A Deeper Dive into Fume Extraction

Fume extraction is an essential partner to any laser marking system. Fume extraction serves two very important functions to a laser marking system.

 1. Protection of the operator and the environment in which the marking system is operating.

 2. Protection on the investment of your machine equipment.

Whether you have an older marking machine that was not previously implemented with a fume extraction solution or are purchasing a new marking machine, it’s imperative that you know the importance of fume extraction for your operator and machine. Let us take a deeper dive into fume extraction solutions as well as the potential hazards that proper fume extraction will eliminate.

  1. Proper fume extraction’s number one priority is to safeguard the operators and the environment in which the machine is operating. As we have discussed in other Beamer Laser Marking documents, the 1064nm wavelength will mark metals, plastics, and ceramics in contrast. When marking those materials, there is a byproduct that is called “off-gassing”. Off-gassing can happen in the form of large particulate, small particulate, and vapors/gasses. Below are some examples of “off-gassing” based on the type of mark and material you are marking:
    • Metal/ Oxidization (Black Marking)
      • The process of oxidizing the surface of a metallic part creates “larger” particulate of oxidized material that floats in the air. This process may also create vapors if there is cutting fluid, grease, and other contaminates on the surface of the material.
    • Etching/ Deep Engraving (Ablation)
      • The process of etching is the microscopic removal of metallic material which creates large particulate of oxidized substrate. This process is usually combined with the removal of specific coatings on the metallic surface such as: anodization, E coat, Ceracoat, paint, powder coat, and many others. Removing these coatings on metallic surfaces will generate large and small particulate as well as vapors/gasses when being marked with a fiber laser.
    • Annealing
      • Annealing is the process of marking below the surface of a ferrous material to draw carbon to the surface and create a dark mark. Since you are marking below the surface of the material, there is very little particulate being “off-gassed”.  If you have any cutting fluid, grease or other contaminates on your part, you may create some vapors while marking.
    • Foaming/ Charring
      • Foaming and charring of plastics create a tremendous amount of vapor when using a 1064nm marking system. Foaming and charring create contractual microscopic bubbles in the surface of plastic that can “off-gas” hazardous vapors.  Proper fume extraction is extremely important for your operator and manufacturing environment while marking plastics.  Depending on the chemical makeup of the plastic you are marking, the vapors/ gases created can cause some serious issues. Please refer to the MSDS of the material to better understand the vapors/ gasses that are being released into the air when marking plastics.
    • Potential Health Effects for your Operator
      • Inflammations and tissue changes in the breathing organs.
      • Asthma, allergies, functional disorders of the lungs.
      • Deterioration of the lung’s ability to clean itself, lung cancer.

Please check out Beamer Laser Marking Systems “Ultimate Laser Marking Guide” for more details and information on the types of marks you can make with a 1064nm fiber laser.

  1. The secondary function of proper fume extraction when using a laser marking system is to safeguard the investment in your new machine equipment. Since you have invested in a new laser marking machine or have an existing marking machine that needs to be retrofitted with a fume extraction solution here are some things to think about:
    • Machine Longevity
      • Fume extraction will help protect the sensitive electronic components of the machine such as the PLC, computer tower, linear drive motors, and rotary indexers.  This is imperative for the longevity of these components. If oxidized metallic particulate builds up in the linear drive motors and electronic components, it can cause them to prematurely fail.
    • Machine Cleanliness/ Routine Maintenance
      • When utilizing a properly selected fume extraction system with your marking machine it will keep the interior of your machine looking like the day you bought it. This will help ensure a clean workspace and manufacturing environment for your operators.
      • Preventative maintenance on your machine decreases to changing your filters on the fume extraction systems.

Beamer’s relationship with TBH gives us the ability to provide our customers the best laser marking & fume extraction solution, all under one roof.  The safety of your operators and productivity of your operations is our number one goal.  Reach out to Beamer Laser Marking Systems today to discuss all your industrial laser marking and fume extraction needs!

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