Plutonium – Chromium IV – Tobacco smoke – UV radiation. These are substances that sound scary and have been known as very harmful for many years, and much effort has been made to minimize emissions and exposure of them. The elements are described as very harmful and carcinogenic and are therefore classified in the highest risk class (Group 1) for potential cancer risk to humans. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), it has now emerged clear evidence that all types of welding smoke is carcinogenic and therefore also being placed in the same risk class as the above elements. In this article we will look at effective removal of welding smoke.
What does this mean?
IARC has now classified welding smoke in the upper risk class, this means significantly stricter requirements for working conditions around all types of welding and processes involving welding. Requirements are set for both employers and employees. When the new results from IARC regarding welding smoke was published, it was immediately implemented a comprehensive effort to assess and test effective ways to protect the welder.
Based on the new classifications, there are now new demands and norms in Europe, ready to be implemented. In Germany, a new draft is out for consultation on initiative of the Committee on Hazardous Substances (AGS in Germany). The draft is called TRGS-528 and is an upgrade of the former norm based on the new classifications. The new draft sets stricter requirements for workers’ health and working conditions with respect to pollutions. The reason for the new edition is to implement a more risk-based concept to reduce the dangers in work situations. The new edition now refers to concrete practical measures based on research results including current measurement results. The goal is to provide a practical and feasible guide to reach the goals set for dangerous substances in the working atmosphere – effective removal of welding smoke.
Rough content of the draft (TRGS-528)
The main purpose of the draft (TRGS-528) is to emphasize installation of technical air solutions that eliminate/reduces the release of pollution based on the following priorities:
1. Secure and avoid contamination in the welder’s breathing zone.
2. Safeguard and avoid pollution in the welder’s working area.
3. Safeguard and avoid contamination in other colleagues’ work area.
Furthermore, there are specified ways of doing this most effective. For welding this means:
1. Extract as close to welding point as possible. At the same time, it is required that you know the required exhaust amount to remove the pollution, and that the welders are trained and motivated to use the chose the solution.
Prioritized suggestions for solution (from the content of TRGS-528 draft):
1. Extraction in/on welding gun/torch.
2. Extraction via suction nozzle in immediate vicinity of the welding.
3. Extraction via a low vacuum extractor-arm.
4. Extraction via the above in combination with a breathing mask.
Conclusion in the draft (TRGS-528)
- To comply with the authorities’ requirements and new norm (TRGS 528
- To improve and optimize health, environment and safety of the workers.
- To reduce costs.
- To choose an optimal solution for an extraction system for welding smoke removal according to TRGS-528.
The main goal is to effective remove welding smoke from the working environment.
The answer from the draft (TRGS-528) is: HIGH VACUUM extraction and products.
REGLO AS – Manufacturer of High Vacuum solutions
In Norway, there is not much production of such high vacuum systems and products, which are adapted to the new and stricter demands that will come soon. In Andebu, Norway, outside Toensberg you will find the company REGLO AS which is a small, but highly experienced and knowledgeable company, who has produced such equipment for almost 50 years. This company is specialized on high vacuum solutions and products for the welding industry, and possesses a lot of knowledge in the area. The company history can be illustrated as follows:
Have you worked in mechanical industry in Norway? Then you will probably recognize some of these logos – REGLO AS, EFFEX, Minibuster or MB. REGLO AS has during these 50 years, delivered more than 500 installations on the Norwegian market linked to one of the names above. The products have always been promoted with optimum quality, function and long lifetime as the main target. This means that many of the above installations are still in use. Most of the existing installations can easily be upgraded to meet today’s and the future’s requirements. And if you talk about quality and long lifetime, then it’s probably not without reason that Lincoln Electric Co. sells and market REGLO AS’ products on it US and Canadian market with great success, and have done so since 1996.
New extraction solutions for robot welding
With the development in the mechanical industry, new methods for production have emerged. Automated production using welding robots, is becoming more and more usual. Extraction requirements are also strict here. Such extraction solutions are, normally, very expensive and energy intensive. This has REGLO AS addressed, in cooperate with a German engineering company, and developed a very efficient and affordable high vacuum system specified for robot welding.
These systems have now been tested, approved and recently been installed at the car giants Volkswagen’s and Opel’s manufacturing sites in Germany.
Have a quick look at this video of robot welding and high vacuum extraction.
EIVA-SAFEX AS and REGLO AS in the Norwegian market
Now, with new norms and requirements on the tip of the stairs, and high vacuum is prioritized as the most effective way to remove welding smoke on, REGLO AS is looking at a very exciting future ahead. To be best equipped for the future, REGLO AS considered a partner to cover the Norwegian market in the best possible way. To maintain core values such as quality, reliability and security, the choice was not difficult. REGLO AS has now entered into a close collaboration with EIVA-SAFEX AS for marketing and sales of its high vacuum products on the Norwegian market.
EIVA-SAFEX AS with its departments spread across Norway, will be able to assist the market with knowledge, solutions and products for every welding-related task. EIVA-SAFEX AS puts Health, Environment and Safety, quality and security at the top of their priorities. The collaboration with REGLO AS will give EIVA-SAFEX AS’ portfolio an extra dimension.
Ready for the future
With the experience and distribution network of EIVA-SAFEX AS, combined with the knowledge and product range from REGLO AS, the collaboration seems to be a very good combination to help the industry to meet the requirements set for welding fumes and protection of the worker in the future – effective removal of welding smoke.
To read more about REGLO AS portfolio and see more videos of high vacuum products at work, visit REGLO AS’ website.