 

Spark Trapper

Combustible dust refers to the particles that can self-ignite, which might lead to a catastrophic dust explosion and cause injuries, casualties, and serious damage to the equipment and buildings. In the case that the combustible dust generates in the welding area, any small spark that goes inside the welding dust collector will be separated by a spark trapper to protect the filter cartridge.
 

Membrane Cartridge and Carbon Filter

After the extraction, the dust is collected by the cartridge. Then clean air will be released through a carbon filter. The cycle of the dust collection and air filtering will be completed here.
 

Dust Tray

Last but not least, all the dust is eventually collected in the dust tray which is required to be emptied regularly.

The welding dust collector is available in both manual cleaning and auto cleaning. In manual cleaning, compressed air has to be passed through the inlet provided in the machine every day and at a certain interval. The intervals depend on the use of the dust collectors. Filter cartridges have to be taken out and cleaned with compressed air in manual cleaning welding dust collectors. In contrast, air tank solenoid valves and timers are provided in the auto-cleaning type of dust collector. The filter is cleaned automatically through compressed air.
 

Harmful Particles in Welding Dust

Welding workers are a high-risk group for long-term health effects due to multi-heavy metal exposure. According to a study of the Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Council of Labor Affairs for multi-heavy metal exposure workers in Taiwan, workers have higher exposure to heavy metals in the confined space welding area than steel cutting and other areas. Exposure to metal dust particles not only leads to eye irritation, upper respiratory damage, coughs, and headaches, but also results in high risks for having lung and kidney diseases and even cancers over time.

For example, Manganese particles might cause fatigue and headaches, even cause neurological and neurobehavioral diseases over time. Overexposure to manganese can cause a condition called “manganism”, a neurological disorder. Parkinson’s Disease is one of the well-known symptoms. The PEL’s (permissible exposure limits) set regulated by OSHA of Manganese is 5.0 mg/m3.

Other metallic particles also induce a number of health conditions as well. When welding stainless steel or other metals which contain chromium, excessive exposure to hex chrome can lead to upper respiratory problems, allergies, rashes, nose bleeds and nose ulcers, and shortness of breath. When welding galvanized steel, excessive exposure to zinc oxide can lead to metal fume fever. Fever is a short-term illness whose symptoms are similar to severe flu. The illness is often undiagnosed, which is difficult to distinguish from regular influenza.

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