What Changes When Implementing Robotic Fume Extraction In Your Operation?

Posted by Etienne Blouin on Sep 29, 2020 10:50:37 AM
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Are you looking to continue advancing your welding process? You've completed the first step by adding robots to your operation, but now you're looking to improve safety among your team. Step two is setting up a robotic fume extraction system in your plant to improve air quality. The xFUME™ ROBO by ABICOR BINZEL USA and CA is the most effective and economical way to control welding smoke emissions with fume source capture.

What do you need to get started?

In order to start this process, you will need to verify that you have the essential system parts before purchasing the xFUME™ ROBO kit. Our robotic fume extraction system attaches to any current Binzel robotic torch that you may have on your robots. If you do not already have one of our torches, you will want to look at the robotic torches we offer. You can choose between air-cooled, which is the ABIROB-A, or the water-cooled version, which is ABIROB-W or ABIROB-WH. All of these standard Binzel torches are compatible with the xFUME ROBO.

 IndustriFumeIn addition to this, you will need a vacuum system that has the proper characteristics to perform the right amount of flow and static pressure to get efficient smoke extraction with your robot. The IndustriFume™, with 28HP and up to 99.9% fume capture rate depending on the filter, is the best vacuum system to pair with the xFUME ROBO because it can fit between 4-6 robots at the same time. This high power, robust system is designed to extract maximum fume capture and offer easier maintenance than typical vacuum systems. The IndustriFume has automatic filter cleaning and start/stop functions for user-friendly, low maintenance handling. With the xFUME ROBO and IndustriFume working together, this powerful pair create optimal smoke extraction. 

How will this change my current setup?

You have everything you need, but now you're wondering how you will set this up and fit these systems into your already installed robotic operation. When creating the xFUME ROBO, we had been thinking about integration of the system in the design. By design, this robotic fume extraction system is made to be easy to add to any setup without major changes. With the xFUME ROBO fitting only Binzel robotic torches, we were able to plan for exactly how the installation will occur. We have included straps to attach to the hose so that the system does not interfere with your operation. 

The system we created will be installed at a safe distance from the welding process. Smoke extraction will occur from the start, but will not interfere with shielding gas. Our robotic fume extraction system does not keep your robot from performing the way it was designed to. 

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The collector body, which is the system connected to the robotic torch, has a rubber boot on the end where the fume is captured. The boot is flexible and mobile, meaning if you are trying to reach a tight area, you have the ability to move the boot around to squeeze it in and continue extracting smoke. This design is further improving the capacity to which you can reach your weld rather than restricting it. 

To make matters even easier, there is usually no reprogramming that needs completed on your robot. If you already have a Binzel torch set up, that means your TCP and geometry would stay the same as well. In this case, you would simplify put your fume extraction kit directly onto your Binzel torch and begin welding immediately. The process of fume extraction can be optimized based on the direction of the weld. In the optimizing phase, it is not always necessary to reprogram, but rather an option you can consider. Do what is best for your operation and test different ways to access your weld to ensure the boot is not interfering and is offering optimal extraction. 

xFUME-ROBO-Exploded-View

What will this cost me?

There are two ways to implement fume extraction systems in a robotic operation. The first is installing a local exhaust ventilation engineered system around your robot. These systems are expensive, high maintenance, and far less efficient when it comes to extracting maximum smoke. While the upfront cost may not seem daunting, the long-term cost of monthly energy fees to cycle the large volume of air continuously will add up. The xFUME ROBO is much lower in cost between the set up and maintenance to continuing running it. The overhead cost will be related to the initial capital expense to buy the vacuum and fume extraction kit, cost of maintenance and filter changes, and the electrical cost of using the vacuum. When you consider all of these factors, this route is more economically sound in regards to effectiveness compared to local exhaust ventilation or engineered systems in the market today. Ultimately, the cost isn't more than the initial capital expense and the cost to run the vacuum system. In the long run, your robotic fume extraction system is going to be worth the investment. 

What training is necessary?

You have your robotic fume extraction system set up and you understand the cost to keep it running, but you're wondering how it works. There is no specific training needed for your staff in order to get going. All you need to understand is how fumes behave and what your robotic fume extraction system is doing to help. Proper positioning is the general idea you will want your welders to understand. To optimize fume capture, your welding angles and patterns matter. Flat welding, which would extract smoke that is naturally going up, would be the best way to capture fumes. Besides taking your smoke extraction to the next level with these ideas, you do not need to provide much initial training to your staff. Just install the xFUME ROBO, start the vacuum, and begin extracting fumes. 

What should I do with my current fume solution systems?

This is one of the big concerns that people have, because they have already invested a large amount of money into fume extraction solution systems. Now they're wondering why they wasted money attempting to solve air quality issues and cannot use it towards this new solution. While we have crafted a solution regarding only the products we discussed, you can continue to use your current installations. 

The greatest benefit of using the xFUME ROBO is that is extracts fumes at the source and leaves little to no fumes traveling beyond the robotic welding cell. As opposed to moving a lot of air with big fans at a lower-static pressure, we use much smaller volumes of air at high-static pressure to get much closer to the weld to perform smoke extraction. With up to 95% capture rate, there is little to no reason to have an additional fume extraction system working with that cell. However, everything you already have can be kept to make sure that you can control whatever is not being captured by the xFUME ROBO. These systems may be useful elsewhere in your facility or in conjunction with the robotic system. You can use them to further clean the air and add a layer of safety to your air quality, but they will not be retrofittable and usable directly with the robotic fume extraction system the way we have designed it. Smoke extraction at the source is the most effective in terms of percentage of reduction and is the cheaper approach, but it does not have to be the only thing you use to get to the target of the industry for air quality. 

What benefit can I see to the safety of my workplace?

Once your robotic fume extraction system is installed, you can achieve extremely high reduction of welding smoke dissipation in your plant very quickly. The environment directly around the robot can see instant change in air quality. Welding fumes that are spread throughout the plant are filled with light-weight particles that can float throughout the air for a long time. This is the reason the xFUME ROBO is the best option for extracting smoke in robotic welding because it captures fumes at the source and does not allow for spreading through the plant. If you don't catch fumes at the source, they will go everywhere in your plant and slowly dissipate and fall down.

RoboFume_6_

If you extract at the source, you will protect the environment and create a safer workplace for the welders in your plant. The instant result is seen when you start extracting at the source on the robot. 

Look at it this way -- If one robot in your plant is responsible for causing 32% of the fumes and you install a robotic fume extraction system, you can reduce the 32% by up to 95% to improve air quality. Basically, you just reduced your whole plants smoke intake by 30% and you can continue to do this with each robotic system you have. Effectiveness is very high for improving the environment of your workplace. 

In Review

If you're thinking about inserting robotic fume solution systems in your operations then you've decided to put the safety of your staff and overall environment at the forefront of your operation. That safety can only be further improved with the xFUME ROBO because this system is capturing fumes before they have the chance to travel through the plant. This system is easier to implement than hooded systems and is uniquely designed to fit over the front of your already installed robotic torch. Between the ease in maintenance and ability to capture up to 95% of fumes, the other great advantage to this robotic fume extraction system is the cost.Your upfront costs will be well worth it when you notice an instant change in your air quality and have minimal installation strain. The amount of positive changes that will come from adding a robotic fume extraction system to your operation are endless.

Topics: Robotic Welding, Fume Extraction