Solder Fume Extraction in Clean Rooms

There are many applications within the laboratory, technological, medical and manufacturing sectors that require personnel to work within clean rooms.  Clean rooms are designed to create an environment with low levels of particle pollution (dust, aerosol particles, chemical vapors, etc.). Levels of room cleanliness vary based on the need of the facility or application and are classified depending on the number and size of particles per unit of air volume.

In some instances, hazardous airborne particles and fumes need to be introduced within the clean room to accomplish certain tasks. One example of this is soldering on PC boards inside clean rooms. This application is especially prevalent in the technological field, and specifically electronic manufacturing and research, which requires the need to create a dust-free environment.

Because large clean rooms may take a significant amount of time to flush solder fumes from the room, it may be wise to consider purification options that will rid fumes at the source of emission so they don’t compromise the clean room:

Source-Capture Fume Extractors

There are several source-capture configurations available for the removal of solder fumes; all of which have the same attributes:

  • A Powerful Source-Capture Function
  • High-Quality Filtration Media

In order for a fume extraction unit to be effective for use in clean rooms, it not only has to have a powerful and efficient source-capture function, but also high-quality and well-manufactured filter media. Like clean rooms, source-capture fume extractors for clean rooms should utilize HEPA or ULPA filtration. HEPA filters are up to 99.97% efficient on particles 0.3 microns and larger, while ULPA filters are up to 99.9995% efficient on particles 0.12 microns and larger. Aside from efficiency, other things to consider are the capture zone (i.e. how close the operator can position the inlet to the contaminated air source) and cross drafts that may be present in the clean room that could affect the airflow pattern.

A popular option for source-capture fume extraction in clean rooms are Ductless Fume Hoods.

Ductless Fume Hoods

Ductless Fume Hoods provide a negative-pressure benchtop enclosure in which operators can solder [Sentry Air offers several different sizes including 12“, 18“, 24“, 30“, 40“, 50“, 60“, 70” wide and custom options]. The powerful fan situated at the top of unit quickly pulls airborne fumes into the patented filtration system, which is typically comprised of a high-quality HEPA Filter.  Air is filtered as it passes through the filtration system and is then recirculated back into the immediate area, so there is no need for external venting or make-up air.
A 40″ Wide Ductless Fume Hood is pictured above
Of all source-capture options, this configuration is typically the most effective because of the enclosed containment it offers; however, there are other viable options that may work more efficiently for your facility:

Portable and Wall-Mounted Options

Mobile source-capture fume extractors are also a popular choice for solder fume removal. These systems typically feature a flexible source-capture arm that can be placed directly next to your soldering project. Sentry Air’s Portable Floor Sentry is a good example of this:
The Model 300 Portable Floor Sentry is pictured above.
These systems utilize a flexible hose to effectively capture fumes and deliver them into the filtration system. Like Ductless Fume Hoods, these systems also use HEPA filtration and a recirculating air pattern.

Wall-Mounted fume extractors, similar in construction to the above mobile unit, are great options for those that have limited space and would rather have their filtration system installed on the wall and hovering over their work area. The Sky Sentry is a good example of this configuration:
The Model 200 Sky Sentry is pictured above
For more information on fume extraction options that can be utilized with clean rooms, please call a Sentry Air Systems Applications Specialist at 1.800.799.4609, email us at sales@sentryair.com, or fill out this form to receive more information.

Keep your eyes open for more blog entries this month pertaining to fume and chemical extraction within clean rooms.