Weller Helps the Industry Work Safer with Clean Air
By Luca Conte & Gerald Gardener – Weller Tools
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.
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 and “volume 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.
All Weller filtration systems are CE–approved and the accessories that are mounted on the workbenches are ESD–safe, allowing use in ESD protected areas (EPA). Most of the floor mounted filtration units are ESD–safe 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.