If you have just opened your own metalworking facility or you are looking for ways to stretch your budget, then you have landed on the right page.
Although our machines here at Dake are the most cost-efficient models on the market, running a metalworking shop of any size can get expensive. It isn’t just the cost of machines that you have to cover. There is also the cost of materials, hand tools, wearables, solvents, coolants, filters, storage, and so much more.
One of the most important overhead costs of a metalworking shop is the air. You could have a shop full of the top machines, but it will not be conducive to working inside if the air is not breathable.
In this post, our experts will share 5 budget-friendly ways to keep breathable air pumping through your metalworking facility.
Why Air Quality Is Important
Before we jump into our budget-friendly countdown, let’s discuss why air quality is so crucial to running a productive metalworking shop.
Poor air quality can lead to very serious health risks for anyone working inside the shop. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), fumes and toxic particles floating around can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. It can also cause dizziness, headaches, and fatigue along with a slew of even more dangerous complications like heart disease, respiratory disease, and cancer.
If your facility doesn’t have a way to keep toxic fumes under permissible exposure limits, then you may also be in for a hefty fine from Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
You can’t just install a few fans and be done with it. You need to perform an air quality evaluation to determine the best course of action for your shop. Now, without any further ado, here are our best tips for keeping breathable air in your facility without breaking your budget.
1. Minimize Dust Collection Costs
One of the best ways to keep the air inside your shop clean is to prevent toxic particles from circulating in the first place. You can do this by using a dust collection system to capture fumes and particles as close to the source as possible.
If you install a general dust collector system away from the source of contaminants, then you will be wasting energy which translates to money. Instead, use a smaller dust collector closer to the source of the pollutants. Not only will this consume less energy, but it will also suck up the toxins before they begin to circulate throughout the shop.
We like to refer to this method of dust collection as source capture, and we recommend using it whenever possible including backdrafts, crossflow tables, and fume arms/guns. For robotic welding, we recommend a hood system.
While the hood system is self-explanatory, let’s discuss fume guns for a moment. These are our favorite because they suck up fumes directly from the source, and they require a lot less energy. You can easily hook one up to a HVAC dust collector.
If you need to collect loose particles from sawing or grinding machines, crossflow tables and backdrafts are the way to go. Fume guns aren’t able to collect particles.
2. Switch from Ventilation to Filtration
While ventilation systems are more affordable initially, they aren’t necessarily cheaper in the long run. These systems require outside air to be pulled into the facility as the contaminated indoor air is pushed outside.
The problem with this system is heating and cooling. If you cool your facility in the summer and heat it in the winter, the ventilation system can lead to a massive energy bill at the end of the month. It’s kind of like having the heater or A/C on in your house with the windows open. This can also cause unnecessary stress on your HVAC system which can lead to unscheduled service issues.
At the end of the day, a filtration system saves you a lot of money on energy costs. It also provides better protection for workers and the outside environment since it using a series of filters to capture pollutants.
3. Size Matters
Choosing an appropriately sized filtration system is also important to keep good air quality in your metalworking shop. If you get a system that is far too big for your facility, you will be spending more than is necessary upfront. However, if you get a filtration system that is too small, then you will be met with higher energy costs when the bills roll in.
To determine the size you need, you need to look at the air-to-cloth ratio. If you have a high volume of toxins to filter out, then you need a lower air-to-cloth ratio. This means that you need more filter media to capture the particles.
4. Choose Long-Lasting Filters
Just like any product available for sale, different filters will have various features that you should take a close look at. We recommend finding filters that have life-extending technology incorporated into the design. Here are some key features to look for:
- Pulsing: This feature blows dust off of the filter periodically to prevent buildup.
- Dynamic Pulsing: This feature stops dust particles from re-entering other filters.
Pro Tip: Vertical filters last longer than horizontal filters because dust particles do not settle on the surface.
5. Automation Is Your Friend
If you have the money to invest in an automated dust collection system, then go for it. While these do cost more initially, they will save you quite a bit of money in energy and maintenance costs down the road.
Automated start/stop systems will be triggered to engage only when the machine is working. These are great energy savers. Dake Air Arbor Press 1-210 comes with a quality air cylinder.
Learn More from Dake
Are you just starting to create your metalworking shop? Our experts here at Dake can help you choose the right machines to get started along with our recommendations for filtration systems. Nothing makes our team happier than sharing our knowledge with you. Get in touch with us today.