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Weller Helps the Industry Work Safer with Clean Air

By Luca Conte & Gerald Gardener – Weller Tools

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, the world hasbecome more sensitive to the subject of clean air.”After this past year and a half and the various phases of the pandemic, ensuring a healthy working environment is not only desirable but, in many cases, non-negotiable. Workplace air mainly is contaminated by dust, micro-dust and gases generated by many processes, including soldering and rework, gluing, solvents, conformal coating, MEK, VOC, and more.However, Wellers fume extraction and filtering systems are designed to make breathable air in the workplace healthier by eliminating those harmful substances from the areas covered by suction arms such as hoses, tubes/arms andhoods. While 100% efficiency against nano-molecular viruses such as the Coronavirus (0.12 µm) is not possible, the HEPA H13 filters that many Weller fume extraction systems are equipped with significantly reduce the presence of these molecules in the air (efficiency >99.955% in MPPS for 0.16 µm particles and >99.994% for 0.3 µm particles). Ensuring greater air purity in operators work areas undoubtedly improves their comfort and eliminates the risk of possible lung irritation or allergic reactions caused by fumes, which can weaken the body and immune system, making them more susceptible to possible contagion, as well as known serious diseases.

Weller filters are available in a range of types and classesbecause they are not only developed for soldering applications (although this remains the core business), but also for bonding, painting, resin coating, marking/engraving/welding/laser cutting, medical, cosmetic, dermo-aesthetic use and more.

The Weller filtration process starts with a prefilter, which is a classic cloth filter of M5 or F7 class, whose main purpose is to block micro-dust, fibres, pollen, bacteria and pigments between 5-10 µm, and prevent clogging of the more efficient, expensive main filter. For applications with high dust content, sticky residues or stray sparks, there are several specific prefilters available to optimise the efficiency and durability of the filtration system.

The main filter is the most important part of the filter system because it blocksparticulate matter that has not been intercepted by the prefilter as well as harmful gases that are difficult to filter. This filter is available in High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) class H13, a very high efficiency class also called absolute filters.” It also is available in other classesfor a spectrum of applications such as bonding, resin coating and cleanroom as well as forchemicals like methyl ethyl ketone (MEK), solvents and volatile organic compounds (VOC). Within the range of Weller filtration units, the size and capacity of the filters varyand, consequently, the useable life of the filters differs.

In addition to the HEPA filter, the main filter also consists ofa granular filter of activated carbon, potassium permanganate or a combination of both. In someapplications, the HEPA filter is not needed while in others a second one is used (e.g. for clean rooms). The oxidising chemical reaction of the granules achieves high levels of gas filtration. However, the maximum life of a filter is always 12 months from first use because the filter media degradeswhen it is unpacked and used in the filtration unit. Generally,the less frequently prefilters are changed, the shorter the life of the main filter. Most Weller filtration units warn of near-clogged filters, resulting in prefilters being replaced in timeand allowing the full 12 months of use for the main filter. If, once the prefilter has been replaced, the alarm remains active, it is a sign that the main filter also must be replaced.

Due to high filter efficiency and the change warning, Weller units have the advantage of safely recirculating filtered and,therefore, purified air into the work area at room temperature, avoiding the waste of cooled (in warm months) or heated (in cold months) air. Some models provide the option to exhaust the air outside if preferred.

The units in Weller’s catalogue are of two philosophies: tip extraction,” which sucks through either 6 mm or 8 mm tubes andvolume extraction,” with 32 mm or 60 mm diameter arms. The first is a high-pressure system, unaffected by the length of the connecting tubes. However, in applications with a high flux presence, this method generally requiresmore maintenance to avoid clogging of the silicone and metal suction tubes. The second type uses a high volume of air at low pressure and is the most popular choice for manual applications (soldering/rework in electronics, jewellery, plastics) as well as automated applications (laser machines, soldering lines, ovens, gluing cells, CNC).Weller’s volume extraction provides low maintenance, ease of installation, portability, versatility, low noise and a small footprint.

In addition to the applications previously mentioned, Weller offers solutions within three dedicated markets: a laser linefor connection to laser marking, cutting, engraving or welding machines; a beauty line for manicure, dermo-aesthetic lasers and other salon needs; and radon to purge home/building basements of this carcinogenic radioactive gas.

A range of accessories completes the range. In addition to the above-mentioned and extremely important filters, Weller has a comprehensive catalogue that includes various solutions for arms of different lengths and diameters, hoods and nozzles, hoses, connectors and adapters for installation, cabinets, hoods and more. One of the accessories unique to Weller is WFV60A, the motorised butterfly valve,”featuring an automated valve open/close through external communication (Weller WX soldering stations or PLC/PC with serial communication). This accessory, combined with Weller filtration units with constant flow control (CFC),allows the automatic regulation of the turbine speed according to how many arms/valves are connected andactive. These automatic valves adjust blower speed when avalve opens or closes, with an auto-off feature when all valves are closed. This results in a quieter system, lower energy consumption, balanced and constant suction pressure across the installation, and extended filter life.

All Weller filtration systems are CEapproved and the accessories that are mounted on the workbenches are ESDsafe, allowing use in ESD protected areas (EPA). Most of the floor mounted filtration units are ESDsafe as well.

For high-end units, Weller’s free FT Monitor software is available, allowing specific unit parameters to be set via computer or USB stick. The software also can perform diagnostic checks on the filtration units use, check the status of the filters and even test the filtration unit’s air tightness.

Finally, most of the filtration units can communicate with Weller’s soldering stations or other automation that communicates with a serial protocol. In some cases, the soldering stations can automatically manage power on/offand even adjust speed.

For more information about how Weller’s clean air technologies as well as other advanced technology products, e-mail or visit