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Fume and Dust Extraction System Makes Welding Safer at North Hertfordshire College’s Skills Centre

Flextraction Ltd, supplier and manufacturer of Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) has recently installed a welding fume and dust extraction system in the UK’s first specialist foundation level welder training facility at Stevenage Skills Centre, part of North Hertfordshire College (NHC). The system incorporates the Company’s latest totally self supporting Hood Positioning Devices (HPD).

Earlier in 2011, Weldability-SIF entered into partnership with The Welding Institute (TWI), Cambridge and the College, to initiate foundation level welder skills training at the College. This was a first step towards a full apprenticeship programme designed to meet demand and overcome the current skills gaps in the UK welding industry and this was opened by John Hayes MP, Minister of State for Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning on 13th October 2011.

As an approved sponsor to the Weldability-Sif Foundation Charity, which has been set up and registered with the Charities Commission, to specifically encourage the development of new welder training facilities across the UK, Flextraction has installed in each of the 6 welding bays 2m standard telescopic HPD’s, incorporating black polyester coated 100mm diameter PVC 371 hoses with a coated mild steel 100mm diameter flared hood and mesh guard. Each HPD was supplied fully assembled with wall mounting bracket, control damper and with no internal components. Each bay was also fitted with an electronic airflow indicator attached to each hood to monitor the extraction air flow.

In addition to the HPD’s Flextraction also designed, manufactured and installed the spiral galvanised sheet steel ductwork needed to safely extract the welding fumes and dust from the welding bays to a point outside the building. It was designed with inspection/access doors, flexible hose connections and supporting brackets, as well as being sized to give a good conveyance velocity throughout its length.

Flextraction’s HPD’s all use mounting brackets, hoods and hoses specifically designed for the capture and extraction of industrial dusts and fumes including hazardous and corrosive fumes at the point of source in surface grinding, welding, product tipping and drum filling, as well as food processing and all manufacturing applications where dust and fumes are emitted.

David Stevenson, Welding Tutor at NHC said: “The Flextraction equipment is used daily to extract dust and welding fumes from 6 purpose built teaching bays with the latest Weldability-SIF 300A MIG welders and 200A AC/DC HF TIG inverters. At the present time we have 204 welding students and we are looking to double this number in 2012 and we will build additional teaching bays to accommodate this number.

We have very strict Health and Safety criteria and all the equipment we have, including the Flextraction installation, meet these requirements. When we were ordering the equipment we specified that the arms had to be flexible with the ability to keep close the point of extraction, which the Flextraction equipment has met in all aspects.

We have found that the equipment is very easy to maintain and clean as it has no filters, also it is easy to operate and the students have no problems in moving the extraction hood close to the work they are undertaking, making the overall environment in which they are welding very pleasant at the same time keeping their lungs clean.”

The Weldability-Sif Foundation Charity is currently looking for additional complimentary sponsors and further details can be found when you register at

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