Not many people give much thought to the fact that almost every object you touch as you go about your day had to be manufactured by someone. When you stop to consider the impact that the processing and manufacturing industry has had on the modern world, it can blow your mind. My mind was blown when my son arrived home from his new job at a local processing and manufacturing plant and told me about the industry he was now working in. Since then, I have learnt all kinds of cool things which I would love to be able to share with the rest of the world.
When working with sheet metal, there are many dangers involved. There's always a risk for getting cut or burned while working. One risk that is often overlooked by sheet metal workers is the risk of combustible metal dust. Dust combustion is a chemical reaction that occurs when two different types of metal dust react with each other and create an explosion. It is very dangerous and could cause serious injury to the workers. As a sheet metal worker, you'll need to take the proper precautions to avoid this.
Precautions when creating or handling the dust
The three things needed to cause an explosion when working with metal dust are fuel, oxidation and heat; the fuel is the dust accumulated from cutting or grinding sheet metal. The primary cause of combustion is dust from different metals combining, either in the air or when the dust piles up on the floor of the workplace. The most important thing to prevent combustion is thus to prevent getting metals mixed. Make sure to always clean up piles of metal dust, and make sure to not perform any action that can cause dust to accumulate while the same thing is being done to a different metal nearby. Even if you're in different rooms, you should make sure all doors are closed and sealed. In addition, make sure to clean up all dust with a vacuum appropriate for dust collection. You should also place dust collectors outdoors to get the dust away from the workspace even when it's been cleaned up.
Possible sources of ignition
To avoid any heat accumulating around the dust, it's important that you perform proper maintenance on all electrical equipment. Keep an eye on any wear on your machines, as worn surfaces are more likely to create sparks when being used. Also, make sure you have an appropriate ventilation system that keeps the workspace cool. If the environment is already very warm, then it doesn't take very much for a spark to be created when operating machinery.
Beware of sources of ignition when cleaning
If you have any sources of ignition that are stationary in the shop, like an oven, it's very important you don't use cleaning methods that can create dust clouds. Cleaning should take place after closing hours so that no possible ignition sources are running. Also, you should use cleaning methods that bind the dust, like wet mopping, to make sure no dust goes flying off in the air. Wiping small surfaces should also be done with moist equipment.
For more information on safety tips for fabricating sheet metal, contact a professional sheet metal fabrication business.Share