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Explore the Inner Workings of Fumeclear® Fume Extractors for a Safer Workspace

by FumeClear 10 May 2024

Explore the Inner Workings of Fumeclear® Fume Extractors 

In industrial environments where harmful smoke, gases, and particles are prevalent, emphasizing the maintenance of a safe and healthy working environment cannot be overstated. Smoke extractors are essential for ensuring worker safety by effectively removing air pollutants. Let's delve into the working principle of the Fumeclear® smoke extractor, analyzing the functions of each component in these essential machines.

Industrial processes such as laser cutting, welding, brazing, and cosmetic manicures continue to release harmful substances into the air. Includes toxic gases, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and particulate matter. These air pollutants pose significant health risks to humans, ranging from direct respiratory irritation to long-term health complications such as respiratory disease and cancer. In these environments, smoke extraction becomes imperative to effectively reduce these risks and maintain a safe working environment for personnel.

Components of Fumeclear® Fume Extractor

Hood (round mouth/flat mouth)

The ventilation hood is an essential part of every smoke evacuator. It is a specially designed part that allows the machine to capture the pollutants generated during operation from the source.
Ventilation hoods come in different shapes and sizes to suit different work scenarios, ensuring they effectively contain smoke and prevent it from spreading into the work space.

The ventilation hood of some equipment is connected to the equipment, such as a closed laser printer. When using a closed laser printer, users often connect the smoke exhauster to the printer with a hose to collect pollutants internally.

In other applications, such as welding, the vent hood may be an adjustable arm with an inlet channel designed to be placed close to the source of fumes. For example, the Fumeclear® Solder Series features adjustable bamboo arms for flexibility and maneuverability.

While the previous examples are very different, they all fall into the category of vent hoods that prevent harmful gases from escaping into other parts of the work environment.

Fume Extractor Ductwork

Ductwork is the pipes that carry contaminated air from the hood to the extraction unit. It is essential for maintaining proper airflow and directing contaminants away from the work space. Ductwork must be appropriately sized and configured to minimize resistance and ensure efficient extraction.

Your extraction unit must have a motor powerful enough to handle the length and diameter of the ductwork you are using. The Fumeclear® product line is designed for a variety of applications, so if you have questions about which unit is right for your setup, contact us today.

Extraction Unit

The indoor fume extractor unit is expertly designed to purify the air, housing an advanced fan and filtration system. This sophisticated unit is strategically situated within the workspace, ensuring a clean, contaminant-free indoor environment. By generating a controlled negative pressure, it effectively draws in air, passing it through the hood and into the ductwork, thereby capturing and removing airborne contaminants with precision and efficiency.

Filtration System

The filtration system consists of various filters designed to capture different types of contaminants present in the air. These should include particulate, activated carbon, and high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.

  • Particulate Filters: These filters are specifically designed to capture solid particles, such as dust, pollen, mold, and other allergens in the air. Utilizing a mesh of fibrous material, particulate filters physically trap these particles, preventing them from recirculating back into the environment. The efficiency of these filters depends on the size of their pores, which determines the size of particles they can trap. They are essential in environments where air quality is crucial, effectively reducing particulate pollution and enhancing indoor air clarity.
  • Activated Carbon Filters: Activated carbon filters absorb gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), common in fumes, odors, and chemical emissions. These filters use a bed of activated carbon, a form of carbon processed to have tiny, low-volume pores that increase the surface area available for adsorption. Through chemical adsorption, these filters trap gas molecules within the pores of the activated carbon, effectively removing them from the air. They are particularly useful in settings where odor control and removing chemical fumes are priorities.
  • HEPA Filters: High-efficiency particulate Air (HEPA) filters are renowned for capturing extremely fine particulate matter and microorganisms. These filters comprise a dense mat of randomly arranged fibers, typically made from fiberglass. The key to their effectiveness lies in their ability to trap particles as small as 0.3 microns with a 99.97% efficiency. This makes HEPA filters highly effective against smoke, dust, mite debris, pet dander, bacteria, and viruses. As a result, the exhaust air passing through a HEPA filter is clean and safe, making these filters indispensable in industrial applications where toxic gases can be released into the air from various jobs.

