Laser engraving and laser cutting involve exposure to airborne toxins.

Countless industries rely on laser engraving technology to produce a multiplicity of products, and even works of art.

This intricate technique with its precision and versatility is applied to a wide array of materials, including metals, glass, stone, acrylics, wood and plastic.

Laser engraving requires the use of protective gear for eyes and hands, of course, but people working with laser systems are also exposed to toxic gases, fumes and smoke particulate that are released into the air every time a laser beam melts its intended target.

The process involves flying sparks, wood and metal particles as well as a toxic chemical cocktail – all released into  the air as a result of laser engraving, laser cutting or laser marking.

Industrial applications of laser cutters

Sub-surface engraving, Anilox rolls, photo polymer imaging, flexographic cylinders and plates are some of the manufacturing uses for laser engraving.

Despite its usefulness, laser engraving creates a great deal of indoor pollutants including VOCs, gases and high volumes of particulate smoke.

The use of laser engraving in and industrial setting involves regular exposure to a number of chemicals, gases and particulate smoke. Some of these materials include polyethylene, polycarbonate, polystyrene, polypropylene, PVC and acrylic.

Liability of companies offering laser engraving services

According to the Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), at least 5000 employees die on the job each year, while at least a million more report injuries or illnesses.

OSHA regulations stipulate, “employers must provide their employees with a workplace free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm ” (OSHA Regulation Section 5(a)(1)).

OSHA has issued fines of up to $87,430,000 to companies who fail to meet these standards.

Health and safety solutions for odor and chemical control 

Electrocorp recommends the following air filtration systems for laser engraving and cutting environments:

  1. RSU Series
    Simple and portable air cleaning solution; CCHR units are recommended, as they provide source capture for precision air-cleaning (fumes, dust and light smoke); two-layer pre-filter to trap heavy dust particles (extends lifespan of HEPA filter); models: RSU 12 CCHR; RSU 20 CCHR; RSU 1224 CCHR
    Find out more about Electrocorp’s RSU Series.
  2. I-6500 XL with Cyclone Collector (for large-scale laser cutting and engraving systems)
    Cyclone collector available for heavy dust and particle removal
    Quiet operation with caster wheels for easy maneuverability; 80 lb. carbon filter and 12” medical-grade HEPA;  up to 1500 CFM
  3. Laser 6000
    Solid metal housing, small footprint; Pre-filter traps heavy dust particles, extending lifespan of HEPA filter; 6” flange for ducting included; Lower capital and operating costs; 24 lb. carbon filter, HEPA and pre-filter insert; 180 delivered CFM

Contact Electrocorp for more information and customizable air cleaning solutions.