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Why is dust control essential for laser and plasma cutting?

Blog / ​ ​​Laser and Plasma dusts

 27th October 2023

Hazards in laser and plasma cutting

Effective dust extraction solutions and LEV systems can counter many of the hazards brought about by the laser and plasma cutting process. 

If these problems are effecting the environment, workers, or finished product of your laser and plasma cutting process, contact integratedAIR Filtration today to discuss a solution. 

Sparks and fire

Whilst some materials like wood are known to be easily flammable, others like stone may produce sparks but not be flammable themselves. If workers are not protected against or do not anticipate errant sparks, there can be a variety of dangers from superficial burns through to serious workplace fires.  

Dust and fume control solutions can benefit from filter units being provided with flame retardant filter media and spark traps built within the design of the extraction system to safely dispose of any sparks which are produced and captured. We offer a wide range of filter media to tailor our dust and fume solution to your exact requirements including flame retardant filter media, cellulose based media and where necessary, HEPA secondary filtration to offer maximum filtration. 

Ultra-fine dusts

Laser and plasma cutting can produce very fine dust as well as larger particulate, but not all standard filters can adequately control fine dust, especially if the filter is functioning above its’ design capacity or is damaged in some way. As well as increasing the need for cleaning of the plasma or laser cutting machine as well as increasing the machine’s maintenance, fine dust can have lasting health impacts on workers if left uncontrolled.

integratedAIR Filtration offers HEPA secondary filtration with a minimum efficiency of 99.97% at 0.3 microns to ensure exhaust air is thoroughly cleaned before being recirculated back into a production area.

Particles and fumes

Dust particulate and fumes are common by-products of both laser and plasma cutting operations. If left uncontrolled they generate a multitude of risks from mechanical damage to plant and machinery but more importantly to operatives working in and around laser and plasma cutting machines through inhalation and absorption. The exact effects depend on the materials being cut, and how the contaminant is produced; Laser-Generated Airborne Contaminants (LGACs) are recognised as posing their own unique risks to both worker and local environment.

Some materials, like aluminium and stainless steel, are difficult to cut using a laser as they are highly reflective and can bounce the laser beam back to the machine. Dry cutting aluminium can create aluminium dust which is highly flammable, potentially explosive and dangerous to inhale, causing scarring of the lungs and reduced function. 

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