Ensuring clean air in the welding industry is crucial for preventing serious health risks among welders, enhancing productivity and maintaining compliance with safety standards. Exposure to welding fumes, recognized as a known carcinogen, necessitates safe and compliant working environments to protect welders.
Whether operating a small welding workshop, field welding or a large scale automated factory, Nederman is dedicated to providing fume extraction solutions that meet your specific requirements. Regardless of the welding method employed, be it robotic, cobot, or manual, effective welding fume extraction is imperative to safeguard welders, sustain productivity, and compliance with rules and regulations.
Capturing and filtering weld fume consumes energy so it is important to invest in a system that optimises energy efficiency to reduce operating costs and help manufacturers achieve their sustainability goals. Factors including method of capture, industrial ventilation design, filter media selection and proper service / maintenance practices all contribute to how energy efficient a fume extraction can be.
For simple or complex systems, Nederman brings expertise and industry leading technology to ensure optimal energy efficiency for our customer’s fume extraction solutions.
The health and safety of welders are paramount considerations, given their elevated risk of serious illness compared to other professions. Welding and thermal cutting generate very fine fume particles (< 1μm) that are within the respirable range that can penetrate deep into the lungs and be absorbed into the blood stream. Prolonged exposure to welding fumes pose a wide range of health risks, from mild irritations to severe, long-term conditions like cancer. These risks emphasize the critical nature of effective capture and efficient filtration to reduce worker exposure in accordance with the latest health and safety standards.
Productivity in welding has never been more important due to a variety of factors including welder shortages. Safe and healthy working environments free of welding fume boosts productivity through reduced absences, increased worker focus and motivation. Additionally, uncontrolled welding fumes can accumulate onto machinery, electrical cabinets, and inventory, leading to increased downtime and additional housekeeping costs. Reduced operational costs resulting from improved productivity and reduced downtime are great benefits of effective weld fume control.
Health and safety organizations including HSE, ACGIH, OSHA have established strict permissible exposure limits (PELs) for thermally generated fumes. Even materials once considered less hazardous, such as mild steel, are now widely accepted as carcinogenic and more toxic materials common in stainless steel welding such as hexavalent chromium (Cr(VI)) or manganese have even more stringent exposure limits.
Compliance can best be achieved by applying the Hierarchy of Controls beginning with trying to eliminate or reduce the hazard to acceptable levels. With these being difficult to accomplish in welding applications, engineering controls capturing the fume at or near the source reducing exposure to the welder’s breathing zone is the most common approach to compliance.
As manufacturers invest in welding automation solutions including cobots or robots, it remains important to consider fume extraction when planning for these investments to maintain compliance. While the exposure may be less acute compared to manual welding, higher fume generation rates left unchecked, migrating throughout the factory can expose more workers to the hazards.
In 2019, International Agency for Research on cancer (IARC) classified weld fume as a known carcinogen that can lead to lung cancer.
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