Factors Affecting the Capture Efficiency of a Fume Extraction Torch for Gas Metal Arc Welding

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Welding fumes are classified as Group 2B ‘possibly carcinogenic’ and this prompts to the implementation of local exhaust ventilation (LEV). The fume extraction torch with LEV integrated into the tool is the most attractive solution but its capture efficiency is often disappointing in practice. This study assesses the main parameters affecting fume capture efficiency namely the extraction flow rate, the positioning of the suction openings on the torch, the angle of inclination of the torch to the workpiece during welding, the metal transfer modes, and the welding deposition rate. The theoretical velocity induced by suction, estimated from the extraction flow rate and the position of the suction openings, is the main parameter affecting effectiveness of the device. This is the design parameter and its value should never be <0.25 m s−1. The angle of the torch relative to the workpiece also has a great deal of influence. To improve efficiency, work station layouts need to favour positions where the torch is held with angles closer to perpendicular (<15°). Welding with high deposition rates (>1.1g s−1) and spray transfer leads to low capture efficiency if induced velocities are <0.5 m s−1. The results of the study can be used in the design of integrated on-torch extraction systems and provide information for fixing system objectives.

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