Welding fumes are known to be particularly poisonous and a contaminant to the surrounding air, which is why welding solutions provider Unique Welding focuses on advanced welding safety, particularly in the petrochemicals industry for companies such as integrated chemicals and petrochemicals company Sasol.
“In petrochemicals plants, fires can occur when molten slag or splatter falls onto flammable materials. However, the safety risk does not end there as welders can suffocate in confined spaces, owing to oxygen deprivation,” Unique Welding Alloys CEO Nazmi Adams mentions.
The Thermamax powered, air- purifying respirator system is a type of personal protective equipment that Unique Welding advocates to protect welders from poisonous welding fumes.
“The system purifies air by sucking it through a series of specific air filters, subsequently delivering clean, purified air into the helmet for the welder to breathe. The type of metal being welded will determine the filter to be used in the system. Using the incorrect filter renders the system ineffective against specific harmful fumes,” explains Unique Welding marketing and product development manager Nicole Black.
She mentions that the powered, air-purifying respirator system is beneficial for eliminating not only welding fumes but also the inhalation of petrochemical fumes, as it also functions as a respiratory device.
When working on welding projects in the petrochemicals industry, welders are encouraged to use filters that will assist in filtering welding and petrochemical fumes.
Adams explains that, to minimise risks, a Thermamax-supplied air-purifying respirator system can be fitted to an external compressed air supply. “Unique Welding can supply the systems with built-in oxygen sensors that will alert the welder, should oxygen levels drop.”
Black notes that, although a variety of welding metals are used in the petrochemicals industry, stainless steel is preferred.
While cheaper imitations of the powered, air-purifying respirator system are available, it will most likely not include the correct, high-quality air filters, Adams warns. “The construction of these cheap imitations may also be of inferior quality, which can cause gaps between the external and internal environment of the powered, air-purifying respirator system. This will allow for the poisonous fumes to enter into the breathing space of the welder.”
Additionally, he mentions that many cheap welding helmets do not comply with European standards. This can harm the welder’s eyes and, most typically, result in welder fatigue, which affects productivity.
Unique Welding, therefore, does not take any shortcuts when it comes to safety. The company ensures that it provides users with a filter selection chart to guide them in using the correct filters with its systems.