Flux-Cored Welding Fume Extraction
Flux-cored arc welding (FCAW), also known as dual shield welding, is a semi-automatic arc welding process similar to MIG welding. FCAW uses a continuous wire-fed electrode and a constant-voltage welding power supply. The wire acts as an electrode and filler metal and contains a flux in its core. The flux in the hollow center of the wire reacts with the welding arc to form slag which protects the weld from the atmosphere. FCAW produces more heat than MIG and is not best suited for the thinnest materials.
Flux-cored arc welding is a widespread process in the manufacturing industry. However, it tends to generate a lot of toxic fumes in factories. Therefore, fume extraction is either mandatory or recommended by health and safety organizations in all US states and Canadian provinces.
We offer a wide range of solutions to control FCAW fumes.
AIRGOMIG & Portable Vacuum Unit
If you only have a few workstations to cover or need to be able to move easily, an HV103, HV105, or HVMAX portable unit and AIRGOMIG guns will be a perfect solution. The mobile fume collector will provide the necessary vacuum to the fume extraction welding gun and filter the air. Add a remote starter to increase the motor’s life and stop the vacuum noise when nobody is welding, and you will have an efficient, low cost, and elegant solution to your FCAW fumes problem.
AIRGOMIG is the perfect solution for FCAW welding fume extraction as the welding gun is also the extractor. It is always well-positioned no matter how long the weld is or the welding position.
Here are some of the configurations we usually recommend to get the proper airflow at each welding gun all the time:
|Vacuum Unit||AIRGOMIG||Automatic Valves|
|HV103||2.3 hp||225 sq. ft||1||350||0|
|HV105||4.6 hp||225 sq. ft||1||500||0|
|HVMAX2||6.75 hp||225 sq. ft||1||600||0|
|HVMAX2||6.75 hp||225 sq. ft||2||500||0|
|HVMAX2||6.75 hp||225 sq. ft||3||500||3|
|HVMAX4||20 hp||450 sq. ft||4||NA||0|
|HVMAX4||20 hp||450 sq. ft||8||NA||8|
AIRGOMIG & Central Vacuum System
Investing in a central vacuum system for larger projects makes more sense. Our turbines can simultaneously provide vacuum for up to 60 AIRGOMIG guns. Compared to many portable units, a turbine will cost less, take less floor space, require less maintenance, and reduce the overall noise as they tend to be installed outside or in mechanical rooms.
A dust collector might be necessary if you want to recirculate the air or if required by environmental laws. You can also use our HVAV automatic valves to shut off the vacuum on unused welding guns, lowering energy costs and stopping the vacuum noise.
Here are some of the configurations we usually recommend to get the proper airflow (>100 cfm) at each welding gun all the time:
|Vacuum Unit||Dust Collector (opt.)||AIRGOMIG||Automatic Valves|
|HV5||20 hp||DPH2||620 sq. ft||4||0|
|HV5||20 hp||DPH2||620 sq. ft||8||8|
|HV20||40 hp||DPH4||1240 sq. ft||10||0|
|HV20||40 hp||DPH4||1240 sq. ft||20||20|
|HV35||60 hp||DPH6||1860 sq. ft||15||0|
|HV35||60 hp||DPH6||1860 sq. ft||30||30|
|HV50||100 hp||DPH10||3100 sq. ft||30||0|
|HV50||100 hp||DPH10||3100 sq. ft||60||60|
Capture Arm & Blower
We recommend using AIRGOMIG guns for FCAW welding fume extraction, except for welding schools. It is the most efficient and reliable way to eliminate FCAW welding fumes. That being said, if your welds are usually less than a foot and a half long and you would instead prefer to use a Capture Arm, it is also a viable option. Combined with a blower and, if needed, a dust collector, it will be a cost-effective and maintenance-free option. As long as the arm is always well-positioned, it will extract fumes efficiently. Your Capture Arms will be tailored to your needs (diameter, length).
It could be a simple project with a Capture Arm directly connected to a small blower. But we can also deliver a complete duct network with multiple arms on one end and a big blower and dust collector outside the building on the other end.
Extraction Nozzle & Portable Unit
Once again, we would always recommend using AIRGOMIG guns for FCAW welding fume extraction, except for welding schools. It is the most efficient and reliable way to eliminate FCAW welding fumes. However, suppose your welds are usually less than a foot long, or you are working in a confined space where a Capture Arm isn’t an option. In that case, an HV103 portable unit with a flexible hose and an extraction nozzle (round, linear, or self-supported) will be a very cost-efficient solution. Using the magnet or suction cup, position your nozzle close to the welding point. The portable unit will provide you with the necessary vacuum and filtration.
A Note on Downdraft Tables and Hoods
There is a misconception that downdraft tables are suitable for welding fume extraction. But it is nonsense to extract welding fume naturally going up at high speed from the bottom. So, either downdraft tables don’t work at all for welding fumes, or the airflow needed to make it efficient is cost-prohibitive. Use a downdraft table for plasma cutting or a grinding workstation, but not for welding.
In most cases, fume extraction hoods cannot protect a welder as their head would be between the welding area and the hood itself. But they are perfect for robotic welding and offer an unmatched fume extraction efficiency in this case.
Health Risks of Welding Fumes
The welding process produces smoke that contains harmful metal fume and gas by-products. Fumes are formed when a metal is heated above its boiling point, and its vapors condense into very fine particles.
Welding fumes usually contain a combination of metal (Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Beryllium, Cadmium, Chromium, Cobalt, Copper, Iron, Lead, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silver, Tin, Titanium, Vanadium, Zinc) and gases (Argon, Helium, Nitrogen, Carbon Dioxide, Nitric Oxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, Carbon Monoxide, Ozone, Phosgene, Hydrogen Fluoride).
The composition of welding fumes is determined by the metals in the material being welded, the electrode, coatings, and other factors. Stainless steels, for example, can generate more significant amounts of chromium, including hexavalent chromium or nickel in the fume.
The size of welding fume particles ranges between 0.005 and 20 µm (almost all particles are smaller than 1 µm), and inhaled particles may deposit throughout the respiratory system.
According to OSHA, breathing welding fumes could cause the following health effects:
- eye, nose, and throat irritation;
- dizziness and nausea;
- lung damage and various types of cancer;
- metal fume fever;
- stomach ulcers;
- kidney damage;
- nervous system damage;
- prolonged exposure to manganese fume can cause Parkinson’s–like symptoms;
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