When lasers are used, materials are released into the atmosphere - they may be solid particles, gas or vapour. Failure to control these fumes can have serious consequences and shouldn’t be left to chance.
Cutting, engraving, coding, marking, engraving, welding… whatever laser process you are following, some form of contaminant is generated which can become airborne. Most are invisible to the naked eye. All must be treated as hazardous.
Whether you’re running machinery in an educational establishment or a large scale factory, all airborne substances must be considered as potentially harmful:
To your equipment – uncontrolled fumes can negatively impact laser efficiency and increase the risk of product contamination and unplanned downtime
To the users – the effects caused by inhalation or reaction to the particulate material can be long lasting and even life-threatening
To the environment – responsible manufacturing needs responsible practices. We all need to look after the world we live in.
Particles and droplets can enter equipment through process or during mechanical intervention. The optical system of the laser is susceptible to damage from particulate getting burnt on or building up on the lens, compromising the efficiency of the laser and the quality of the output. With no extraction in place, there’s no control over which direction those contaminants travel, and the machine’s performance and reliability can very quickly become compromised. If left, over time, some contaminants can cause irreversible and very costly damage.
Minimising or eliminating contaminants is essential to ensuring optimum machine performance and reducing the amount of maintenance and cleaning requirements and reducing the risk of loss of product.
Give your equipment the best opportunity to perform its intended function.
Exposure to hazardous substances can affect the body in many different ways and can cause problems for anyone who comes into contact with airborne particles. Skin contact, inhalation and ingestion can cause damage and the effects often build up over time.
Air purification is vital for health protection to reduce the long-lasting and sometimes fatal impact of uncontrolled fumes. Personal protective equipment should not be considered a substitute for proper fume control. Simply venting unfiltered fumes through a window or wall does not provide an adequate solution and is likely to be illegal.
The quality of our environment has a direct impact on our well-being. Capturing fumes and particulates and keeping them contained is the only way to ensure the environment is protected.
This extends beyond the immediate work environment as the deposition of airborne particles can have a negative and long-lasting impact on the natural and man-made environment, causing physical and chemical degradation of materials.
What you can do
Practical steps should taken by the employer to reduce the level of risk created by uncontrolled contaminants.
Extracting fume safely and efficiently from the working environment is a key priority to protect the operator’s safety as well as preserve the laser and nearby equipment.
Choose an extraction solution that is fit for purpose, ensuring efficient filtration and safe removal of the end product.
BOFA has the answer
BOFA International is the multi-award winning world leader in portable fume extraction and filtration. Our unrivalled specialist knowledge of laser processes means we can devise practical solutions for practical problems worldwide.
We have over 30 years of extensive experience providing reliable, high quality solutions with a low lifetime cost of ownership. Whether you’re working with light duty laser applications, small scale industrial processes or high-performance systems, our solutions keep the world working across a wide range of sectors from FMCG and electronics to pharmaceuticals, education and beyond.