Soldering operations are well known for creating electrical connections on circuit boxes in small, medium and large electronic outfits.
Soldering processes can be automated via the use of wave soldering machines or manually via the use of a handheld soldering iron.
Automated soldering processes normally occur in big electronic plants while the handheld soldering processes occur in electronic rework and repair outlets.
Soldering activities irrespective of where they occur generate fumes that can cause severe health problems to workers who are directly or indirectly involved. This is because the fumes that are produced from soldering activities come from burned rosin-based flux material.
Rosin is a naturally occurring solid material obtained from pine trees which is used as an adhesive. The commonly used solder wire which is typically used for handheld soldering contains rosin flux core which is released on heating. Rosin serves as a flux material in soldering as it helps to prevent oxidation. It cleans the surface of circuit boxes and increases the effectiveness of solder material to firmly bond to surfaces.
Lead soldering and lead-free soldering are equally dangerous to health, since none of the parties can dissociate themselves from releasing smoke that contains fine particles and gases. They can easily be inhaled into the lungs when they are subjected to high temperature conditions. Colophony which is a complex mixture of gases and resin acid particulates is produced when folder flux is heated beyond 180 degrees Celsius.
Solder fumes rise vertically during hand soldering into the surrounding workspace which when not managed properly can find its way into the breathing zone of the immediate soldering operator and other parties present in the workspace. The severity can be worsened when soldering activities occurs in a large scale and the general workspace ventilation is poor.
Fumes from soldering contains 99.5% of particles and 0.5% of gases. Acetone, Methyl alcohol, Carbon dioxide, Formaldehyde, Carbon mono-oxide, Isopropyl alcohol, and Diterpene acid are all gases contained in solder fume.
When absorbed into the human system, solder fumes can result in eye irritation, headache, sore throat, cough, dermatitis, acne, bronchitis, occupational asthma and Cancer. These health conditions can affect the life of employees and companies as it results in poor productivity, frequent absenteeism, frequent recruiting and retraining of personnel, compensations, litigation and above all, an employee may not be able to perform again due to recurrent asthmatic episodes.
Controlling Solder Fumes Exposure in Electronic Plants/Workshops
Generally, two main methods (ventilation and extraction) are used by electronic plants and shops to control solder fume exposure. Ventilation enables the air in the area to be diluted so that the magnitude of particulates and gases in the air can be reduced. This method however does not prevent workers working in the workspace from exposure to poisonous fumes. Extraction on the other hand ensures that fumes from soldering operations are captured as quickly as they are produced. The resultant effect is that solder operators and other workers alike are all protected from contact with the poisonous fumes.
Envirox Solutions for Soldering Fumes Extraction
Nederman FX2 Extraction Arms
The Nederman FX2 Extraction arm is a perfect choice for all environments where fumes, dust particulates and obnoxious gases capable of harming humans are to be eliminated in compliance with OSHA and EPA regulations. The Nederman FX2 Extraction arm has a flexible swivel which makes rotation in all directions very easy. The arm makes sure that all poisonous pollutants are removed at the source as quickly as they are produced before reaching the breathing zone of all everyone present in the area.
The Nederman FX2 range of extraction arms is suitable for soldering fume extraction in all environments. It offers exceptional at-source fume extraction while aiding workers from being inflicted with dreadful health conditions. It has an aesthetic design that offers low noise levels and high energy efficiency.
The Nederman FX2 ESD Extraction Arm is highly efficient for handling poisonous pollutants in electronic workspaces where electrostatic discharges are inevitable. It can provide efficient soldering fume extraction as it can be directed and rotated to the exact point where soldering is taking place.
Nederman MFS Filter System
The Nederman MFS modular filter system is a high strength modular system that has the ability to capture fumes, dust, particulates and gases at the source for effective adherence to health and safety standards in small and large workplaces.
The modular filter system can easily be installed indoors as it occupies very little space.
Along with Nederman extraction arms and fan control boxes, the filter system can provide an air cleaning solution for every workspace.
The Nederman MFS modular Filter System supplied by Envirox can keep electronic work spaces free from all solder fumes, providing optimal protection to everyone in the immediate environment.