Every welding environment and welding workshop need welding safety equipment that will ensure the air welders and other workers breathe is as pure an unpolluted as possible.
Kemper America is a leading expert in the field of welding smoke and fume extraction systems and supply a range of air filtration, ventilation, and welding smoke exhaust systems. But how do you know which particular system meets your needs?
Assessing The Needs of Your Welding Environment
The two most important elements to consider when assessing your ventilation needs for welding are:
- The environment in which you and/or your employees are working
- The type of welding or cutting that is carried out
Different Welding Environments
Welding takes place in vast and varied environments, both indoors and outside, but in general terms there are:
- Outdoor areas where the air will generally move away from the welders’ breathing zones
- Open workshops where welding is restricted to this one area
- Restricted areas including indoor plants, workshops, and welding booths
- Confined areas including vessels and other closed work areas
Different Types of Welding
The most common types of welding are:
- Submerged arc welding, one of the older automatic welding processes, uses an arc between bare metal electrodes and the weld pool. The weld is shielded by granular flux and becomes submerged under a layer of flux and slag – which is where the name comes from.
- TIG welding – tungsten inert gas welding also known as gas tungsten arc welding (GTAW) – is a process that generates an arc between a non-consumable tungsten electrode and the work piece. Used to weld non-ferrous metals including aluminum, it is a clean process that uses shielding gas effectively eliminating flux and the resultant slag. The TIG arc can produce hazardous ozone and so ventilation is vital.
- MIG welding – metal inert gas welding also known as gas metal arc welding (GMAW) – is a process that uses a continuous filler metal electrode and the weld pool, together with shielding gas. Originally developed for welding aluminum, it is also a clean process that doesn’t generate slag. It is not generally used outdoors.
- Flux-cored arc welding that uses an arc between a continuous tubular filler metal electrode and the weld pool. A variation of MIG welding, it also uses a shielding gas from a flux that is contained within the electrode. The process cannot be applied manually but can be semi-automatic or automatic.
- Stick Welding, also called shielded metal arc welding (SMAW) or just arc welding uses straight, stick-like electrodes that produce shielding gas and flux. Inexpensive and relatively simple to do, stick welding is used extensively for fabrication, construction, and repair work. Proper ventilation is paramount as many of the chemicals used in electrode coatings are hazardous if inhaled.
- Carbon/plasma arc cutting achieved by using an arc between an electrode and the work piece to melt the metal.
Ventilation Solutions for the Welding Environment
When assessing your ventilation needs in any welding environment you need to ascertain whether:
- Natural or general ventilation will be adequate
- Local exhaust systems will be necessary
- Local exhaust and respiratory systems will be necessary
Generally, natural ventilation is not adequate for welding operations, and general ventilation should only be used when doing submerged arc welding or TIG welding in outdoor areas, or submerged arc welding in an open building or workshop area.
Local exhaust systems are needed when undertaking MIG welding, flux-cored, or stick welding outdoors, as well as both TIG and MIG welding in open workshops. They should also be used when submerged arc and TIG welding is used in restricted and confined areas.
Respiratory systems and local exhaust should be used when MIG welding is undertaken in restricted and confined areas; when flux-cored and stick welding are done inside; and wherever carbon or plasma arc cutting is performed.
Kemper America has a range of excellent options to meet all these needs, and we can provide custom solutions based on your needs. Call us today for advice and pricing.