Robotic Welding Fume Extraction

Process Intro

Robotic welding is one of the most common automated applications in the industrial sector. Robotic welding is most productive when completing high-volume, repetitive welding tasks. Different processes are used in the industry: arc welding, resistance welding, spot welding, TIG, MIG, laser welding, and plasma welding.

Robotic welding is increasingly popular in the manufacturing industry and is not a luxury that only the biggest manufacturers can afford anymore. However, it tends to generate a lot of toxic fumes in factories, especially since duty cycles are higher than manual welding. Therefore, fume extraction is mandatory or recommended by health and safety organizations in all US states and Canadian provinces.

We offer a wide range of solutions to control robotic welding fumes.

Fume Extraction Hood & Blower

The most efficient way to get rid of welding fumes generated by a robot is probably a fume extraction hood. It works with every process and position, and with welding fumes going up, the extraction efficiency will usually be 100%. We can design and manufacture a fume extraction hood for your application and plant to optimize cost and efficiency.

We will also provide you with the appropriate blower and dust collector to attain this perfect performance. On top of being very efficient, this solution offers the advantage of being very low-maintenance and does not require any external part in the welding robot working area.

AIRGOMIG & Turbine

If you are using a MIG welding robot, a cheaper alternative could be to adapt an AIRGOMIG gun to your robot. It removes the need for a large and more expensive hood, and fumes could be extracted directly at the source, reducing the required airflow drastically. We would also provide you with the appropriate vacuum unit and filtration system (if needed).

Capture Arm & Blower

For a robot that welds in the same relatively small area (like a welding lathe, for example), it is possible to use a flexible Capture Arm to extract welding fumes. Once the adjustable arm is well-positioned, the efficiency should be close to 100%. This technique will work with every welding process and is a cheaper alternative to the hood since hoods are custom-made and require more air to be moved. We will provide you with the appropriate vacuum unit and filtration system (if needed) to reach the desired results.

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;
  • suffocation;
  • asphyxiation.

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