Shipbuilding 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 Shipbuilding

The shipbuilding industry always follows cyclical trends, and today is no different. Commercial ships aren’t built in a day, and orders take years to fulfill. But the outlook is currently good for shipbuilding, especially beyond 2017. A steady growth in global trade and demand for more efficient and environmentally friendly ships will lead to continued orders for container ships and related vessels. Demand for other ships, such as cruise ships and naval vessels, as well as ship repair services, appears steady.

While most of the growth in the industry is occurring in the Asia-Pacific region, shipbuilding in Latin America and the Middle East is growing, as well. While Europe is currently in a low point, the Netherlands remains a robust producer in the industry, and other European shipbuilders should rebound after 2017.

Short-term challenges in the industry include unpredictable oil prices, which affect orders for tankers, and financial crises, which affect the tourist trade and orders for cruise ships. Changes in military budgets impact shipbuilding, as well, and the number of orders for naval vessels.

Long-term challenges in the industry remain the same: materials costs, labour costs, compliance with environmental standards, and protection of workers from exposure to harmful substances. The costs of materials and labour are unlikely to decrease in the foreseeable future. Complying with manufacturing standards remains challenging but nevertheless essential. Maintaining a clean and safe workplace and good air quality—even in the heaviest welding environments—is more important than ever.


Dust and Fume Collection Challenges in the Shipbuilding  Industry

Any workplace that involves welding or metal-cutting operations faces numerous air quality challenges. As shipbuilders know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issues standards for air quality in the industry. Title 29 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1915 holds numerous regulations that manufacturers need to be mindful of. Failure to comply can carry serious legal and financial liabilities. Few industries receive this level of scrutiny. As OSHA says, these standards apply to workers “on the shore, pier, terminal, yard, shipyard, machine shop, riverbank, etc., as well as on the vessels afloat or in drydocks or graving docks.”

Workers’ health is a serious concern, as well. Weld fumes, in particular, are a major inhalation hazard. The high levels of heat involved in welding produce particulates of microscopic size; these particulates are easily inhaled and quickly become dangerous for workers. Substances such as hexavalent chromium travel in weld fumes. This byproduct of welding stainless steel is a known carcinogen and, when inhaled, has been linked to incidences of cancer. OSHA regulates workers’ exposure to other weld fume components, as well, including manganese and beryllium. Exposure to these substances carries serious risks, from major respiratory problems to manganism, a condition with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s Disease.

Shipbuilding creates serious air quality challenges in part because of the nature of the weldments seen in the industry. Welders move along large components, making it difficult to capture the weld fumes produced. Constantly moving a fume arm is often impractical, or at the very least inconvenient. Welders, under pressure to meet deadlines, often fail to keep up with fume capture. Another challenging situation is welding in a ship’s hold. This frequently encountered situation makes it very difficult for the welder to capture weld fumes, at least with conventional equipment.

The shipbuilding industry, and many others, faces yet another challenge, today: attracting and retaining skilled workers. Young workers are turning to service sector jobs, rather than manufacturing, and a skills gap has appeared. The American Welding Society estimates that manufacturers will see a shortage of 290,000 skilled workers by 2020. One way for employers to set themselves apart and attract the best workers is to maintain a clean and safe workplace. Good air quality is a key component of that.


Solutions for Dust and Fumes in the Shipbuilding Industry

For decades, RoboVent has designed, manufactured and installed the best air filtration equipment in the industry. RoboVent understands the needs of the shipbuilding industry and has a solution for every application. One of our most advanced and applicable products is the Extractor fume gun. This revolutionary fume gun provides unrivaled flexibility and source capture of weld fumes. Much lighter in weight than previous generations of fume guns, the Extractor delivers the highest quality welds while collecting weld fumes efficiently. Welders working in the tightest of spaces or moving along the largest of weldments are protected by the Extractor’s powerful fume evacuation. Plus, employers can be assured that regulations are met, as workers’ exposures are kept to a minimum.

Facilities with a need for a larger collector or a building-wide system are suitable for the Fusion Series Series of collectors. This system is designed to save energy while delivering powerful air filtration. Larger operations can opt for the Grid Configuration. This scaled-up array provides powerful fume and dust collection with a high degree of efficiency. For smaller and lighter applications, RoboVent makes a number of portable collectors.  These offer a range of fume arms or hoods to protect workers and everyone else in a facility.

Fire and explosion threats are minimized with RoboVent’s proprietary solutions, as well. The Delta 3 spark arrestor and the Supprex-200 Fire Suppression System stop fires before they start. These systems protect workers, property and production lines.

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.

Ventilation Solutions For Portable Weld Fume Extraction

Portable Weld Fume Smoke Extraction

These self-contained systems enable workers to capture weld fumes from any location. When production lines or welding cells must remain flexible, these systems safeguard workers, no matter the situation.

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.

Finegrinding Fiberglass Dust Exposure

Fine Grinding Fiberglass Dust Collection and Filtration

Fibrous glass particulates, like those associated with fiberglass fine grinding, can be a health hazard in dust form. RoboVent specializes in solutions for these kinds of concerns.

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.

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.