Much of automotive welding relies on robotic welding cells. For this kind of welding, fume collection depends, in large part, on whether or not the welding cells can be enclosed or not. If so, the fume collection challenge is rather straightforward. If not, the collection takes a bit more effort.
Enclosing robotic welding cells involves installing equipment such as hoods, curtains or partitions. This equipment is relatively inexpensive, but installing it is sometimes limited by a facility’s layout—overhead cranes and other equipment might prevent some enclosures.
An enclosed welding cell extracts weld fumes much more effectively than an open cell. This means a dust collector can operate using much less energy than in an open environment. Enclosed cells are also more effective at protecting workers across a facility, since fumes aren’t given the chance to drift and expose workers. A dust collector such as the RoboVent Spire is a good example of today’s leading industrial air filtration systems. It provides powerful air filtration and runs efficiently due to automated controls and other proprietary technology.
For manual welding of automotive parts, the best dust collection method will depend on the nature of the welding station. If a welding process is repetitive and if the part is small, a fume arm attached to a dust collector will be adequate for mitigating the fumes. If the part is big enough to make a fume arm ineffective, a welding table with a backdraft plenum will collect the fumes without overly exposing the welder. If the part being welded is very large, the best collection system is a fume gun. These devices allow a welder to capture the fumes at the source. Used correctly, a fume gun can collect up to 95% of weld fumes.