How To Choose A Laser Fume Extractor

Choosing a Laser Fume Extractor

When selecting a laser fume extractor, there are four main factors to look at:

  • Air flow
  • Filter type
  • Filter size
  • Sound output

Let’s Look at Each of These in a Bit More Dept

Air Flow

The bigger your laser bed, the more air flow you need. Your goal is to achieve about 1.6 feet-per-second (ft/s). The larger the area your extractor needs to cover, the more air volume you need to properly filter.

Filter Type

You need to tailor the filter type to the material you laser. For example, if you work on acrylic, this material releases methacrylate gas, and that means you need a high-quality gas filter. For PVC, you need one that processes acid.

There are three primary types of filters to choose from:

  • Pre-filters that remove larger particles—those visible to the eye.
  • HEPA filters that capture small particles that are too small to be seen.
  • Activated carbon filters which capture fumes, smoke, and odors.

In the United States, there are established safety standards governing air quality in the workplace. For certain industries, these are stricter than for others.

For example, laser cutting, welding, and engraving require laser fume extraction systems. This is because they release very harmful contaminants into the air, including dust, metal particles, and toxic fumes.

Of course, knowing you need a laser fume extraction system is one thing. Selecting the right one for your business is another. So, what factors should you consider as you shop?

Filter Size

This one often comes as a surprise. However, filter size is very important to fume extraction. Your laser cutter filter needs to match the quantity of material being removed and the length of the cuts being made. The longer the cut and the bigger the workload, the larger the filter you need.

Sound Output

Finally, you need to think about the sound output of the machine. Each fume extractor system should have its sound output given in weight decibels, or dBA units. Most of these systems will have a dBA output somewhere between 20 and 80—below the 85dBA OSHA has established for requiring ear protection. However, there are those that exceed this limit. Additionally, you need to consider the space where the system will be located and its acoustics.

To learn more about these products or to determine if you need a fume extractor for your laser marking system, speak with IP Systems USA.

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