Welding Hose, Types and Materials
Welding is the process of joining two metal objects or surfaces through the applied use of extreme heat and pressure. It is a high skill application that is a mainstay feature of a great number of different mechanical industries. However, welding comes with a few hazards. Not only are welding technicians exposed to extremely hot objects such as sparks, welding arcs, and blowtorches, they are also vulnerable to the various different types of fumes that result from heating metals. In order to protect the technicians from the harmful effects of these fumes and vapors, welding hoses are used in these areas to transfer contaminants away from the vicinity and therefore away from human contact.
There are many different types of welding hoses available. A welding duct can be made from materials such as PVC, neoprene, silicone, aluminum, and stainless steel. Since welding is an application involving a range of extremely high temperatures, the ducting used in welding exhaust ventilation are capable of enduring temperatures that range from 150° F to 1650° F, depending on the raw material that makeup welding hoses.
Welding hoses made of PVC tend to have the lowest rate of temperature resistance. They can endure high temperatures reaching up to 160° F. On occasion, some PVC hoses are made with polyester fabric, which increases their temperature range up to 180° F. Polyurethane is the next level on the scale and a welding duct made of this material usually has a higher range of up to 225° F. Welding exhaust hoses made of neoprene offer a maximum operating range of 300° F and they generally have a sturdy body that can endure light physical abrasions.
The above-mentioned welding hoses are meant for light to medium-duty applications. For those welding applications that have temperatures reaching over 300° F, materials such as silicone, aluminum, and stainless steel are preferred. Of all the non-metal compounds, silicone is the material that has the highest temperature resistance. A welding duct made of silicone can operate in maximum temperatures of 550° F. Metal hoses, on the other hand, are perhaps the strongest in terms of both temperature resistance and physical durability. Aluminum takes temperatures of up to 400° F, but stainless steel will survive welding operations as hot as 1650° F.
A good system for welding exhaust ventilation needs to have hoses that can transfer welding smoke and fumes away from the work area and, more importantly, away from people. However, no two facilities may be the same. Depending on the exact layout of the welding location, the ventilation ductwork may need to have the ability to flex and bend.
The good news is that operators can find welding hoses that can flex with ease, as well as hoses that stay straight and rigid. Some areas have a layout where the welding exhaust ductwork will need to bend around in order to properly transfer fumes outside the occupied area. On the other hand, self-supporting hoses with a firm frame will suffice for the application. Be sure to map out the exact layout of the ventilation system so that you know how flexible your welding hoses need to be.
One of the most important features of a welding duct has to be it’s ability to transfer the fumes and vapors associated with welding. When it comes to weld exhaust ventilation, the hoses are not just transferring simple air. The welding hoses are transferring out very hot welding smoke, fumes, and vapors that have a harmful chemical nature. Some examples of these harmful vapors include manganese, carbon monoxide, hexavalent chromium, mercury, lead, nitrogen dioxide, and much more. Welding exhaust ductwork has to be able to survive prolonged contact with these fumes in order to transfer them away from the vicinity.
Safety is paramount in any workplace where welding is involved. In addition to the individual proper safety gear such as helmets, goggles, gloves, and jackets, the entire area needs to be well ventilated so as to keep every technician safe and productive. Welding hoses are available in a variety of forms to suit different kinds of welding jobs. A well-ventilated workspace will keep you and your fellow welding technicians safe and healthy.