Case study: 75% cleaner air at HAGS UK
After an air quality control measurement, it was concluded that the harmful fumes and gasses from welding at HAGS UK plant were higher than the tolerable level. Paul Cusson, Manufacturing Team Leader, explored 15 other solutions before he arrived at the 7XE Extractor and ClearO2 W200 Pro hi-vac solution from Translas. The solution helped to clean the air at the HAGS UK factory with a 75% improvement.
- Value fume allowance UK – up to 5 mg/m³ over the span of an 8-hour working day
- Value HAGS pre-Translas-solution –up to 7.65
- Value post-Translas-solution – down to 2.03
- 15 welders fabricating plant
About HAGS UK
HAGS is a leading provider of outdoor fitness and playground equipment shipped all around the world. They have three European plants, located in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Poland. HAGS’ mission is “to produce highest quality most durable play equipment in the world”. They pride themselves in quality, cost and, greatly, in durability of the product.
After being tested by the Health & Safety Executive (HSE), the WEL-levels (Workplace Exposure Limits set on the amount of a substance that can be present in workplace air) at the fabrication shop of HAGS were above the allowed measure of up to 5 mg/m³ over the span of an 8-hour working day. Several solutions were tested and evaluated.
- Roof ventilation - roof ventilation fans were already set in place. These were classified as “too old” and “inadequate” by the HSE.
- Welding arms - The effect of the welding arm is dependent mainly on the welder. The welder needs to always have in mind they need to move the arm together with them during welding. After testing, this resulted as an insufficient solution. Welders did not always stop during welding to adjust the welding arm. In other scenarios, they needed to weld in positions where welding arm did not fit or reach.
- Mobile fume extraction - Another possible solution was mobile fume extraction with a self-supporting fume arm.These units appeared to produce heavy noise pollutant and units were always left in the corner of the workshop gathering dust on the outside.
- General Air-cleaning – Based on the high-cost and the needs of the plant, air-cleaning was marked as unsuitable. “General Air cleaning just does not work” – Paul Cusson, HAGS UK Manufacturing Team Leader.
- On-torch extraction with a portable hi-vac unit - After having contacted 10 to 15 different companies and having examined or tested all the solutions, Paul and the operations manager Chris Hunter, encountered the 7XE Extractor & ClearO2 W200Pro hi-vac solution, offered by Translas. The solution consists of a welding torch with on-torch fume extraction with low weight of the torch – 1.1kg – and a mobile filtration unit developed especially for the 7XE Extractor torch.
“Welders could not believe how light the torch was.” – Paul Cusson, HAGS Selby
The Chosen Solution
The welders at HAGS Selby work between 8 to 10 hours daily. With the fabrication of outdoor fitness and playground equipment, they are forced to weld in tight spaces and to constantly switch positions to weld various pipes. With a light torch that barely has an impact on the wrist and arm, the welders feel comfortable to take any position to continue working during an eight to ten hour working day.
Each ClearO2 W200Pro unit is designed to connect 2x 7XE Extractors. HAGS has employed 5 of the units and 10 of the integrated fume extraction torches for their plant of 15 fabricators. The whole solution took no more than two days of setting up, including training of the staff.
The post-test results proved positive. The WEL-levels improved 4 times since the hi-vac solution from Translas extracts 90 to 95% of the harmful welding fumes at the source. The air pollution in the whole fabricating plant went down to values of 2.03. “This was a massive improvement in the test results.” Furthermore, Paul Cusson appreciates the time and cost savings with regards to the maintenance. The W200Pro is equipped with an easy-to-clean dust collecting box which is emptied once a week and the filter is cleaned automatically. The benefit from the perspective of the welders themselves is the possibility to clearly see the weld pool and weld arc.
“The hi-vac filtration solution from Translas is simple, easy, light and one the welder is happy with.” – Paul Cusson
Benefits for HAGS UK
- Low initial investment
- Easy installment
- Improvement of air quality much below the maximum allowed level in the UK
- Low maintenance
- Ease of use
- Clear view to the weld
- Comfortable lightweight torch
- Production based equipment