PLASMA CUTTING FUME EXTRACTOR
Plasma cutting is becoming the norm in most industries nowadays. It is fast, accurate and relatively inexpensive. It’s mainly used to cut through aluminum, stainless steel, copper and brass. However, plasma cutting has its own disadvantages. The process can release fine particulates and harmful fumes in the air, which can be harmful to the person operating it. They can cause respiratory, skin and eye problems to the operator. While OSHA regulates its use in industries, having a plasma cutting fume extractor could save you from dangers of plasma cutting. So what are these dangers?
Plasma cutting aluminum hazards
Here are some of the most common plasma cutting aluminum hazards.
Plasma table aluminum explosion
Cutting aluminum with a water table minus the right safety equipment can be extremely dangerous. It causes aluminum to release hydrogen, which can accumulate under huge sheets and explode when pierced.
Aluminum slag tends to produce hydrogen bubbles. When aluminum reacts with oxygen, it leaves behind hydrogen molecules. When an operator operates the machine, and as the hot slag forms at the bottom of the water tank, more and more hydrogen is produced. With time, these hydrogen molecules will be attracted to each other and create bubbles.
If you happen to pierce a sheet and hit a gas pocket that’s been building up, it will ignite and explode. The size of the explosion depends on how much hydrogen has been accumulating. Hydrogen is quite volatile and it ignites at about 1000°F. To reduce these risks when plasma cut aluminum, either install an aerator, bubble muffler or a filtration system.
Plasma cutting stainless steel hazards
When plasma cuts stainless steel, it produces fumes that contain Chromium and Nickel. Both of these metals are dangerous and toxic. Hexavalent Chromium or Hex Chrome is a type of Chromium and it’s normally released in air when plasma cut stainless steel. It is a highly carcinogenic gas and it can cause cancer and respiratory issues.
Research is still going on on the effects of both Chromium and Nickel. However, the risks can be managed with the right and effective Fume Filtration System. An effective fume filtration will remove the toxic fumes from the air and make breathing safe for the operator.
Activities involving plasma cutting are undeniably dangerous. However, if you’re a plasma operator, understanding its risks and how to use them can save you from the dangers discussed above. You might also be interested in knowing more about VOC air cleaner and and Hazards of inhaling fumes.