Weld fume management
American Seating, the North American leader in world-class passenger seating, has provided innovative products for the transportation market for over 130 years. To stay on the leading edge, they are always looking for ways to improve their operation and maintain high standards for their customers and employees.
With eighteen manual weld booths and fifteen welders performing manual welding every day, a recent initiative included finding a better solution to help improve the air quality within their metal fabrication facility. After forming a team to evaluate and select the best solution, personal respirators were quickly ruled out due to hot summer days that crawl above 100ºF combined with a plant that is not climate controlled. They knew they wanted something that was versatile and mitigated the fume at the source.
American Seating relies on Miller welding equipment to help build quality products that get millions of riders to their destination every day. So, when they expressed an interest in updating their fume extraction equipment, Miller offered a sample fume extraction unit with a ZoneFlow™ extraction arm to test in their facility.
“Being able to test the ZoneFlow unit for a lengthy period of time definitely helped sell this system because we were able to really test the machine and see the difference it made not only in air quality but in productivity levels.” – Jeff Hildebrand, Weld Engineer
Hildebrand and his team evaluated a few other vendors who also specialize in fume extraction, along with other options such as downdraft tables. However, they were looking for something that offered more versatility and a solution that was customized to their needs. After vetting all of their options, the American Seating team selected the Miller FILTAIR® Centralized 12000 System with ZoneFlow extraction arms. “We were able to see how the technology worked in real-time. During the testing phase we took baseline air quality readings and then added ZoneFlow and we saw significant drops in weld fume exposure. So, this choice made a lot of sense,” says Hildebrand.
Even amid the pandemic, the installation of the new FILTAIR Centralized System with ZoneFlow went off without a hitch. Hildebrand said, “Due to a stricter policy for those entering our facility, the Miller team couldn’t come in like they typically would. Instead, we took pictures of the facility, had video conferences and sent multiple emails back and forth. After install, Miller also held two training sessions with our welders and maintenance team to ensure everyone’s questions were answered. Miller worked around our employee’s work schedules to do the installation without interrupting the workflow. Overall, a great job well done.”
Improved workplace environment
Several of American Seating’s welders have been with the company for over 20 years and are grateful for the company’s commitment to worker safety. “It only took about two days after installation and our employees began noticing a significant difference in air quality. I test the air flow on a regular basis to see how the ZoneFlow arms are working. Previously, many of our fume mitigation back draft tables would only get 200 cfm draw. With ZoneFlow, we consistently get 1,200 to 1,500 cfm from each arm,” replies Jeff. “It’s a huge improvement.”
Along with improved air quality, American Seating is seeing an increase in productivity. “With the five-foot capture zone, our welders can place the ZoneFlow arm right next to their work station or set it up above their weld piece. Some move it from time to time if they’re working on a longer piece, but many leave it in one spot because of its effective fume capture,” says Hildebrand.
Miller fume extraction arms with exclusive ZoneFlow Technology capture weld fume up to five feet from the arc, compared to traditional systems that only capture up to 18 inches, reducing arm interactions and increasing arc-on time and productivity.
Miller is there for you every step of the way
“When it comes to selecting fume extraction equipment for your fume control needs, not only do you want a brand you can trust, but equipment that is top-of-the-line to help keep your facility clean, maintain compliance and increase operator performance,” said Hildebrand.
Protecting operators against weld fume in the workplace is critical to providing a compliant environment. With proper management, you can positively impact productivity and quality, improving your bottom line. From start to finish, Miller offers assistance to help you choose the right weld fume management system for your facility and ensures each operator is properly trained to use the system for successful implementation.
For further information, quoting requests or ordering, contact your local distributor to start experiencing the benefits of a cleaner environment.