Every Type of the Metalworking Function Creates Metal Dust and Fumes

Metalworking covers a wide range of disciplines and each can create metal dust and fumes in need of collection. The very nature of metalworking, including grinding, sanding, polishing, machining, metalizing, paint spraying, metal finishing, shot blasting, sandblasting and smoothing, create their own dust and fume variables.

Metalworkers can work with a variety of metals, making this a very complex category with no shortage of variables. What the processes do have in common though, is metal dust and fumes.

Regardless of which metalworking projects are taking place in your facility, it is crucial to collect the smoke, fumes and particles they produce. Otherwise, you open yourself up to reduced indoor air quality, damage to equipment, and health and safety issues.

While it’s not a simple process to account for all of the potentialities involved in metalworking, proper planning and design by Summit’s team of experts will ensure that your company’s metal dust collection and fume extraction needs are accomplished.

Metal Dust and Fumes are Hazardous

Exposure to dust and fumes from any metal can create dangerous health effects to metalworkers, especially over long periods of time. Plus, dusts from certain metals are combustible.

Explosive dust is a byproduct of working with alkali metals, transitional metals, and various types of steel. It is a hazard to be aware of in any facility where metalworking takes place. Learn more if your dust is combustible and if it can explode.

Metalworking fumes can cause respiratory issues in workers and lead to lung conditions like fibrosis. Metalworking dust can also cause wear and damage to nearby company equipment. Proper collection and a ventilation system are a necessity.

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Metalworking Ventilation and Dust Collection Systems

One Size Does Not Fit All

While metalworking may not come with the volume of sparks or smoke that you would see in other industrial processes, it still requires thorough planning and engineering to design a system that will satisfy all of the potential types of hazards happening under one roof.

Metal dust and fumes may seem the most pressing concerns in a metalworking plant. Yet, it really depends on what specific type of work is being done. Collecting various byproducts can be very different.

A Case in Point

The process of blasting requires a high-pressure gun like you would see in plasma cutting, meaning there will be particles everywhere. While blasting is generally done in a booth, the size of the booth and the amount of people in the booth can vary.

Now if those working in the booth are wearing oxygen masks, only the air inside the booth will need to be cleared for visibility. But if they’re not wearing masks, the air will need to be suitable for breathing for extended periods of time. A cartridge filter is generally the best answer for blasting in a space like this, as it does very well with confined spaces.

However, that same filter may not be the right fit for grinding, smoothing, paint spraying, or any other metalworking that may be happening under the same roof. Similarly, the fume extraction needs may be different for other functions.

There is no one single answer that will allow your company to comply with all regulations and keep your employees healthy and safe.

The solution begins with an expert evaluation of your facility’s infrastructure and concludes with the installation of specifically chosen equipment to eliminate all potential hazards.

Must Factors When Designing a Metalworking Ventilation System

A ventilation system can only be as effective as the planning behind it. When it comes to compliance and safety, you must ask all of the pertinent questions and consider all of the factors making your facility unique.

  • What type of metal will you be cutting, and is the dust from these metals combustible?
  • Will metalworking be done in booths?
  • How many workers will operate within a given workspace, and what size is that space?
  • Does your metal dust require wet or dry media collectors? 
  • Which option is the most energy-efficient and cost-effective?

There is a myriad of questions to be asked. The process of designing the correct ventilation system for your facility is complex. Never entrust your indoor air quality to anyone but leading industry experts.

Did you know metal dust particles left uncollected easily find their way into exposed eyes?

It’s a common cause of injury in factories. Source capture can help.

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