Contributing to a safer, more productive working environment

Many industrial processes produce airborne contaminants that have the potential to be harmful to human health.

The monitoring and regulation of such emissions is an important element in implementing effective atmosphere management strategies, with agencies responsible for setting or advising on workplace exposure limits for fume, dust and gases, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

BOFA’s portable systems are designed to help companies meet these health and safety obligations by filtering emissions and returning clean air into the work environment. But, of course, this is a constantly moving space, with production processes evolving through technology and new materials being developed.

As Brian Tefertiller, National Account Manager at BOFA, explains: “There are many industrial sectors and processes that look to local exhaust ventilation technologies developed by BOFA to help maintain a healthy working environment and enhance productivity.

“For example, while the laser industry continues to evolve in terms of process speeds, the need to filter laser-generated particles is widely understood across the sector both from an operator health perspective and to keep the laser lenses clean and free from contamination to safeguard code and mark quality.

“Of course, it’s not always possible for emissions to be seen by the human eye, but the point is this doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

“In certain sectors, the presence of airborne contaminants is plainly obvious. This is the case for some printing processes, where the evaporation of organic solvents contained in inks creates an unpleasant odor. This is both a nuisance factor and potential health risk and it needs an appropriate extraction system to maintain a comfortable operating environment for workers.”

Evolving in step with innovation

What’s also clear is that as technology evolves, it’s important for manufacturers to stay abreast of the dust, fume and gases that are given off when they introduce new processes or work different materials.

For example, 3D printing is undergoing exponential growth, with new generation functional materials being developed all the time to create products with specific properties.

BOFA, as part of the Donaldson family, has at its disposal a global resource of in-house scientists and network of laboratories capable of providing OEMs with detailed analysis of the emissions associated with any given process and material to ensure a perfect fit with filtration architecture.

However, while many additive manufacturers do the due diligence to put effective filtration systems in place, BOFA’s experience is that not all users of 3D print technologies as yet understand the need to analyze the type and volume of emissions, including nanoparticles, and implement effective mitigation.

Being a good corporate citizen

This is less likely to be the case for organizations in which occupational health is articulated through an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) strategy. This recognizes a corporation’s responsibility to be a good corporate citizen when it comes to sustainability, looking after their people and the communities within which they operate, and developing a governance framework that supports these commitments through compliance with local regulations.

One practical example of the impact of an effective ESG strategy would be ensuring that portable extraction systems are in place to help filter process emissions and return clean air into the workplace, rather than venting fume and dust directly into the atmosphere.

Says Brian: “The rate of innovation in the industrial landscape means that BOFA technology is itself constantly evolving to meet the needs of multiple sectors, with our systems providing 24/7 extraction performance monitoring and reporting, smart airflow management, extended filter life and bespoke filter media design.

“As a result, we are playing an important role in helping to keep manufacturing environments safe for employees, while optimizing productivity for businesses, by contributing to effective atmosphere management.”