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Laser Cutting: 3 Ways to Reduce the Risk Posed by Toxic Gases

If you plan to use a laser cutter in order to cut steel, it is important that you take steps to protect the health your workforce. The most significant risk when using a laser to cut metals such as steal is exposure to harmful gases which generated during the laser cutting process. These gases can be toxic if inhaled and may also cause damage to the exterior of the steel which is being cut. Below is a guide to three steps you can take which will help to mitigate the risk of exposure to harmful gases.

Using air filters and an exhaust ventilation system

It is impossible to cut steel using a laser without generating some harmful gases. These gases are created when the laser beam heats the steel to the point where it is vaporised. The gases are very hot and contain particles of nickel and chrome which are believed to have a carcinogenic effect on the human body. The gas also contains harmful chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene and hydrogen chloride.

Fitting the laser cutter with air filters will help to trap these particles before they can be released into the air. A fume exhaust system can also be installed on a cutting machine. This system will direct harmful gases along a system of tubes so it can be vented into the open air at a safe distance in a secure location.

Cleaning the steel before beginning work

If the steel you are planning to cut is dirty or contaminated with oil, grease or other substances, this could dramatically increase the quantity of gas generated during the laser cutting process. You should instruct your workforce to wash and wipe down down any steel before cutting begins in order to remove any contaminants. 

Limiting the power of the laser

The controls on a laser cutting machine can be used to adjust the strength of the laser beam. When cutting steel, you should use the lowest possible setting which allows you to cut through the metal cleanly. If the laser is set to a very high power, this can result in the generation of excessive amounts of heat and harmful gases. High power settings also increase the chance that the material you are cutting will be warped or damaged.

If you would like to find out more about how to stay safe during steel fabrication, you should contact an industrial supplier and manufacturer.