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To extract welding fumes and protect the welder, at source ventilation is always the most efficient and safe way. In addition, all kinds of measures can be taken to reduce welding fumes and its risks.
There are many systems that extract welding fumes, such as downdraft tables, extraction arms and hoods, filter systems, fans or systems to control the background concentration of welding fumes in a workshop. In this blog we focus on different possibilities to reduce the risks of welding fumes.
Changing the working conditions of welders is a relatively simple way to reduce the risks of welding fumes. Measures that can be taken:
Depending on the particular job, there are numerous options to design the job so that less welding fumes are released. For instance, you can think about:
To some extent the amount of welding fumes depends on the welding method. TIG produces the least fume although it does produce significant amounts of ozone and nitrous oxide both of which are gases that can cause irritation. MIG and MAG generally produce quite a lot more fume. MMA (stick) welding and flux cored tend to produce the most fume. If you can automate the arc welding process then submerged arc welding, ‘hot wire’ TIG or perhaps electron beam welding may be practical and cost effective.
Resistance welding generally produces less fume than manual arc welding processes. An example of replacing manual arc welding with resistance welding techniques is the fixing of fairing aids in ship building. These can be fixed using stud welded bolts rather than arc welding the bracket directly to the hull. There is less fume produced when welding the item and less grinding to remove it afterwards.
Excessive currents and long duty cycles tend to generate excess fume and can affect weld quality. Optimise your shielding gas so you get the best production speed and the lowest fume emissions. All the major welding gas suppliers produce shielding gases which allow welders to lay down welds faster, produce better quality finishes and reduce fume at the same time. Ask your gas supplier which is the optimum shield gas mix for your application.
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