Welding and metalworking jobs can produce a byproduct of dusts, fumes and gases that can create housekeeping nuisances throughout a facility, as well as pose both health and combustible dust safety concerns for workers. An ordinary ShopVac is neither powerful nor efficient enough to remove welding dusts since they lack the high pressure and, in some cases, the intrinsically safe explosion proof requirements to safely contain certain kinds. So, which kind of industrial vacuum should you use to remove welding dust? Here are some suggestions to help narrow down your decision…
Heavy Duty Portable Vacuums
Are you removing larger welding dust particles, such as steel shot and welding slag, and performing general housekeeping? If so, these applications are simply too heavy for your average single phase vacuum to remove efficiently. A heavy duty industrial vacuum cleaner featuring a higher than average level of negative pressure is your first step to choosing a vacuum that can easily lift heavier welding dust particles. Choosing a vacuum with highly efficient filtration and a dust-free disposal system are additional benefits to ridding your workspace of this kind of manufacturing mess.
Explosion Proof Vacuums
A serious is if the welding dust is combustible, posing a looming threat for an explosion thanks to the presence of an open welding flame. A legally certified explosion proof vacuum cleaner is your first line of defense in both keeping workers safe from these hazards, alongside providing a vacuum system that makes housekeeping easy. Most explosion proof vacuums are rated for continuous duty use as well, ensuring there is little downtime during production.
Immersion Separator Vacuums
Certain metal dusts require a specific kind of explosion proof vacuum to be safely contained in the form of an immersion separator. Self-contained immersion separator vacuums are best for collecting conductive metals, explosive or impact sensitive materials, or glowing media that may be produced during a welding job. These are unique in the way they collect and submerges 100% of the intake into a turbulent liquid bath so that the chance for an outside ignition source entering is eliminated.
Dust Extraction Swing Arms
A dust extraction swing arm is an additional means of dust collection that can be connected to most industrial vacuum cleaners. They are perfect for welding dust, as they safely remove airborne dusts, gases and smoke emitted during the welding process straight from the point of source. What makes these assemblies an even greater benefit is that they are fully mobile and retractable, meaning that they can be fixed into a position of your choosing no matter where you and your welding torch may find yourselves.
One of the most concerning health hazards created during the welding process is that of Hexavalent Chromium, a dangerous fume byproduct found commonly in welding stainless steel and nonferous chromium alloys which can lead to a variety of health issues. To prevent these harmful fumes from affecting workers, using an industrial vacuum cleaner that is equipped with HEPA filtration (99.997% efficient @ 0.3 microns) will ensure that only purified air is being returned into the workplace.
If you are unsure of the nature of your welding dust application and which kind of welding dust vacuum would be best for you and your facility, asking an industry expert will help guide you through the decision process.