Railway Equipment Industry and Dust Collection

Clean Air Matrix

RoboVent engineers are experts in every category of air filtration and ventilation. The four categories below represent the major options for treating your contaminated air. RoboVent has designed solutions for each of these categories and has manufactured air filtration systems of unrivaled quality.

For more information about these categories, see Indoor Air Quality 101.


Large blowers and air filtration equipment draw contaminated air from the plant (typically at the ceiling level), filter it and return it to the plant. This is a proven solution in plants welding large parts with overhead cranes. It reduces the haze in the air, resulting in a cleaner working environment, with no negative pressure or heat loss.


Air in the immediate area of the welding activity is captured in a hood system, then filtered and returned to the plant. This is the best solution whenever possible. It allows for a more flexible system and removes the smoke directly from the operator's breathing zone. There are many types of source capture, including overhead hoods, crossflow hoods, fume arms and fume guns, some of which work better than others.


Large exhaust fans draw contaminated air from the plant and exhaust it directly into the environment, typically through the roof or walls. This is a traditional method and often results in negative air pressure. Also, it is very difficult to climate-control your plant and the system may not work well in the winter.

Air in the immediate area of the welding activity is captured in a hood, sent through ductwork, and exhausted directly into the environment. This is a lower capital cost alternative to filtration, but tends to result in high operating costs and large, unsightly ducting systems that work less efficiently with modifications. It also results in negative pressure problems.

Introduction to Dust and Fume Collection for Railway Equipment

As the economy slowly improves—and as economic forecasts remain positive—trends in the railway equipment industry look good. Demand for rail transport is growing, as large portions of both imports and exports travel over rail. Recent investments in rail infrastructure will help drive demand, as well. As freight miles increase, shippers will require new railway equipment, including locomotives, rail cars, and associated equipment.

During this period of growth, manufacturers of railway equipment will need to be mindful of changes in regulations regarding dust and weld fumes in their facilities. Some of these changes have been significant, and the need to comply with them is both legally and financially serious. Plus, the need to maintain a safe and pleasant work environment is as important as ever.

Dust and Fume Collection Challenges in the Railway Equipment Industry

Since the 1970s, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued and enforced air quality regulations in manufacturing. Railway equipment’s reliance on welding means the industry must pay special attention to these air quality standards. For example, the exposure limit for manganese—a common component of weld fumes—is being reconsidered in the regulatory world. The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH) has recommended a radical reduction in the exposure limit for manganese. While OSHA has not adopted this limit, the agency listens closely to the ACGIH and often follows its lead, at least to a degree.

Manganese is a good example of a substance that manufacturers need to control. While manganese is actually a necessary part of one’s diet, when inhaled at certain concentrations, it is highly toxic. Because these particles are extremely small—due to the high temperatures involved in welding—they are easily inhaled. Exposure to inhalable manganese in even small quantities can affect memory and reaction times. Chronic exposure can have serious effects on the central nervous system, including manganism. This condition has symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease.

Dust collection is an important priority for manufacturers, as well, for both workers’ health and for regulatory compliance. Metal cutting produces dusts that contain toxic metals, many of which are regulated by specific OSHA standards. These substances can be very dangerous to workers, even in small quantities. Some dust standards have seen regulatory changes. For example, in 2016, the standard for crystalline silica was dramatically lowered by OSHA. Failure to meet these standards leaves a manufacturer susceptible to significant fines and possible reputational harm. Most importantly, a failure to maintain clean air imperils workers’ health.

A clean and pleasant work environment is crucial for recruiting and retaining skilled workers, as well. Workers and job applicants know dirty air when they see it (and smell it). As most manufacturers know, the job of recruitment is getting more and more difficult—the American Welding Society estimates that manufacturing will see a shortage of 290,000 skilled welders by 2020. Employers must maintain a pleasant and safe workplace in order to attract the best workers.

Solutions for Dust and Fumes in the Railway Equipment Industry

RoboVent has almost three decades of experience solving air quality challenges in manufacturing environments. Our engineers got their start controlling weld fumes in the automotive industry and since have grown to address dust and fumes at every scale, from the smallest operation to the largest. RoboVent manufactures its own equipment, ensuring end users the best quality and performance.

The railway equipment industry requires air quality solutions of all kinds, from source capture for specific applications to ambient capture across entire facilities. RoboVent’s line of portable collectors lets manufacturers capture dust and fumes at their point of creation. These collectors use fume arms or hoods to make sure welders are protected, as well as everyone in the facility. These collectors are especially useful when welding or cutting large components.

If an even more flexible source capture solution is needed, RoboVent’s Extractor fume gun is another cutting-edge answer to weld fumes. Welders find the Extractor a powerful, lightweight solution for delivering the perfect weld while collecting weld fumes at the source. The Extractor is a revolutionary leap in fume gun technology and promises to reshape the welding of heavy equipment.

For a facility-wide answer to dust and fumes, RoboVent has several solutions, as well. The Fusion Series of collectors cleans the air of an entire facility and is designed to save energy while delivering the finest filtration possible. Another system that delivers powerful fume mitigation is RoboVent’s new Vista360. Its ceiling-mounted position keeps the unit out of the way of other equipment and traffic.

As always, RoboVent guarantees satisfaction. Our manufacturing standards are the highest in the industry, and our warranty is the best in the business.



Robovent Manual Welding Ventilation Solutions

Manual Welding Ambient Systems

Ambient solutions for manual welding stations capture weld fumes from the environment, improving the air for workers and the entire facility.

Manual Welding Source Capture

Source capture is a proven way to reduce weld fumes in manual welding operations. Collecting fumes at the point of welding ensures a more efficient means of capture and a higher degree of safety for workers.

Abrasive Blasting Dust Collection

Abrasive Blasting Dust Collection

Abrasive blasting operations produce a wide variety of dusts, and RoboVent has the expertise and equipment needed to clean the air of any operation.

Welding Fumes Collection

Weld fumes are a serious threat the workers' health and a manufacturer's bottom line. RoboVent has decades of experience solving weld fume challenges.

Silica Dust Collection

Silica is used in countless industrial applications. A recent change in air quality regulations has made silica dust a pressing concern for many employers.