Dust Collectors for Laser & Plasma Cutters
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Process Cutting Equipment
- Laser cutters (laser tables)
- Plasma cutters (plasma tables)
The cleaning mechanism on the Farr Gold Series industrial dust collector was designed specifically for laser and plasma cutting applications. These applications can be one of the most difficult to maintain a stable differential pressure. The enhanced cleaning mechanism is standard on all Farr Gold Series collectors. The cleaning mechanisms along with the inlet design and Gold Cone® cartridge have given our customers great performance and long media life.
Farr Gold Series on Laser and Plasma Cutting
Plasma cutters are available in portable units much like an acetylene torch as well as CNC controlled plasma tables. The application that this paper addresses is for CNC Plasma tables and laser tables. The molten metal and smoke that is generated from laser and plasma tables is pulled down through the grate. The sparks and molten metal settle out in the area below the grate. The smoke is then removed through the duct work and filtered through the Farr Gold Series collector.
The Farr Gold Series channel baffle inlet should be used to help deflect any sparks that make it to the collector. A spark drop out box should also be considered. A baffle arrangement in the table itself that creates a torturous path for the sparks being generated is also helpful in preventing the sparks reaching the collector. In extreme cases, spark detection and suppression should be considered.
Fire retardant cartridges should always be used in this application, as well as sprinkler heads in the collector itself.
Explosion vents should also be included when cutting aluminum. The collector should be located outside. It is best to have the customer check with his insurance carrier and follow all NFPA 654 Standard for the Prevention of Fire and Dust Explosions from the Manufacturing, Processing and Handling of Combustible Particulate Solids, 2000 edition.
Two of the most important factors in collector sizing are the expected amount of smoke particulate being collected and the material being cut.
Several things affect the amount of particulate being collected (the loading). First is the amperage of the plasma cutter itself. A 300 amp plasma will cut much faster and have a much higher loading than a 100 amp plasma. Some tables may have two heads operating at the same time.
A zoned table will have a much higher loading due to the lower airflow for the amount of material being collected. It can be compared to source capture verses general ventilation on non-zoned tables.
We are very happy with the Farr Gold Series. The GS36 was purchased for our CNC plasma cutter to replace a [competitor's] cartridge dust collector due to short filter life. The current filters have been in for over a year and still look great and are operating at less than 3" pressure drop. Also, the Farr people have been a pleasure to do business with.
-Dan Schuler, Schuler Mfg.
When cutting aluminum, the air to cloth ratio should also be lowered. The air to cloth ratio should be no more than 1:1 on lighter loadings and as low as 0.5:1 on very heavy loadings. HemiPleat Fire Retardant cartridges should be used in this application at these air to cloth ratios.
Laser tables use a different technology for cutting than plasma tables, but the applications are very similar. The particulate from laser is much smaller and more spherical. Even though the loading is much lighter, the air to cloth ratio should be from 1:1 up to a maximum of 1.5:1 on Farr Gold Series HemiPleat cartridges. The precautions above for cutting aluminum on plasma tables should be taken when cutting aluminum on a laser table.