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CNC Laser Cutting: How Employee Exposure to Potentially Harmful Fumes Can Be Minimised

If you are contemplating using CNC laser cutters for your industrial cutting jobs, ensuring safe operation must be at the top of your mind. One of the major safety hazards that should concern you is the fumes that will be generated during the laser cutting process. The fumes can damage the machine, contaminate products, but also contaminate the air and harm human health. Here is a look at some of the best practices being employed to minimise operator exposure to potentially harmful laser cutter-generated fumes:

Equipping laser cutting equipment with an air filter or a fume exhaust system. Like it or not, some fumes will be given off during your laser cutting operations. The fumes are generated because the laser beam thermally disintegrates the substrate. To make sure the fumes do not pollute the work environment, an air filter or a fume exhaust system must be incorporated into laser cutting equipment. Air filters must be changed as specified by the manufacturer and if the exhaust system is playing up, operators must immediately stop working with the laser cutter and inform their supervisor about the problem.

Keeping laser cutters clean. After every cutting application, laser cutters must be thoroughly cleaned to remove any residual material. Materials left behind from previous jobs can increase the amount of fumes emitted. For that reason, laser cutting machines must be cleaned after every job according to the cleaning instructions included in the operator's manual.

Cutting uncontaminated materials. Another common reason why excessive fumes may be given off during laser cutting operations is that the materials being cut may be contaminated with dirt and other impurities. Before cutting materials in a laser cutter, operators must make sure that the materials are free of contamination.

Regulating the power of the laser. Every material has a unique set of physical and mechanical properties, thus requiring a specific laser power output to cut. Using excessive laser power when cutting a particular material can result in the excessive emission of fumes. Laser cutter operators must be instructed to use the laser power guidelines recommended for each job. This will help ensure the material being cut does not burn, leading to an increase in the amount of fumes produced.

Laser cutter safety does not stop here, so feel free to get in touch with laser cutting specialist to ask about what else can be done to ensure safe operation of your laser cutting equipment. Contact a cnc laser cutting service for more information and assistance.