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What Is Fume Extraction and How Does a Fume Extraction System Work

Welding Fume Extraction

During many production procedures, different particulates are being generated. Those particulates pollute the air inside the facility leading to health and work-related hazards and potential damage to production equipment. Fume extraction systems are a logical and efficient solution. But what are those systems and how do they work?

What is Fume Extractor and How it Works

Fume extractors are used to extract and filtrate toxic fumes and dust from work environments. Such systems performance is under close regulation by laws regarding workspaces.

A fume extractor is basically a piece of equipment that sucks the contaminated air with all the particles in it and cleans that same air through a filter (or series of filters) before returning, the now clean air, back in the room. After filtration, all of the dust particles and toxic fumes should be collected within the filter(s).

This process is possible thanks to the fume extractor fan, that generates the suction flow, and the filters, which filtrate the air.

Types of Fume Extraction Filters

Depending on the type of particulates your production processes generate and the results you seek, you can benefit from different fume extraction systems and filters.

Let us begin with the types of filters.

Type of Extractor Filters

Type Efficiency Size of particles
ASHRAE 95% 0.5 microns
HEPA 99.97% 0.3 microns
ULPA 99.995% 0.12 microns
Activated Carbon/Specialty Blends Un-consistent N/A
Micro-Pleat/Cleanable 95% 0.3 microns

Every type of filter is suitable for different application and is effective against different particulates. So what are those applications and who can benefit the most from a fume extractor.

ASHRAE, HEPA and ULPA filters are all designed to catch light dust and provide some particulate control. Those filters can even catch bacteria, which makes them ideal for domestic air ventilation systems, as well.

Activated Carbon (Specialty-Blended) filters are designed to absorb chemical fumes and organic vapour. Often used in pharmaceutical facilities. The efficiency of these filters depends on the chemical being absorbed and their application.

Micro-Pleat (Cleanable) filters are an ideal solution for heavy welding production and facilities where there is a large number of particulates in the air. Any place where there is a lot of soldering and welding being done. The filter is effective against dust particles and some chemicals. Those filters can be easily cleaned via pressurised air applied right next to the filter. The contamination will be collected in a catch can, which makes it easy for disposal.

Types of fume extraction systems

Portable – those extractors can easily be transported where needed, thanks to the set of wheels mounted at the bottom.

Benchtop – mounted right where they are needed. Perfect for soldering workplaces, pharmaceutical sorting or any kind of small scale experiment that could generate fumes.

Enclosed extractors – this type of extraction systems can be integrated into the work table itself. They can also be mounted on a shelf right above the work stand or anywhere else.

Wall-mounted extractors – as the name suggests, those systems are designed to be mounted on walls, usually right above where the fume application takes place.

Stand-mounted – the extractors in this type of systems is mounted on a stand. Depending on your preferences this stand could be permanently attached to the ground or not. If not attached, it can occasionally be moved to another place of interest.

Activities Producing Toxic Fumes

The following are some of the activities in the production process that generate a high amount of fumes and could result in health risks to your workforce:

  • Welding
  • Painting
  • Plastering
  • Sanding
  • Grinding
  • Plastic bonding
  • Working with epoxies
  • 3-D printing

There is a reason for welding to be at the top of that list. Unfortunately, there is a high amount of manganese in the welding rods. Manganese is used to strengthen the welds. However, the inhaling of manganese toxins can lead to respiratory problems. Those toxins enter the bloodstream fast and can also damage the kidneys and the nervous system. On top of that, there are a lot of other toxic fumes, generated while welding different metals.

For your personal or business needs you can get a quality portable welding fume extraction system. Give Ducting Express a call at 01455 818 924 and our experienced advisor will help you pick the right equipment for your case.