Installing a robotic weld cell collector above a robotic welder might seem like a great idea. All the fumes produced by the robot are quickly removed. The collector doesn’t take up any space on your crowded shop floor. What could possibly be wrong with this setup?
A robotic welder is an expensive piece of equipment. It’s a big investment for any company. So the last thing you’d want to do is put it near anything that might damage it, right?
How about putting it right underneath something that might damage it?
Installing a weld fume collector above a robotic welder does save floor space. Since they’re mounted above the welder, they are completely out of the way. There are some hazards with this arrangement, though, and we’ve seen them in action.
Weld fumes are almost always combustible. If the fume collector is located at some distance from the robotic welder, a deflagration that happens inside the collector will not damage the robot and will be contained in the collector. On the other hand, if you have a robotic weld cell collector mounted directly overhead, the deflagration is going to happen right above your very expensive piece of equipment.
A properly designed dust collection system will handle and safely vent an explosion. If the collector is outside the building, there will be minimal risk to people or property. The length of ductwork between the welder and the fume collector gives hot air and sparks time to cool down before they reach the collector.
When robotic weld cell collectors are in use, they’re inside the building and mounted overhead. There is almost no space between the source of fumes and the collector. This greatly increases the risk of a deflagration inside the collector.
This could be a disaster for your robotic welder. Burning material or debris could fall on it and damage it. A fire suppression system could shower your welder with water or fire extinguishing chemicals. Your robot welder could be taken out of service for costly repairs, or it could even be destroyed.
The floor space saved by mounting a robotic weld cell collector above the welder isn’t worth the cost of repairing or replacing a robotic welder. A dust and fume collector system with hoods can effectively control fumes from the welder without the risk of damaging it.