Dust extractors are essential for maintaining a safe and healthy work environment where ever laser cutters or plasma cutters are operating. Their function is to draw away toxic fumes and dust that are produced as part of the cutting process. Making sure they are functioning correctly is essential to maintaining air quality in the factory and protecting yourself and your employees from potential respiratory illness, and they must also be maintained properly to reduce the risk of fire.
Dust extractors should be inspected and cleaned at regular maintenance intervals to ensure that there is not an excessive build up of dust and slag in the vacuum chamber and filters. The material collected is very fine and may be made up of dissimilar metals if various types of metal are cut in the time frame between cleanings or if the extractor services more than one machine. These dust-like fines can be combustible. Delay in attending to the extractor when required can create a fire hazard.
Some extractor systems are fitted with a vacuum gauge which should be checked regularly. Change the filters before the gauge is in the red line area. If the gauge suddenly red lines it may indicate a clog in the system which should be attended immediately. If the system is in the red line area it's putting strain on the extraction motor and is not doing the job it is intended to do as the system does not have adequate air flow. If there is no gauge on the extractor, a regular inspection of the filters is required - ensure that manufacturer's instructions are followed and appropriate PPE is worn for this job. Similarly, some extraction systems have a baffle chamber to catch heavier material. This chamber needs to be inspected and emptied regularly as per manufacturer's recommendations.
It is also important to note that cutting material that is non-metallic, such as plastic, is not recommended for many extractors and can cause premature failure of the filter membrane. Check your manufacturer's recommendations to ensure that you are only using your equipment for the purpose for which it was intended. Special filtration devices may be required for cutting non-metallic materials.
How can you tell if your extractor is having a problem? You may be able to see dust being vented into the area near the extractor outlet, or you may notice that the extractor fan is covered with dust. If either of these signs is observed, check your gauge, done the appropriate PPE, check the chamber and the filters for leaks or a blown (pierced) filter.
This week at DJES we had another wonderful opportunity to work with our customers doing staff training. One of the more interesting questions that was posed was - is water quality that important when doing laser water changes? The short answer is ABSOLUTELY! Industrial and water cooled YAG lasers for laser welding require deionised water with a specific conductivity which is checked at the time of the water change. What is the difference between distilled, demineralised and deionised water? Keeping it short and simple without a chemistry class, distilled water is boiled. Bacteria and viruses are killed and the steam from the boiling process is condensed and collected. This leaves salts and other non-volatile contaminants behind in the boilig container when the steam is condensed and the water vapour droplets are collected into a clean container. Some volatiles may be collected in this process but are of minimal concern in the amounts collected. Deionised water can go through one of several different processing methods, but are basically passed through charged resin filters which attract and remove ions in the water, and may also attract some, but not all, of the bacteria that may be present in the water. The outcome is basically water that has a low conductivity, that may still contain some bacteria and viruses. Demineralised water is processed to remove minerals, but some ions, bacteria, viruses, volatiles and other contaminants can remain.
The important point is that the water used is very high purity and has low conductivity. Any water process that leaves ions behind will not produce water of the quality required in your laser system as ions are conductive. Manufacturers will always clearly indicate which type of water is to be used in your laser system and if additional water treatments are required.
Some maintenance tips for water changes:
One thing we all make comment on is the quality of products available lately. There are many brands of every possible piece of merchandise out there for major consumption. Gone are the days of one or two choices, and sometimes it seems that gone are the days of assumed quality. Remember when your parents had to replace their washing machine or refrigerator after 25 - 30 years of service? That used to be the norm, and now it's nearly unheard of.
In the fabrication industry there are lots of brands of equipment available with varying levels of quality and service. Here at DJES, we sell only one brand of fabrication equipment - Scotchman. Scotchman has been making ironworkers since the 1960's. They are still made in the USA and they are still high quality products offering a 3 year warranty. We also service Scotchman products, because as we all know, a sale without backup service can be an experience to be remembered!
When you need a reliable piece of equipment for your shop, choose one from a well known company with a solid background and a reputation for reliability. Ask the sales person "Where is your service team, and what is their experience?" Here in Australia we have Scotchman products available from a company that was built providing service by a director that has done industrial service for over 35 years. Buy your Scotchman ironworker, cold cut saw, band saw or Advanced Measuring System from DJES where we offer "Service Excellence with Integrity".
LaserStar is a leader in the laser welding and laser marking industry. Their quality machines, made in the USA, are found in a wide range of industries including jewellery studios, dental laboratories, automotive, injection mold repair, aerospace, medical device manufacturing and many others requiring precision welding or marking. The machines range from compact desktop models to larger models that can incorporate a variety of precision motion devices.
One of the things we are finding is that customers that we contact consistently say that now that they have worked with a LaserStar laser welder that they wouldn't be able to work without one. The laser welding or engraving process becomes an integral part of their business letting them accomplish both routine and difficult repairs and fabrication more quickly and easily. Fabrication ability is expanded. More importantly, they have all said that they have been satisfied with their investment in a LaserStar system.
DJES is proud to be the LaserStar reseller in Australia and New Zealand. We have begun reaching out to customers so you may hear from us soon. If not, please feel free to contact us at any time, whether for more information, sales, parts, service or just to say g'day.
It was time. DJES has gone through a lot of change and growth these past years and it is time for a new look, so welcome to our new website and our new look. You may notice our new logo. It was designed in Spain. We felt the look was contemporary and bold and still had some elements of our old logo (if you look at them that closely). Rest assured, although we've changed our look a bit, we are still the same company you trust for your sales and service of industrial equipment. The company motto remains the same - "Service Excellence with Integrity."