Considerations in Selecting an Indoor Air Quality System
When selecting an indoor air quality (IAQ) solution, you need to take a close look at your processes, facility characteristics and current air quality state. Evaluating these factors up front will help you choose between ambient and source capture.
A few factors to look at:
- Your applications and processes: The character and volume of the fumes created depends on the processes you are using. For example, industrial process such as cutting or grinding will produce larger dust particles, while thermal processes such as welding produce fumes made up of sub-micron particles. Fumes typically rise due to the thermal currents produced by the industrial processes, while heavier dusts tend to quickly fall back out of the air.
- The volume of particulates: The volume of dust or fumes is highly dependent on the process you are using. Continual processes will generate a higher volume over time than those that are sporadic. Robotic and laser welding applications create more fumes than manual welding. Cutting and grinding applications can generate large volumes of particulates in a short period of time.
- The health risks associated with your particulates: The health risks associated with your dust or fumes depend on both their size and their chemical makeup. If you are welding, the composition of the fumes produced will depend on the base materials and consumables used in your welding process, as well as any coatings or lubricants that are on the material. Weld fumes contains toxic elements and compounds such as manganese, hexavalent chromium, nickel, copper, vanadium, molybdenum, zinc and beryllium. Each of these elements carries its own health risks and regulatory guidelines for exposure. Other types of dusts, such as those produced in the pharmaceutical, food, paper and construction industries, carry their own health and safety risks. Dust types with more serious health impacts will require more stringent control strategies.
- Airflow patterns: Dusts and weld fumes can travel far from their origin and impact workers who are not involved in welding or grinding applications. Every facility has it's own unique airflow patterns, which influence how weld fumes propagate through the facility, where they end up, and where they linger. These patterns depend on the type and location of existing ventilation and HVAC equipment, location of windows and doors, equipment position, temperature variations and other factors. The most effective and efficient air quality remedy will work with your airflow patterns, not against them.
- Facility layout and characteristics: Facility characteristics such as ceiling height, overhead cranes and the layout of your production lines will influence the way your air quality remedy is designed. Your facility and production line characteristics may dictate whether you choose a ceiling-mounted dust collector or a floor model, or whether hoods are a viable option to contain fumes for capture.