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Everything you need to know about welding fumes.

Updated: Mar 28

When welding comes fume! We wanted to help you understand everything you need to know about the fume and keeping yourself protected during your welding applications.

A fume is created during arc welding when the metal is heated above its liquid boiling point. Vapours cool becoming fine particulates known as dust.

They can be inhalable and respirable. You breathe in inhalable substances through the mouth and nose, which can leave a taste or smell and cause harm to the mouth, nose, and throat. Respirable dust is small enough to pass into your lungs. Different types of gases in fumes can cause a range of health issues and risks.

95% of welding fume is created by the consumable. However, various factors can affect a worker's exposure to fume including;

  • Type of process

  • Composition of welding rod

  • Filler and base metals composition

  • The type of coating present

  • Workstation location

  • Ventilation unit and work practices.

Welding applications and protection equipment PAPR

What are the dangers of fume:

As we previously mentioned fume can have an impact on the health of your workforce. Breathing in fume can cause health issues that can occur quickly or take years to develop, including:

  • Pneumonia

  • Occupational Asthma

  • Cancer

  • Metal Fume Fever

  • Temporarily reduced lung function

The HSE has already announced the health risks that fumes can have.

Scientific evidence from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. Has concluded that exposure to all fumes, including mild steel welding fumes. Can cause lung cancer and limited evidence linking it to kidney cancer in humans. The Workplace Health Expert Committee has endorsed the reclassification of mild steel welding fumes as a human carcinogen.

With immediate effect, businesses will need to ensure any exposure to all welding fumes released is controlled using fume extraction units. During any welding applications, no matter the duration extraction units need to be provided.

How to control welding fumes for your workforce!

The HSE is cracking down on workshops and welding businesses to control exposure to all welding fumes. For the health of yourself and your workforce, you’ll need to look at investing in control measures like LEV systems and PPE.

What is LEV?

Local exhaust ventilation LEV. Catches the air contaminates at or near the source of the fume and removes it from the area. Before you or your workers can breathe the fume in.

Unlike general exhaust systems that allow fumes to spread throughout the area before being blown out. LEV is used for controlling highly toxic fumes at the source.

Kemper fume extraction during welding application

Types of Extraction systems you might want to consider:

Mobile Filter Units: These extraction units are perfect for the workshop with portability in

Kemper mobile filter unit - welding extraction unit

mind. Giving you the freedom to move the extraction wherever you need it. Highly flexible with an operating radius of 360° that allows all-round extraction. Contains disposable filters from 13m2 to 42m2 or cleanable filters depending on the model.

Stationary Extraction Systems: These extraction systems are perfect for workshops with medium to high fumes. But without needing the flexibility of a portable system. Although are useful for fixed-position welding in a production hall for example.

Stationary systems are connected to extraction hoods, tables and robot cells via pipelines. With the choice between devices with disposable filters or automatic filter cleaning.

Central Extraction Systems: At Truflame we work closely with market leader Kemper. Produced WeldFil and WeldFil Compact welding fume extraction units equipped with filter cartridges. Suitable for setting up central extraction systems. Perfect for welding shops, grinding shops, training facilities, robot lines or for operation with extraction tables.

High-vacuum Extraction: This type of extraction unit will be perfect for large welding shops with high amounts of fume. Also, a good idea to take into account the option for on-torch extraction.

Kemper latest on touch extraction unit.

On-Torch extraction: On-torch extraction captures the welding fume directly at the source. Providing a unique solution for predominantly MIG welders where there are continuous wire welding processes taking place.

Many welders believe extraction torches are too heavy and hard to work with. Not removing as much smoke as expected being too large to access the weld joint and in turn, creating a poor-quality weld. However, as times have moved on many developments have taken place in the industry to create new technologies perfect for on-torch extraction.

How can we help you?

At Truflame we are passionate about helping you find the right equipment to manage your welding fume extraction. Working closely with market leaders we can get a trained and specialist assessment of what your workplace needs!

This can include newly developed Kemper VacuFil Compact Fume Extraction. New high vacuum extraction unit Vacufil compact designed for medium quantities of welding fume and dust. With a comfortable one-button operation even usable with gloves!

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