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Welding Fume Extraction – Why Is It Important For Your Business?


In many industrial settings, workers are exposed to hazardous welding fumes and particulate matter that can have detrimental effects on their health. These fumes and particulate matter can be generated during activities such as welding, sanding, grinding, and polishing, and can contain toxic substances such as heavy metals and silica. To protect workers from exposure to these harmful substances and to comply with OH&S requirements, it is important to implement effective welding fume extraction solutions.

Table of least to most fume emitting

Why Are Welding Fumes Bad For You?

Welding fumes are a constant hazard to all industrial workers. Fumes of any sort can pose serious health risks to workers. However, welding fumes should not be the only concern; particles of any sort are ‘airborne contaminants’, and can be dangerous to anyone who breathes them in.

We are all aware of the severe impacts of asbestosis, and its links to developing cancer and mesothelioma. Now we are seeing outbreaks of silicosis in major industries, from stonemasonry to mining. This article outlines the potential fumes a standard fabricator or welder may be exposed to, the impact it can have on their health, and how Solar Whiz can provide a solution.

It is crucial to workers’ health and safety that all employers start considering welding fume extraction. Solar Whiz Commercial has you covered for ventilation of fumes and other airborne contaminants.

Familiarise yourself with the risks—Read Safe Work Australia’s workplace standards for airborne contaminants.

General ventilation systems […] may be useful to control minor emissions of contaminants of low toxicity. In designing a (ventilation) system, particular attention should be paid to fan selection and to the placement of air extractors and fresh air supply openings. In particular, the movement of air should be arranged so that clean air streams are drawn past workers and contaminated ones lead away from them.

Safe Work Australia

on Welding – Fumes and Gases

Many businesses rely on passive whirlybird extractors, but these are ineffective and don’t achieve results that keep workers safe. The main issues with whirlybirds are:

  1. Reliance on wind & heat – It is not always going to be hot or windy. In wintertime, it is entirely possible for a whirlybird to move with no wind at all.
  2. Poor performance – Your average residential whirlybird scarcely moves 100m³/h. Commercial-grade whirlybirds feature better throat size and machinery, but still, underperform compared to powered ventilators.
  3. Prone to seizing – Have a look at some whirlybirds on the roofs of homes or businesses. You’ll likely spot one or two whirlybirds in a group that aren’t moving, while the rest are. Ball bearings can rust or be jammed, which prevents a whirlybird from working at all.

Solar Whiz Commercial can provide up to 10,000m³/h of uninterrupted airflow. Direct overhead extraction removes fume build-up and replaces it with fresh outdoor air. Aside from ventilating fumes, you also guarantee a cooler, more comfortable workplace for you and your staff.

Solar Whiz smoke and welding fume extraction fans feature:

  • Solar-powered: The Solar Whiz smoke and welding fume extraction fan is powered by solar energy, which makes it an energy-efficient and cost-effective solution.
  • High extraction rate: Solar Whiz smoke and welding fume extractor fan has a high extraction rate of up to 10,000 cbm per hour, which means that it can quickly and effectively remove harmful welding fumes from the industrial workspace.
  • Easy installation: Our smoke and welding fume extraction fan is easy to install and can be mounted on any roof type, making it a versatile option.
  • Low maintenance: Solar Whiz smoke and weld fume extractor fan requires minimal maintenance, which helps to reduce ongoing costs.
  • Thermostat-controlled. Our smoke and weld fume extract fan’s built-in thermostat (optional) ensures that it operates at optimal times, helping to maximize energy efficiency and further reduce ongoing costs.
  • Durable construction: All components are made in Stainless steel 304 (optional SS316), except for the fan cap and flashing, which are made from aluminium, which makes it durable and long lasting, even in harsh Australian environments.
  • Environmentally friendly: The Solar Whiz smoke and welding fume extraction fan is an environmentally friendly solution, as it uses solar power and does not contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
Interior of Master Form, VIC, site of 3× SW-RAF10000 units.

What’s Inside Welding Fumes?

The welding process generates a wide range of different fumes and gasses. The fumes produced depend on the materials being welded, but some examples include:

  1. Aluminium fumes
  2. Beryllium fumes
  3. Chromium fumes
  4. Copper fumes
  5. Iron oxides
  6. Lead fumes
  7. Nickel fumes
  8. Zinc fumes

Each type of gas can cause symptoms that vary in severity from minor respiratory discomfort to acute irritation and metal fume fever. While some effects are temporary and easily treated, many fumes have been recognised as carcinogenic or otherwise dangerous to long-term health.

