Specifying a fume and dust extraction system

Conceptually, a fume and dust extraction system incorporates a suction pump that vacuums air in proximity to an industrial process, and a filter to capture potentially harmful contaminants, before returning clean air into the workplace.

However, the apparent simplicity of this architecture overlooks the complexity of the interaction between materials, processes and chemicals, as well as size and make up of the resultant emissions.

Even a cursory glance at regulations governing workplace exposure limits for fume, dust, gases, solvents and chemicals will underline the vital role that effective extraction plays in protecting workers from occupational health hazards. While the consequences of getting it wrong can be significant for the welfare of employees, it can also have a huge impact on productivity (contamination of equipment and product) and corporate reputation.

BOFA has been a world-leader in portable fume and dust extraction system design and manufacture for over 30 years, with numerous industry-first technologies and a portfolio of solutions covering an extensive range of industry sectors and processes. As a result, our experts can advise on the most appropriate solution, taking into account:

  • Sector knowledge – BOFA has considerable experience in designing fume and dust extraction systems across a wide range of industries and will use this knowledge to develop customer-specific solutions. These needs can vary even within the same industries – for example, the laser sector is broadly segmented into coding/marking and cutting/engraving and the process involved will determine extraction system design.
  • The material being worked – BOFA systems always take account of material safety data sheets and workplace exposure limits set by statutory bodies, and will factor in specific industry risks. For example, certain gases will require special filtration technology, whereas other processes will require filters with extended life capacity.
  • Manufacturing process and volume – BOFA will factor in the make and model of production equipment, bed size (in the case of lasering), whether the process is enclosed, and the frequency and duration of any given process (including shift patterns) in developing a solution. Our engineers have access to a comprehensive database of industrial processes and in-house chemical analysis expertise.
  • Risk mitigation – many industrial processes emit potentially hazardous airborne contaminants, but there can be other risks, such as thermal events. BOFA systems benefit from fire-resistant casings and filters, along with triple thermal cut-out protection, but inline spark arrestors and fire boxes can also be specified where there is a heightened risk of embers reaching the extraction unit.

All these factors will be taken into account by our engineers to ensure that customers invest in the most appropriate extraction system. Whatever the final configuration, all will incorporate advanced filtration technology, such as BOFA’s patented DeepPleat DUO pre-filtration, a main High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter and a layer of activated carbon to remove vapours and gases.

In addition, organisations can now take advantage of advanced operating systems, such as BOFA’s iQ2 platform, which incorporates Fieldbus connectivity offering two-way machine communication and control, live remote monitoring and optional SMART filter technology… all driven by Industry 4.0 and designed to optimise extraction performance and productivity.

Want to find out more? Why not visit the ‘Ask the Expert’ section of our website.