July '20

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4 8 G R A P H I C S P R O J U L Y 2 0 2 0 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M Usually, most extractors also have meters to let the operator know how blocked a fil- ter is, and when it's time to change the filter out, sometimes accompanied by an audio alarm. Paired with these onboard features, "the best sensor in the world is your nose," Baird argues. "If you smell it, it's time to start changing your carbon." Shops on a tighter budget can also opt for more analog-style filtration units, which still help filtrate particulates and fumes but won't necessarily have an onboard monitor- ing system or a return airflow. If monitor- ing specific gases from materials like acrylic, rubber, leather, and/or wood, producers can invest in a gas sensor as well as an air quality monitor for extra insurance. Aside from the built-in features of an ex- tractor, producers must ensure what they're purchasing fits their business from a regu- latory standpoint. Snell advises shops to talk with their distributor or manufacturer about what kinds of products they're using the fume extractor with, and what their output volume looks like as it will narrow down which machine best fits the business. This is important because officials known as Certified Laser Safety Officers are charged with ensuring the health and safety aspects of lasers in the workplace. While larger en- graving and graphics companies, such as those in the Fortune 500 category, might have a department focused solely on com- pliance and safety, smaller mom-and-pop operations are responsible for staying on top of everything from human resources, to fire code, to laser regulations. Consulting with the manufacturer helps them stay informed and, ideally, sidestep any issues with ordi- nances or fines. POWER CONSIDERATIONS Power considerations for a fume extrac- tor are typically relative to the printing or engraving machinery it's working in con- junction with. For example, a smaller laser usually runs on single-phase power; hence the fume extractor is also able to run on single phase. If a shop is considering running multiple lasers, or other fume-emitting equipment, simultaneously, Snell suggests that this scenario may warrant upgrading to three- phase power. This way, the shop can run a heavier-duty extractor that can keep up with all the machines' output or multiple extractors if necessary. With square footage, Snell estimates the capacity for three-phase to be roughly around 1,000 CFM. Baird points out that in PAT Technol- ogy's case, the company tends to follow the requirements of the host machine, so if a business is already equipped to run its printer or laser, they shouldn't necessarily need to upgrade those requirements. If upgrading to 220V, sources urge pro- ducers to consult a professional electrician. Aside from ensuring a safe installation, working with a contracted professional sidesteps any issues of machines in the pro- duction area not getting the correct amount of power they need to operate, and avoids any damage that could occur from hooking equipment up to improperly configured electrical setups. All sources agree that when a shop is ready to invest in a fume extractor, they should consider operational costs and capital expenses, rather than the lowest price ticket on a machine. Some extractors cost more upfront, but Baird presents an example of how that cost will pay for itself. "When you're dealing with certain materi- als like acrylic, you want the largest carbon filter possible," he stresses, explaining that if a shop opts for a smaller machine, they'll spend more time and money continually replacing the filter. "An 80-pound capac- ity machine will cost you more to buy, but over time, it'll be less expensive from an operational standpoint." By consulting with fume extractor spe- cialists, producers can find the ideal combi- nation of a machine that fits their business and a piece of equipment that fits into their operational budget. Best of all, they'll be equipped with a device that helps maintain a clean, safe environment for themselves, employees, and customers. GP MIKE CLARK is the editor-at-large for GRAPHICS PRO magazine and parent company NBM. He previ- ously served as the associate editor for Printwear and Sign & Digital Graphics magazines. Contact him at In regard to power consumption, extractors typically require the same power as the host machine. (Image courtesy Purex Fume Extraction by BSE)

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