Fume Extraction MIG Welding Gun

Fume extraction MIG welding guns remove welding fumes at the point of generation.

Description:

The welding process can generate a large amounts of fumes, which consist of small metal particles formed when metal vapor condenses. Welding fumes contain harmful substances like manganese, hexavalent chromium, lead, and many others.  Using local exhaust ventilation to remove fumes from the air welders breathe is one of the best ways to protect workers’ health.  Fume extraction guns with ventilation built in to the nozzle can capture these fumes directly at the source when used correctly.

MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding, also known as MAG (Metal Active Gas) welding or GMAW (Gas Metal Arc Welding) is a welding process used to join two or more pieces of metal by melting a wire consumable into the joint.  This process creates a plume of harmful gases and metal fumes depending on the consumable, the base metal, and other factors.  Local exhaust ventilation is an ideal way to protect welders and other people in the workspace.  The closer the ventilation system’s intake is to the arc, the more effective it will be at removing them from welders’ breathing zones. 
 
Fume extraction MIG welding guns with a local exhaust ventilation system built into the nozzle of the welding gun ensure that the ventilation intake stays within several inches of the weld pool.  When connected to a vacuum with a HEPA filter or a central extraction system, the following fume extraction welding guns can help reduce welders' exposure to hazardous fumes:
 
 
Clean Air™ Fume Extraction MIG Gun by Bernard 
  • Price range: $1,200-1,400 (verified 4/12/2019)
  • Available amps: 300-600
  • Air or water cooled
  • About 15-20 lbs
  • Suitable for use with solid and flux-cored wires
 
Source: www.bernardwelds.com
 
 
 
Robovent Extractor
  • Price range: $800-1,100 (verified 4/12/2019)
  • Available amps: 250-500
  • Air or water cooled
  • About 3 lbs
  • Suitable for use with solid and flux-cored wires
 
Source: www.robovent.com
 
 
 
XFume™ Fume Extraction Gun by Abicor Binzel 
Price range: $1,400-1,600 (verified 4/12/19)
Available amps: 250-500
Air or water cooled
About 4 lbs
Suitable for use with solid and flux-cored wires
 
Source: www.binzel-abicor.com
 
 
 
Magnum® Pro Fume Extraction Gun by Lincoln Electric
  • Price range: $1,770-1,955
  • Available amps: 350-550
  • Air cooled
  • About 19 lbs
  • Suitable for use with solid and flux-cored wire

Source: www.lincolnelectric.com
 
 
 
7XE Mini Extractor Torch by Translas
  • Price range: $850-950 (verified 4/29/19)
  • Available amps: 250-280
  • Air cooled
  • About 2.5 lbs
  • Suitable for use with solid and flux-cored wires

Source: www.translas.com

 


Risks Addressed:

Exposure to welding fumes can cause a variety of health problems.  One of the most well-known is “metal fume fever,” which is characterized by tiredness, fever, nausea, aches, and chills.  However, welding fumes are made up of many different components depending on the base metal, the consumable, the shielding gas, and the welding process.  There are many other serious health problems that can affect welders depending on what compounds are in the fumes that they inhale.  Some of the most toxic compounds commonly found in welding fumes are:
 
  • Manganese - a metallic element that is present in most welding fume samples.  Although a very small amount is required for normal bodily function, excessive exposure can cause serious health problems.  Welders exposed over long periods of time can show symptoms of manganism (also called “parkinsonism”), a degenerative brain disease that causes tremors, impaired speech and movement, muscle spasms, mood disturbances and hallucinations.  The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists’ (ACGIH) Threshold Limit Value (TLV) for manganese is .02 mg/m3.                                                                                                                                                                           
  • Hexavalent chromium - usually found in fumes when welding, cutting, or burning stainless steel, high chrome galvanized steel, and other chrome-containing metals.  It can cause skin, throat, nose, and lung irritation and sores.  It is also very strongly associated with lung cancer and other cancers of the throat or nasal passages.  The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Recommended Exposure Limit (REL) for hexavalent chromium is 0.2 ug/m3.  However, it’s important to remember that there is no safe level of a cancer-causing substance.                                                                                                                                                            
  • Lead - present in welding fumes if the base metal has a lead-containing paint or coating.  Exposure to lead can cause a wide variety of health effects in almost every part of the body, but the most disturbing effects are neurological, affecting the brain, spine, and nerves.  They include memory loss, headache, irritability, cognitive dysfunction, and brain damage.  Kidney damage, joint pain, digestive issues, miscarriage, and infertility can also result.  The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) for lead is 50 ug/m3.

 

There are many other harmful substances in welding fumes, including nickel, zinc, cadmium, beryllium, and others.  Each one has the potential to cause significant health issues.  In addition to the specific diseases mentioned above, exposure to some of the metals in welding fumes can cause allergic sensitization.  Once you are sensitized, the only way to prevent an allergic reaction is by avoiding the substance.  Although some people can be exposed to a chemical hundreds of times without a reaction, other people may be sensitized the first time they are exposed.  There is currently no way to predict who will become sensitized or when.                                                                                            


How Risks are Reduced:

Fume extraction MIG welding guns use multiple exhaust openings built in to the nozzle of the gun to capture welding fumes directly at the source (Figure 1). 
 
 
Figure 1. Source: www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_v/otm_v_3.html
 

Once fumes have been captured by the inlets on the welding gun nozzle, they are routed to a HEPA filter or a safe point of emission away from the welder’s breathing zone.  Fume extraction guns are a practical solution for many environments, including confined spaces where the use of fume extraction arms may not be feasible.


Additional Considerations:

Since MIG welding relies on shielding gas to keep the weld from becoming porous, it’s important to monitor shielding gas flow rate when using a fume extraction gun.  Setting the flow rate too low could damage the weld, but setting it too high could push fumes away from the intake openings on the nozzle.  Always follow the manufacturer’s specifications for weld position.  For most guns, fume extraction is most effective on flat welds when the gun is held at a right angle above the workpiece.  Regular maintenance of the nozzle and liner are also recommended to prevent clogging or reduced airflow.


Contributors:

Sara Brooks, MPH: CPWR - The Center for Construction Research and Training

Alan Echt, MPH, DrPH - National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Mark Van Avery, Welding Assessor/CWI - International Training Institute


Hazards Addressed:

  • Pipes & Vessels
    • Weld, braze, solder, cut, or gouge pipe sections or vessel parts

Availability

Abicor Binzel
To obtain information, visit XFume™ Fume Extraction Gun or contact 1-301-846-4196

Bernard
To obtain information, visit Clean Air™ Fume Extraction MIG Gun or contact 1-855-MIGWELD (644-9353)

Translas
To obtain information, visit 7XE Mini Extractor Torch or contact 1-877-959-5714

Lincoln Electric
To obtain information, visit Magnum® Pro Fume Extraction Gun or contact 1-216-481-8100

Robovent
To obtain information, visit Extractor™ or contact 1-877-959-7639

Return on Investment

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