Operating Principle

The operation of a fume extractor can be summarized in several key steps:

  • Contaminant Capture: The hood is strategically positioned to capture airborne contaminants generated during industrial processes. Its design ensures efficient containment of fumes, preventing them from escaping into the surrounding environment.
  • Airflow Control: A fan within the extraction unit creates negative pressure, drawing contaminated air through the hood and into the ductwork. Proper airflow control is essential for maintaining optimal extraction rates and preventing the buildup of pollutants within the workspace.
  • Filtration: As contaminated air passes through the ductwork, it encounters various filters designed to capture different pollutants. Particulate filters remove solid particles, while activated carbon filters absorb gases and VOCs. HEPA filters provide an additional layer of filtration, capturing fine particulate matter and microorganisms with high efficiency.
  • Clean Air Exhaust: Once contaminants are removed, the filtered air is safely recirculated into the environment. This ensures that the air within the workspace remains clean and free of harmful pollutants, protecting the health and safety of workers.

Types of Fume Extractors

Fume extractors come in several types, each suited to specific applications and environments:

  • Ducted Fume Extractors: These are connected to an external ventilation system via ductwork, allowing contaminated air to be expelled directly outside the workspace. Ducted fume extractors are suitable for applications where large volumes of air need to be extracted or external venting is feasible.
  • Ductless Fume Extractors: Also known as recirculating or filtered fume extractors, ductless units use filtration systems to remove contaminants from the air before recirculating it back into the workspace. They are ideal for situations where external venting is impractical or where ductwork installation is cost-prohibitive. Here is a list of the Filtrabox’s Ductless Systems
  • Portable Fume Extractors: These compact units are designed for flexibility, allowing them to be easily moved between different workstations or locations. They are commonly used when localized fume extraction is required, or mobility is essential. Almost all of the Fumeclear® lineup is considered portable with its compact size and industrial casters. 

  • Wet Scrubbers: Wet scrubbers utilize water or other liquid solutions to capture and neutralize airborne contaminants. They are particularly effective for removing corrosive gases and particulate matter from industrial exhaust streams, offering an alternative to traditional filtration-based systems. A downside of using wet scrubbers in fume extraction is their tendency to produce wastewater that requires proper treatment and disposal. This can add complexity and cost to the operation, as the contaminated water must be managed according to environmental regulations to prevent pollution.

Factors Influencing Performance

Several factors can impact the performance and efficiency of a fume extractor:

  • Hood Design: The design and positioning of the hood are critical for ensuring effective capture of contaminants at their source. Proper hood sizing and placement relative to the pollution source are essential for optimal performance. 
  • Airflow Rate: The rate at which air is drawn through the extraction system directly influences its effectiveness at removing contaminants. Adequate airflow must be maintained to prevent the buildup of pollutants within the workspace and ensure efficient extraction.
  • Filtration Efficiency: The quality and type of filters used in the extraction system determine its ability to remove specific contaminants from the air. Regular maintenance and replacement of filters are necessary to ensure continued effectiveness and prevent the release of pollutants into the environment.

Importance of Regular Maintenance

The importance of regular maintenance
Proper maintenance is essential to ensure the continued effectiveness and safety of your smoke evacuator. Routine inspections, filter changes, and cleaning procedures are necessary to prevent contaminant buildup, maintain optimal airflow rates, and extend the life of your equipment. Neglecting maintenance can result in reduced performance, increased energy consumption, and ultimately compromised workplace safety and productivity. Therefore, a comprehensive maintenance program is essential to maximize the efficiency and longevity of your Fume Extractor system

If you have questions about the Fumeclear® range of Fume Extractor, contact us today!

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