How to choose a Right Fume Extraction System For Your Laser Machines ？
All over the world, governmental organizations like OSHA have established safety standards to ensure health and safety in the workplace. To make sure laser technology is perfectly safe in manufacturing environments, it must be implemented properly to prevent health risks. One of the important laser safety considerations is the extraction and the filtration of fumes.
Laser processes like laser cleaning, laser engraving, laser cutting and laser welding all release contaminants into the air. These contaminants include dust and fumes that must first be extracted and then filtered.
When selecting a laser fume extractor, there are four main factors to look at:
- Air flow
- Filter type
- Filter size
- Sound output
The bigger your laser bed, the more airflow you need. Your goal is to achieve about 1.6 feet per second (ft/s). The larger the area your extractor needs to cover, the more air volume you need to properly filter.
You need to tailor the filter type to the material you laser. For example, if you work on acrylic, this material releases methacrylate gas, and that means you need a high-quality gas filter. For PVC, you need one that processes acid.
There are three primary types of filters to choose from:
Pre-filters remove larger particles—those visible to the eye.
HEPA filters capture small particles that are too small to be seen.
Activated carbon filters capture fumes, smoke, and odors.
In the United States, there are established safety standards governing air quality in the workplace. For certain industries, these are stricter than for others.
For example, laser cutting, welding, and engraving require laser fume extraction systems. This is because they release very harmful contaminants into the air, including dust, metal particles, and toxic fumes.
Of course, knowing you need a laser fume extraction system is one thing. Selecting the right one for your business is another. So, what factors should you consider as you shop?
This one often comes as a surprise. However, the filter size is very important to fume extraction. Your laser cutter filter needs to match the quantity of material being removed and the length of the cuts being made. The longer the cut and the bigger the workload, the larger the filter you need.
Finally, you need to think about the sound output of the machine. Each fume extractor system should have its sound output given in weight decibels or dBA units. Most of these systems will have a dBA output somewhere between 20 and 80—below the 85 dBA, OSHA has established for requiring ear protection. However, there are those that exceed this limit. Additionally, you need to consider the space where the system will be located and its acoustics.
To learn more about these products or to determine if you need a fume extractor for your laser marking system, speak with email@example.com/WhatsApp at +86 18520892894
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
How Much Airflow Is Needed?
The volume of airflow needed is directly related to the amount of material removed. While laser marking removes little to no material, other processes like laser cutting and laser cleaning remove important quantities of material and require a high airflow. When buying a laser, an expert should be able to guide you toward the volume of airflow you need.
How Are Contaminants Filtered?
Air can be filtered using two main methods. Either you connect the laser fume extraction system to your in-house duct system, or you buy a filtration system.
Whether air filtration is done through ducting or in a standalone unit, there are typically three main types of filters. The resulting air quality is 100% safe for employees. Once filters are saturated, they need to be changed to maintain their efficiency and ensure a clean air.
- Pre-filters: Pre-filters capture large particles that are visible to the human eye.
- HEPA filters: High Efficiency Particulate Air filters capture small particles such as fine dust through layers of fibers. These filters can remove at least 99.97% of particles with a size of 0.3 microns.
- Activated carbon filters: Carbon filters capture and neutralize odors, smoke, fumes and chemicals (such as VOCs). When these contaminants pass through, they are trapped in the small pores of the activated carbon.
Do You Need Additional Safety Measures?
Additional safety measures need to be followed when changing filters.
- Eye protection: Wear safety eyewear if there is a risk of exposure.
- Skin protection: Wear gloves and avoid prolonged contact with your skin. Apply a barrier cream before handling dust to protect exposed skin areas (but never after).
- Respiratory protection: Use a NIOSH-approved respirator that has been selected based on known or anticipated dust exposure levels.
- Personal hygiene: Wash your hands before eating, drinking, using the bathroom, and at the end of the filter maintenance. Wash your contaminated clothes independently before reusing them.