There are a range of different methods that can be used to manage the risks associated with working in a hazardous environment (read more on the Cancer Council’s page dedicated to welding fume), but these are not perfect or always applicable. For example, submerged arc welding (SAW) is a fantastic way to suppress the immense amount of UV light and fumes that are generated without sacrificing the weld’s quality. However, SAW welding is difficult to perform on rounded or complicated surfaces, which make it impractical in some circumstances. This method also requires a strict handling procedure and recycling system in place to be truly effective.

Fume extraction is essential. Without it, airborne contaminants will build up inside a workspace or rise overhead. Left untreated, the particulate count can rise to unsafe levels and jeopardise the health of workers. There is plenty of documentation on exposure standards to make sure workers and employers understand the risks.

Want to learn more about welding fumes & gasses?—Read CCOHS’s Fact Sheet on welding fumes & gasses.


Effective Welding Fume Extraction Fans

Interior of Modular Cranes, VIC, site of 3× SW-RAF10000 units.

Benefits of Using Solar Whiz for Smoke and Welding Fume Extraction

  1. Improved air quality: Solar Whiz smoke and welding fume extraction fans help to extract harmful welding fumes, which improves the air quality in the workplace and reduces respiratory issues.
  2. Reduced health risks: By removing welding fumes from the air, Solar Whiz welding fume extraction fans help to reduce the risk of serious health issues, such as lung cancer and COPD.
  3. Increased productivity: By reducing symptoms associated with welding fumes, such as headaches and fatigue, Solar Whiz welding fume extraction fans can help to increase worker productivity.
  4. Compliance with health and safety regulations: Using Solar Whiz smoke exhaust and welding fume extraction fans can help your workplace comply with health and safety regulations, which can help you avoid costly fines and legal issues.
  5. Lower energy costs: Solar-powered weld fume extraction fans can significantly reduce your energy costs, as they do not require electricity from the grid.
  6. Reduced carbon footprint: By using a renewable energy source, such as solar power, you can reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a more sustainable future.
  7. Improved employee morale: Providing a safe and comfortable working environment through effective smoke extraction enhances employee morale, job satisfaction, and retention rates, fostering overall company success.
  8. Versatility in Industrial Settings: Solar Whiz smoke and weld fume extraction fans are suitable for various industrial settings, including factories, workshops, and manufacturing plants, ensuring broad applicability and adaptability to specific needs.

Final Thoughts on Smoke and Welding Fume Extraction

With the risks caused by fumes and gasses becoming more apparent, it is important to protect your business.

If you are looking for effective welding fume extraction solutions for your workplace, contact Solar Whiz today. We would be happy to schedule a consultation to discuss your specific needs and develop a tailored solution that meets your requirements.

At Solar Whiz, we are committed to providing the highest level of service and support to our clients. We understand that worker health and safety are a top priority, and we are dedicated to providing cost-effective solutions that protect workers while maintaining productivity and efficiency. With our range of welding fume extractor fans, we can help you achieve a safe and healthy work environment that meets all regulatory requirements.

Be sure to check out our successful installations and case studies for real-world examples of how Solar Whiz’s smoke and welding fume extraction fans have helped businesses like yours achieve a safer and healthier workplace.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are welding fumes?

Welding fumes are a mixture of gases and fine particles that are produced when metal is heated and melted during welding, cutting, or brazing operations. These fumes can contain harmful substances such as metals, gases, and vapors that can be hazardous to human health if inhaled.

What are the health effects of welding fumes?

Inhaling welding fumes can cause a range of health effects, including respiratory irritation, asthma, lung cancer, and metal fume fever. Long-term exposure to welding fumes can also lead to chronic lung diseases such as bronchitis and emphysema.

What is a Solar Whiz welding fume extraction fan?

The Solar Whiz welding fume extraction fan is a type of industrial ventilation system that is designed to remove welding fumes and other harmful airborne contaminants from the workplace. It uses solar power to operate and is environmentally friendly, cost-effective, and easy to install.

How does a Solar Whiz welding fume extraction fan work?

The Solar Whiz welding fume extraction fan uses solar power and 24-volt DC power to remove welding fumes and other airborne contaminants from the workplace. The fume extractor fan is mounted on the roof of the building and draws in fresh air through access points such as open roller doors, doors, vents or other openings located around the workspace creating a constant flow of fresh, uncontaminated air.

What are the benefits of using a Solar Whiz welding fume extraction fan?

The benefits of using a Solar Whiz welding fume extraction fan include improved air quality, reduced health risks for workers, reduced energy costs, and increased productivity. The welding fume extraction fan is also easy to install and maintain and is environmentally friendly.

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