BOFA International, leaders in portable fume and dust extraction solutions, has unveiled fire mitigation technology designed to protect growing investment in high temperature fibre laser systems.
The company has developed a new FireBOX and an innovative spark arrestor to provide inline protection for laser coding and cutting systems in FMCG markets, as operators increasingly adopt fibre technology to benefit from being able to code onto metallic surfaces.
“Fibre lasers have the potential to create significant operational gains by quickening coding processes onto metals, typically involving the marking of sell-by dates, product and traceability information,” said Richard Heard, Product Manager at BOFA. “It is not unusual for fibre laser coding lines to run at 60,000 cans per hour, or more, but the higher temperatures associated with the technology do need to be mitigated to safeguard operations and optimise the productivity benefit.”
Fibre lasers penetrate deeper into base metal, and without effective extraction technology unoxidised particles can gather around the laser area, in hoses/ducting or in filters.
To address any potential issues, BOFA has developed the FireBOX GA, for general applications, and FireBOX MA, for metal applications, a self-extinguishing inline pre-filtration system positioned before the fume extraction unit. Both are available in larger sizes to cater for larger extraction systems. The FireBOX incorporates a temperature controller, which automatically switches off extraction system power and closes electronic valves should the pre-set ambient temperature be exceeded by 10°C. If the temperature rises another 10°C in the FireBOX, then the integrated fire extinguisher will be activated.
BOFA’s new Spark Arrestor 2 prevents potentially damaging, incandescent particulate – from entering the fume extraction unit by transporting the particulate through specially designed impingement plates until it drops into the removable drop-out chamber.
The FireBOX and Spark Arrestor 2 can be used as stand-alone units inline with the extraction system, or can be combined to offer ultimate protection, dependent upon the process and assessed risk.
Said Richard Heard: “These technologies help to design-out fire risks in lasering, particularly where a combustible dust can be generated by the process. While this type of event is rare, aside from the risk to human health, any fire incident will inevitably lead to a disruption in production and replacement of equipment.”