Buying Welding Fume Extraction

A Health & Safety Executive announcement in February 2019 highlighted that exposure to all welding fume, including Mild Steel, can cause lung cancer. The consequence of this is a strengthening of enforcement around LEV & RPE. We offer a buyer's guide around which portable welding fume extraction equipment will be suitable for your application.

Buying Welding Fume Extraction


In our view, businesses need to take a holistic approach to welding fume control & extraction, as buying an air fed welding helmet alone to protect the welder is not enough. You need to clean the air for other operatives in the workplace, such as fork lift drivers and factory staff. 

The welding industry has taken note of HSE 2019 guidelines & taking a three tiered approach to protecting operatives by;

1./ Looking at the welding process itself, in a bid to reduce fume by using processes such as pulse MIG.

2./ Capturing as much fume as possible by utilising LEV, such as mobile or fixed extraction systems or on torch.

3./ Supplying RPE to operators where necessary to protect them from residual fume.

With reduction of third party welding fume inhalation coming to the fore, current thinking is that W3 compliant weld fume equipment will be a necessity going forward. In basic terms, W3 guarantees a number of key elements are in place: a minimum air flow of 10 metres per second, a filter efficiency of 99% or greater & a audible/visual low air filter alarm.

Furthermore, air monitoring will increasingly play a part in employers thinking, as controls around welding fume & what is an acceptable level of exposure tightens. Foster Industrial can visit, survey(includes air monitoring) & offer a bespoke welding fume extraction system suitable for your needs.

If you think your requirements are more based around portability, here are some product options to consider, listed by filtration method, application & duty cycle:

1./ On MIG torch extraction with mobile fume eliminator.

In terms of fume removal, the on MIG torch option is by far the most effective with up to 70% of the fume being captured. The welding plume being extracted down a MIG torch nozzle.

The Foster Works X300A  on torch extractor is a heavy duty, metal cased unit with sturdy castors meaning it's fit for an industrial environment. 

The Foster Work X300A has a unique two filter system, which filters both metal particles(via an M class filter) & gas and ozone (via a HEPA fIlter). Compressed air can be blown through increasing filter life.

This unit also boasts an automatic start-stop feature, which can be activated using the earth lead, minimising noise whilst improving the service life of the motor.

An alternative to the Works X300A is the lighter duty Kemper Minifil  high Vacuum extraction unit. It has the necessary W3 compliance, contamination free filter change & auto start-stop, but has a smaller filter & motor capacity than the X300A. It's an ideal purchase for a maintenance facility. For multi user applications, talk to us about Kemper's Vacufil 125 & 500 systems.

All on torch systems are coupled to a range of Binzel Rab or Translas fume torches, which are recommended on the basis of amperage & duty cycle.

2./ Light duty portable fume extractor for maintenance environments.

Kemper Smartmaster: Great entry level fume extractor suitable for low level fume, occasional grinding & W3 compliant. In practical terms, the main filter will need changing after every 15 reels of MIG wire consumed.

-The unit will filter mild steel, stainless steel & other high alloys metals and is available in 110 or 240 volt, with swivel hood, 2 or 3 metre arms.

-Three filter system includes pre-filter mats, pre-filter & main filter.

ProtectoXtract; Brilliant if you want to grind as well as weld, as a spark arrestor is fitted as standard. The amazing five part filter system covers all bases:

-Gross filter; Disposable & lasts 40 to 70 hours.

-Prefilter; Removes large particles.

-Carbon filter; Takes out nasty smells & odours.

-Main filter (sub-micro): Removes metal particles.

-Retrofit spark filter(for grinding):A metal deflector plate sends sparks into a catch box. 

This model is available in a 3 metre arm version only with 110 or 240 volt input. Carries W3 compliance.

3/.Medium duty portable options.

Kemper Profimaster; Industrial fume extractor for regular use, with 360 degree rotatable hood & W3 compliance. In an everyday environment, the  filter will need changing after every 30 reels of MIG wire consumed. 

-Suitable for low to medium levels of fume.

-Suitable for high alloy, mild steel fume.

-Available in 110, 240 & 415 volt models with 2, 3 & 4 metre rotatable arm options.

-Easy change two filter(pre & main) system was a nice enhancement from the previous Filtermaster model.

-Suitable for light duty grinding when fitted with the aluminium pre-filter.

4./ Heavy Duty Self-cleaning options

In industrial environments where a lot of anti spatter is applied or the fume created is heavier from dirt & grease, it is important to consider the filter life. DON'T make the mistake of buying a light duty machine for a harsh environment & then rip through filters.

A self cleaning machine cleans itself, filters lasting up to 6,000 welding hours. Importantly, the filters can be removed & pressure washed.The Plymovent Mobile Pro provides such a solution & the fitting of an aluminium KUA arm gives it a heavy duty feel.

5/. Downdraft Bench options

A downdraft bench offers a great solution, where it isn't practical to have fume arms suspended from above. Benches of this nature are typically used in colleges & maintenance environments & suitable for grinding, sanding, polishing & welding applications.

In the  Kemper Filter-Table & the ProtectoXtracTop  we have two great options for those looking for a portable downdraft bench solution. A spark filter is fitted as standard(for grinding purposes) in both extraction units, sitting neatly under a perforated work area.

With a working surface area of 1200 x 800mm in the Kemper Filter-Table, fumes are drawn away from the operator's breathing zone & into the unit for filtration. 


*The ProtectoXtractop down draft bench type is ideal for welding, grinding & polishing.