Dirty industrial shops are not only unhealthy for workers but hard on tools and production processes as well. Protecting employee health and product quality requires a clean indoor environment, which means keeping levels of dust, smoke and volatile chemical compounds as low as possible. International standards are increasingly important in driving the trend toward safer workplaces.
Of course, there are any number of ways to avoid the creation of pollutants in the first place, from changes in processes and replacement of materials to enclosures and automation. While these measures can make a huge difference, it’s still hard to think of an industrial workplace without some form of advanced ventilation system.
The 60-year-old company Nederman, based in Helsingborg, Sweden, began its focus on environmental technology before the concept was widely established. Since beginning to develop fume extractors and fans for welders in the 1950s, Nederman has grown into a global player with industrial customers throughout Europe, as well as wind power manufacturers in China, museums in Egypt, railroads in India and automobile inspection shops in Turkey.
In a typical workshop with welding and metal working stations, fumes are captured close to the point of creation with specialized extraction arms and vacuum technology.
Cleaning welding gases
Welding and flame cutting industries employ more than 700,000 people in Europe and a number of health risks are associated with the occupation. Welding involves intense levels of ultraviolet light as well as extreme heat and toxic fumes composed of both particulates and gases. The chemical composition of these fumes depends on the metal being welded and the electrodes used, with chrome, nickel and zinc considered the most hazardous for workers. Welding gases include carbon monoxide, oxides of nitrogen and ozone. Welders often suffer eye and lung damage, and have a higher risk of contracting lung cancer than the general population. Many countries have adopted (or plan to adopt) regulations aimed at reducing exposure to welding gases.
The cleaning systems are based on vacuuming up and separating welding gases (or other particulates, fibers and exhausts) at the point of creation, preventing their distribution in the surrounding air. The technology is efficient, requiring less energy than centralized ventilation systems.
Adapted to different pollutants
By creating a strong air flow and high vacuum pressure, larger particulates can be sucked up and filtered out near the pollution source. This vacuum technology is suitable for grinding and cutting dust and cleaning machinery & workplaces. The vacuum applications include large stationary installations, mobile units and a variety of hand tools.
When there’s a risk of air pollution comprising of finer particles, low-vacuum solutions can be the better solution. This may include certain types of welding and handling of raw materials in powder form for pharmaceuticals and foodstuffs. Suction is achieved with arms, nozzles and cowlings placed close to the pollution source.
Machine industries are the primary users of such systems for capturing and filtering welding fumes as well as a diverse range of equipment for keeping workshops clean and well organized.
The trend towards ever-greater industrial automation and steady pressure to increase output have added to the need for environmentally sound and cost-effective handling of by-products. The traditional manual treatment of metal shavings and cutting fluids have long had negative effects on the workplace environment, the outside air, water and land. New technology is making it possible to profitably improve environmental performance with automated systems. Interest in improving the workplace environment while cutting down on external pollution is helping the company find new markets for its products.Nederman