Feedback from both OEMs and distributors in manufacturing is highlighting a more positive attitude and understanding of the need for filtration technology across industry.
Health and safety regulation is tightening globally and is reflected in greater awareness of the benefits of a culture promoting employee well-being. At the same time, the march of process automation is opening opportunities for enhanced productivity.
At BOFA, we’re helping OEMs and their end-user customers marry these twin objectives by optimising the value of fume and dust extraction technology that can contribute to both atmosphere management strategies and uptime on process lines. As such, the need for matching filtration performance to each application has never been more important.
For BOFA and our OEM and distributor partners, the key factors that need to be taken into account when specifying suitable extraction systems include an assessment of the industrial process, the materials being worked, and a detailed understanding of the fume or particles being emitted. Our significant experience and knowledge across multiple industry sectors – whether laser, printing, electronics, additive manufacturing (AM) / 3D printing or others – gives us the head start in designing a solution ideally matched to the requirement.
We work with customers to understand airflow management parameters to satisfy regulations such as HSG258 in the UK, which set standards for controlling airborne contaminants at work through local exhaust ventilation (LEV). We’ll help establish the correct capture velocity (the speed of suction) for each application, taking account of the size of particles and fumes being emitted. The larger and faster the moving particles, the higher the capture velocity. It is also important to ensure adequate duct velocity so that any fume or particles do not drop out of the airstream and deposit onto the lining of the ducting as this can reduce performance.
BOFA also keeps abreast of new materials technology, notably the development of functional materials in the AM / 3D print sector, to ensure that filtration systems keep pace with extraction requirements. This means taking account of Safety Data Sheets from the OEM which list any potentially hazardous physical and chemical characteristics (e.g. flammability, explosive properties) and any potential adverse impacts on human health. This information enables BOFA to tailor its extraction technology to each application to help ensure its filtration architecture best matches the process and the particles and gaseous emissions being generated.
However, some industrial processes such as AM, are operating at increasingly higher temperatures to take advantage of the performance characteristics of new functional materials. Carbon bed filtration becomes less effective over 60oC as high temperatures have an adverse effect on the adsorption of carbon filters. Extreme temperatures can even have the opposite effect (desorption) meaning potentially harmful contaminants already in the carbon that have been previously adsorbed can exit the carbon. It is, therefore, important to keep any gasses being filtered below 400C.
BOFA is currently in the development stages of a system we call 3D PrintPRO HT (High Temp). This innovatively designed product maintains the temperature within a high temp printer while filtering particulates during the print process then, on completion of the print, the BOFA machine switches its filtration method to adsorb the gasses within the chamber.
Many distributors and OEMs are now reaping the benefits of the contribution BOFA’s portable extraction systems make to a healthy workplace environment, minimising downtime and maintaining high quality output. BOFA’s experience, market knowledge, distributor footprint and extensive design and manufacturing resources mean that extraction systems can often be shipped within a few weeks’ of initial enquiry.