Thermal Spray Dust Collection & Ventilation

Because Thermal Spray Dust Carries Dangerous Risks That Can Be Controlled

Workers involved in thermal spray processes face serious risks. This process—also known as metalizing, flame spraying, metal spraying and hardfacing—involves melting metal and spraying it onto a surface to form a coating. This is useful for adding corrosion-resistance to surfaces, building up worn parts and other applications. Any situation that includes extreme heat and melted metal requires precautions, but workers performing thermal spray are often not protected to the degree that workers in other dangerous fields are, such as welders.

Thermal spray is often conducted in enclosed spaces on job locations that lack proper ventilation and dust collection. The intense heat applied to the metallic source material—whether through oxyfuel, plasma arc or other methods—breaks the metal up into tiny particles that can be smaller than one micron in diameter. The smaller the particle, the more dangerous the dust or fumes. Thermal spray is particularly dangerous to workers because every particle is made airborne. An effective method of thermal spray collection is crucial for meeting regulations and ensuring worker safety.


Exposure Risks for Thermal Spray Dust

The health risks resulting from thermal spray are significant. One potential problem is overspray that causes a buildup of metallic dust in the work area. Another serious problem is the toxic nature of the metals being used. Many metal dusts carry well-known health risks. These dusts include metals such as chromium, lead, nickel, cadmium and others. Thermal spraying puts workers in close contact with those dusts. These metal dusts are so dangerous the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have separate worker exposure limits for each one.

Fine metallic dusts can be an ignition hazard, as well. If certain metallic dusts accumulate in an enclosed space and interact with water, they can produce hydrogen and lead to an explosion.


Regulations for Thermal Spray Dust Collection and Ventilation

OSHA's regulations are listed as “permissible exposure limits” (PEL). These exposures are calculated as time-weighted averages (TWA)—a measurement of a worker's averaged exposure over the course of an eight-hour shift. Thermal spray involves a variety of potentially dangerous compounds, but here are a few of the more dangerous ones that are commonly used and their OSHA limits:

  • Cadmium: 5 µg/m3
  • Chromium: 5 µg/m3
  • Lead: 0.05 mg/m3
  • Nickel: 1 mg/m3
  • Cobalt: 0.1 mg/m3

Some organizations recommend stricter limits for these toxic metals, however. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) recommends more stringent guidelines on exposure limits, in some of these cases. While ACGIH guidelines are not legally binding, they are, however, held as a gold standard which many leading manufacturers try to meet.

As always, a manufacturer's failure to comply with OSHA regulations can bring serious fines. The administration can assess fines up to hundreds of thousands of dollars every time an offender is cited.

Solutions for Thermal Spray Dust Collection

Dust extraction systems exist to meet the particular challenges of thermal spraying. Whether your operation needs a source capture solution, an ambient capture one, or a combination of the two, RoboVent offers a wide variety of dust collectors and engineering services to meet any challenge.


Traditional Configuration

The traditional configuration maximizes performance with ductwork sized for optimal airflow for your specific applications.


VentMapping® Engineering

VentMapping is a systematic engineering and design service. Our comprehensive approach helps us find the safest, most effective and most efficient way to meet your goals.

RoboVent Maintenance Program, Clean Air and Industrial Air Filtration Solutions

ClientCare Maintenance Program

ClientCare lets you leverage RoboVent's expertise so you can reduce the burden on your maintenance staff and stay focused on your core business.


Fusion™ Series

A dust collector on the cutting edge of air filtration. The Fusion Series delivers exceptional performance and cost savings in a powerful, simple package.


Endurex RMO Cartridge Filters, Dust & Fume Air Filters

Endurex RMO Cartridge Filters

RoboVent's premium filter engineered to provide the best filtration protection for your plant and employees. A widened pleat and proprietary filter media help deliver top performance.

RoboVent Streamline Hood, Fume Hood for Welding Cells

Streamline Hood

A modular system for enclosing robotic welding cells, the Streamline Hood is easy to install, use and modify. The system is highly flexible and can accommodate a variety of welding cell configurations.