Introduction to Weld Fume Collection for Weld Schools
With the current upsurge in domestic manufacturing, demand for welders is strong. Recruiters, however, are having difficulty filling welding positions. As the Baby Boom generation retires, a new generation of skilled workers is not in line to replace them. Young people are choosing jobs in the service industry, and a skills gap is growing wider and wider. Weld schools are hoping to remedy that problem.
As weld schools increase their enrollment and build new facilities, they will need to be mindful of managing their air quality. Any welding operation creates fumes that must be controlled, and a weld school, as might be expected, is no exception. The fumes created in such a facility need to be managed in order to protect students and faculty and to comply with federal regulations. Fortunately, the technology exists to capture weld fumes effectively and efficiently.
DUST AND FUME COLLECTION CHALLENGES IN THE WELD SCHOOLS
A weld school will likely have a wide array of welding equipment operating at the same time on an average day. With multiple welding stations working at once, significant amounts of weld fumes could be generated under the same roof. These weld fumes are not only an unpleasant nuisance, they are highly dangerous if not addressed by ventilation or capture equipment.
When it comes to air quality challenges, weld fumes rank among the worst. Because of the high temperatures involved in welding, particulates in weld fumes are incredibly small. These tiny particulates are easily inhaled into the lungs and absorbed into the body. If exposure to these particles reaches a certain threshold, welders can be at great risk of harm.Weld fumes are dangerous because they contain high amounts of metallic particulates. These particulates come from the welding wire and the base materials that are being welded. When inhaled, these metals wreak havoc on the body. Heavy metals, such as manganese and hexavalent chromium, and light metals, such as aluminum and beryllium, are often components of weld fumes and have been linked to extremely serious health effects. For example, hexavalent chromium is a known carcinogen with a well documented history of causing cancer.
A school is the last place anyone should be injured by overexposure to weld fumes. Fortunately, comprehensive capture systems exist to collect and treat these fumes. Demonstrating effective and responsible weld fume capture should even serve as an element of students' education. Every manufacturing facility should have equipment to ensure clean air, and students should learn why that equipment is necessary and how it operates.
Weld schools need to manage their air quality for regulatory compliance, as well. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues regulations for workers' exposure to harmful substances that travel in fumes and dust. Their authority for this comes from their “General Duty Clause,” which says employers must provide a safe workplace. OSHA establishes permissible exposure levels (PEL's) for specific toxic substances, such as the inhalable metals listed above. Failure to comply with OSHA regulations can leave a company open to fines, lawsuits and other liabilities. More importantly, failure to comply with safety regulations can leave students and faculty vulnerable to harm.
RoboVent has decades of experience with all manner of welding equipment, from the smallest manual welding station to the most complex array of robotic welding cells. RoboVent can make your weld school safe, healthy and more efficient through our affordable equipment and engineering services.
Educational institutions are always cost conscious, so RoboVent's efficient air quality solutions are especially well suited.
Our equipment is designed to save on energy and maintenance costs. In a weld school, welding operations are sporadic—with welding stations sitting idle much of the day or between instruction—so it would make little sense for a fume collector to be running all day. RoboVent has multiple control measures to make sure fume collectors only run when welding is happening. This is just one example of how our cutting-edge collectors deliver best-in-class performance and efficiency.
RoboVent has many air filtration solutions for weld schools. Ideally, most welding stations in a school should have source capture equipment to collect weld fumes at their point of origin—this includes fume arms and hoods. These could be attached to a RoboVent collector such as the Fusion or the FloorSaver. These are powerful filtration systems that offer a variety of features, from automatic controls—sure to be appreciated by younger, screen-loving students—to space-saving designs.
RoboVent's portable collectors are suited for weld schools, as well. These include our line of VentBoss products, as well as our CrossFlow tables. These collectors allow instructors to demonstrate welding techniques anywhere and any time and to have a powerful weld fume collector immediately at hand.
If a larger array of collectors is necessary, RoboVent's Grid Configuration would cover multiple welding stations while providing flexibility of layout. The Grid delivers powerful fume collection, as well as the ability to move collectors around to adapt to your educational needs.