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Fluorocarbon Bakeware Systems, a bakeware-product manufacturer, has recently installed two welding cells with fume-extraction equipment to enhance the capacity of its welding operations.

These new welding cells were installed by Engineering and Welding Supplies, distributors for Flextraction, which supplied two Teka Strongmaster BGIA-approved 1.1 kW cartridge-filter Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) units to extract the welding fumes.

Fluorocarbon products include bread tin sets, large baking trays, pizza trays, pie hoops, cake tins and other baking products designed to meet individual customer requirements.

The company supplies many of the UK’s large plant and small size bakeries as well as exporting to a growing market in Europe.

To manufacture these products, Fluorocarbon has extensive manufacturing facilities, including mechanical and hydraulic power presses, fully automatic punching and forming systems, automated welding cells and stand-alone MIG/TIG welding machines.

The Teka Strongmaster was chosen because Lee Duckworth, Fluorocarbon’s engineering team manager, decided in the project-development stage to incorporate portable extraction-units to keep the footprint of the equipment in each cell to a minimum.

He also wanted equipment that was adaptable for use in other processes.

Strongmaster is designed for industrial fume-extraction.

It features a fan capacity of 3,000m3/hour, a separator and a durable manual de-dustable large surface-class W3 UPF filter cartridge that remains in the unit during de-dusting, reducing operator exposure.

The dust-collecting bin has a volume of 50 litres and is sealed by a Teka-developed sealing face lifter.

A visual and acoustics filter-monitor informs the operator when de-dusting is required.

Duckworth said: ‘We already had five existing welding cells, but because of strong demand for our products and the consolidation of an acquired competitor at Beeston, we needed to increase the capacity of our welding operations.

‘The new cells are being used to produce ‘fabricated bread straps’, which are seam-welded bread pans held together by a strapping system and other parts depending on the construction.

‘Each cell is flexible enough to cope not only with different design parts, but also materials ranging from 0.9 – 2mm thick alu-steel and aluminium.

‘The introduction of these cells has resulted in improved product quality, greater reliability and higher output.’ Each of the two new welding cells comprises a Lorch S-series Saprom digital MIG/MAG twin-pulse inverter-based welding machine rated 320A at 40 per cent duty cycle and a Strongmaster fume-extraction filter.

Each welding machine was adapted to be used with a Mitsubishi linear-actuator mounted in a framework with viewing windows.

All controls are managed by a manually operated control pendant, which allows manipulation of the PLC to change welding parameters, including weld bead length and weld speeds, as well as to change welding programs stored in the welding machine.

Duckworth added: ‘Each cell is manually loaded and unloaded due to the amount of variability required.

‘Generally speaking, in these new cells we have seen re-work levels improve with improved product quality, while the Flextraction fume-extraction equipment has much improved the working environment for the operators.

‘The operators clean the filters each week, which is very easy to do.

‘We have also undertaken air-sample monitoring and this has shown a tremendous improvement in air quality.

‘In the past, although fume levels were not harmful they were unpleasant and our operators had to wear masks.

‘Today, the efficiency of the fume-extraction equipment and the resultant air quality means this is not necessary,’ he added.

Flextraction

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