What is Source-Capture Fume Extraction?

Source-Capture Fume Extractors
If you’re in the market for any kind of fume extraction or air purification system, there’s a good chance that you’ve come across the term “source-capture”.

As indicated by its name, “source-capture” fume extractors capture hazardous airborne particulate and fumes at the source of emission, as opposed to systems that are designed to purify general room air.

In the example below, a source-capture Welding Fume Extractor is being utilized to capture hazardous airborne by-product of the welding operation being performed. The source-capture hood of this portable unit is situated in very close proximity to the source of emission in order to capture the highest volume of airborne contaminants before they are able to reach the respiratory zone of the operator.

Sentry Air’s Model 300 Welding Fume Extractor pictured above

The picture above is also an example of a purifying and recirculating source-capture fume extractor. After fumes and particulate are captured, they are directed through the fire-retardant flex arm and into the filtration system. The filtration system for this particular unit typically consists of a pre-filter and main filter [HEPA Filter- up to 99.97% efficient on particles 0.3 microns and larger]. Other source-capture models may vent outside.

Source-capture fume extractors are commonly equipped with one or multiple extraction arms. The material, length, and flexibility of these arms can vary depending on the manufacturer.


Sentry Air Model 100 ESD-Safe Solder Fume Extractor with Anti-Static Flex Hose
(used primarily for solder fume extraction)
Sentry Air Model 500 Heavy-Duty Fume Extractor with
11′ articulated extraction arm

Hooded enclosures, such as Ductless Fume Hoods, can also be considered source-capture fume extraction systems because they are designed to contain and extract airborne particulate and fumes to prevent them from being released into the immediate environment or operator’s breathing zone.

Sentry Air’s 40″ Wide Ductless Fume Hood pictured above
for acetone fume control while cleaning parts
Ambient Air Cleaners

General room (or ambient) air cleaners are designed to lower overall particulate or odor levels in a room or enclosed space. These air purification systems can range from small units (for small rooms or offices) to large systems (for warehouses, restaurants, workshops).

Sentry Air’s Model 200 Portable Room Air Cleaner
Sentry Air’s Model 2000 Free-Hanging Industrial Air Cleaner
Local Exhaust Ventilation
The portable source-capture configuration shown in the welding application photo is one example of “local exhaust ventilation”, which is often recommended by health and safety authorities when workers are utilizing hazardous material and need to stay below a certain exposure limit.


According to The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA), they use the term “local exhaust ventilation” to refer to the following in regard to Safety and Health Regulations for Construction:


“Local exhaust ventilation when used as described in (a) shall be designed to prevent dispersion into the air of dusts, fumes, mists, vapors, and gases in concentrations causing harmful exposure. Such exhaust systems shall be so designed that dusts, fumes, mists, vapors, or gases are not drawn through the work area of employees.” [osha.gov]

The primary duty of source-capture fume extractors is to capture hazardous particles before they are able to pass through the breathing zone of employees. General room air cleaners are not commonly recommended as a primary respiratory engineering control in this capacity because larger particles tend to fall to the ground (or are inhaled) before they are able to reach ambient air cleaners (which may be positioned at the opposite end of the room from the operation).


Using Source-Capture Fume Extraction and Ambient Air Cleaning


Utilizing both a source-capture fume extractor and ambient air cleaner (ex. welding shop air quality) can help to further improve air quality conditions, as opposed to just utilizing one option. If small particles manage to make it past your source-capture engineering control (several factors can influence this), the ambient air cleaner can be used as a secondary air quality control to capture these particles.


For more information on source-capture fume extraction options, please give us a call at 1.800.799.4609 to speak to a Sentry Air Systems Applications Specialist, email us at sales@sentryair.com, or fill out this form to receive more information.