August '21

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 1 A U G U S T G R A P H I C S P R O 7 5 tough one. However, a great place to start is fume extraction, one of the most often overlooked aspects of laser installation. All laser marking, engraving, and cutting systems unavoidably generate respirable dust (2.5 microns and less) and/or volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can be harmful to your health. The good news is that most reputable laser manufacturers recommend and even offer solutions for evacuating or capturing the laser fumes so that you can safely breathe clean air while working. LASER FUME EXTRACTION OPTIONS You basically have two options: 1) Use outdoor venting via a blower and fixed ducting directed to the outdoors; or 2) Use a filtering fume extractor, which captures the fume directly into air filters and then recirculates clean air back into the room. The first option may seem easy enough, but beware! There are several hidden com- plexity traps associated with sending fumes to the outdoors. I've seen these issues over and over again in my 20-plus years in the fume extraction industry. COMPLEXITY PITFALLS AND SIMPLIFIED SOLUTIONS Outdoor Venting Potential Pitfall No. 1: The blower pulls the fumes out of the laser and then pushes the fumes outdoors through a duct system. Sounds simple enough. However, you will have to bore one or more 4" – 6" diameter holes through the interior wall as well as the exterior brick or concrete wall to allow the duct to pass through to the outdoors. This is not a trivial task. You need special- ized boring equipment or will need to hire a construction contractor, but in both cases there is a risk of damaging the walls. Unfor- tunately, you may find that your landlord prohibits these modifications to the building anyway. In addition, the ducting should be installed by a professional HVAC contrac- tor to ensure that the ducts are appropriately sealed and up to code. Simplified Solution: A filtering fume extractor is a free-standing piece of equip- ment that has a blower and filters within a cabinet. It draws the fumes from the laser via an included flexible hose and then filters

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