A Welder in the Office

A Welder in the Office

Containing Aluminum Dust In A Factory Setting

Gregory Walker

Ford Motor Company recently announced that their F-150 trucks would have a body made of aluminum. This versatile metal can be found in a wide variety of products, and is easily recyclable. When aluminum comes in contact with steel, however, a reaction can occur that can cause rusting, which is bad news for car manufacturers and other producers. The dust produced from aluminum can also spark easily, increasing risk of fire. So how can the dust created from aluminum be properly contained in the factory?

Containment

As aluminum is cut, tiny shavings and dust particles are created. This dust needs to be contained in a safe and effective manner. Using special vacuum cleaners that are "sparkless" is the best way to do this. These vacuums are able to function like a normal vacuum cleaner, but without the risk of sparking, which creates a serious fire hazard. For workers, aluminum dust can also cause mild health issues including burning eyes, irritated lungs, and itchy skin. Wearing high quality dust masks is essential to make sure workers are not breathing in the aluminum particles. 

Walls and Curtains

Even though it seems like an obvious solution, using heavy duty rubberized curtains can help to keep the aluminum shavings and dust from contaminating other areas within a factory. These curtains can help keep the dust at bay, but they are not 100% effective. Many factories are now using separating walls so that no dust can escape. This keeps the steel workers and aluminum workers completely separated and helps to prevent the aluminum from getting into areas it should not be. Complete separation can reduce the risk of fire and explosion significantly. The walls can be temporary as long as they are creating a solid boundary between the steel and the aluminum areas.

Dust Collectors

Machines called dust collectors can also be installed in areas where people are working with aluminum. These machines are especially designed to safely collect dust particles quickly out of the air and off of surface areas. The collectors are set up on a downdraft, meaning that all particles will be captured as they travel downward. A fan inside of the machine helps to bring in the dust, where it is collected in a drum or container for recycling or discarding. There are two types of dust collection machines: wet and dry. Both do a good job of containing the aluminum in a way that will help keep everyone safe in a factory environment.


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About Me
A Welder in the Office

Hi, I'm Caroline. Welding has always been really fascinating to me. One day, when I was at work in my office, we had a leaky pipe in the ceiling. After calling a plumber, he called a welder who came to repair the large, open pipe. As we were all sitting there trying to work, the welder just came in and started repairing the pipe! I had never worked on a construction site before, and I probably never will. But I started thinking about what it would actually be like to work on a construction site, which led to me exploring construction themes and writing this blog!

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