A Guide to Plasma Cutter Ventilation Requirements 

May 20, 2023 | Plasma Cutting Tips

If you need high-quality plasma cutters, call our team at (903) 623-6766.

Plasma cutting has revolutionized the cutting of hard materials, providing a fast, precise, and safe way to cut metal. While the process comes with various benefits, it also releases toxic fumes, gases, and other airborne contaminants.  

As such, any facility using a plasma cutter requires proper ventilation to keep operators safe and equipment running optimally. At Cyrious Metal Works, we offer an extensive collection of hand-held Hypertherm plasma cutters.

Keep reading to learn more about plasma cutter ventilation requirements. 

The Dangers of Plasma Dust, Fumes, and Gases 

Cutting metals like stainless steel, copper, and aluminum using a plasma torch creates metal dust, smoke, and fumes that pose serious health risks. Unfortunately, many companies overlook proper ventilation as an aspect of metal fabricating.  

Inhaling fumes can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea, eye, nose, and throat irritation, or other ailments that will vary in severity depending on the type of metal being cut. Failure to control gases in confined spaces can also cause asphyxiation or pose a fire hazard. 

OSHA Plasma Cutter Ventilation Requirements 

The occupational safety and health administration (OSHA) requires employers to adopt a two-step approach to creating a safe and healthy working environment by minimizing the dust and fumes from plasma-cutting equipment.  

The first step is to determine whether it’s feasible to implement engineering controls to prevent air contamination. This may include using less toxic materials or limiting the activity to an enclosed space. 

If no feasible step exists to prevent air contamination, the next step involves providing employees with suitable respiratory protection.  

Fume Extraction Options 

When using a computer numeric control (CNC) table, you have two options for controlling fumes: water or downdraft. 

Controlling Plasma Fumes with Water 

A water-based fume control system may consist of a simple pan or tray a few inches deep that holds water. This is the simplest and most cost-effective way to trap particulates when working on a small machine.  

A larger table will require a complex water table design with deeper tanks, pneumatic water level controls, and removable slat assemblies, among other features. 

Controlling Plasma Fumes with Downdraft 

The simplest downdraft systems create a chamber underneath the cutting table slats. A blower or fan then sucks out trapped fumes and sends them outdoors or into a filtering device. Larger industrial tables use complex systems with several dampers that draw fumes only from the area being cut.  

Benefits of Plasma Cutter Ventilation 

Plasma cutter ventilation requirements enable employers to: 

  • Remove or adequately control fumes, dust, and gases that negatively impact employee health 
  • Meet health and safety obligations 
  • Improve employee well-being and overall productivity 
  • Reduce the level of personal protective equipment required  
  • Enhance the cleanliness and quality of finished goods 
  • Lower the risk of an explosion 

High-Quality Plasma Cutters 

When you need a high-quality plasma cutter for your setup, look no further than Cyrious Metal Works. We also supply accessories like connection kits and hand torches. 

Call us today at (903) 623-6766 for information on plasma cutter ventilation requirements, how a plasma cutter works, and more.