The Basics of Fume Extraction

By Hartley G. Lesser Published 05/24/2006 | Environment

Fumes can getcha! As you know, there are a number of toxic and unpleasant fumes produced within todays manufacturing plants. Left untreated, these fumes create health hazards for your employees as well as possibly leaving you subject to heavy fines by regulatory agencies for violating any number of local, state and federal statutes. You certainly dont need sick or injured employees or any other action to delay your production. The answer to this noxious and dangerous dilemma is rather simple an air purification system.


The extraction of fumes requires a system with technological savvy. What good is a fume extraction system if it removes the offending air from one portion of your plant, only to deposit such nastiness elsewhere in the same plant?


<a href=>Fume extraction</a> requires any combination of air cleaning, air removal and air treatment. There are a variety of such products available. They range from free hanging fans and filter packages to full exhaust systems, downdraft tables, blowers, modular ventilation systems as well as portable units.


If your air cleaning is going to require a variety of filtration media to handle varying commercial conditions, a free hanging or packaged air cleaner could well be your best route to success. Offering reduced maintenance, these units incorporate an integrated blower and filter system. Large washable and replacement media filtration systems strain and then re-circulate the air via a race track, or the more common cross dilution, mounting configuration. As an extra benefit, such systems can also handle any of your chemical absorption needs as well. With a T-Style configuration, contaminated air enters from both ends of the unit, is filtered twice by the media, and the cleaned air exits from the center of the housing.


Large shops should examine centrally ducted collection systems. When the air is contaminated with particulate matter, dust and fume collectors are economical methods to ensure a clean atmosphere. On-line cleaning without significant loading allows for a constant internal static pressure level to be maintained. Centrally ducted systems may also be installed with external trays, hoppers and fans, filter units, and water mixing operations where dust particles are infused with droplets, rotation applied, and the resulting particulate matter is easily recovered from the bottom of the unit.


Heres one to watch out for aluminum dust in the air. Toxic, explosive and possessing flammable properties, one method of treating this hazardous dust is through the use of a downdraft table. The contaminants are drawn away directly from your workers breathing zone and their movement is not hindered in any way. These tables are available in a variety of sizes, dependent upon your use requirements. When it comes to paint (VOC) fumes, there are also paint booths available with integrated filtration and, once again, these systems manage the fumes directly at the employees workspace. Many are portable in nature and offer easily detachable panels and doors for maintenance and for filter removal. Such tables are especially useful when your operation has to meet NFPA standards and guidelines.


With a garage operation, your requirements are to ensure vehicle exhaust fumes exit the work area. There are low cost simple hose drops for handling fumes, smoke and even light dust from the air. Using fans, they are usually mounted directly to a bracket, an extraction arm, filter units and hose reels. Its best to find such direct mount fans equipped with an impeller and a non-sparking motor, due to the sometimes-flammable air produced by vehicles. These fans may also be portable for use in various work areas when needed.  These direct mount fans are also available in low and high temperature models and can also be equipped with rope, pulley kit and saddle, a balancer, with an extension boom or even an articulating crane for fan positioning on any side of a vehicle.


Blowers and exhaust fans are common components incorporated into many fume extraction systems. There are direct drive fans, belt driven fans, and local exhaust fans. Most are designed to manage everything from corrosive fumes to abrasive dusts. Plus, the correct fan can also ensure the proper flow and static pressure for your specific application.


Specific or general filtration of the air in your plant and manufacturing facility is more than a human resources consideration for your employees. Proper fume extraction is governed by various agencies and the plant manager or manufacturing director has to ensure all health, safety and welfare issues are met even exceeded through the installation of safe, cost-effective and well designed systems. No matter if your air treatment need is for a welding or soldering operation, a machining plant, painting company, laboratory (where even higher air standards are required), or simply to remove tobacco smoke from your office, there is a fume extraction system ready to meet your needs.