Extraction systems from Weller Tools provide a systematic solution to any application. Weller Tools’ goal is to help customers breathe easier by providing clean air for the workplace. Its technology eliminates dangerous fumes and particles, leaving clean air behind. Weller filtration systems have a “three stage” filter system for removing small particles, fumes and gases, designed specifically for continuous use in industrial work environments.

Bigger particles get caught in a pre-filter and smaller particles get caught in the high-quality HEPA H13 filters. The wide band gas filter then removes gases, fumes and adhesives.Therefore, recirculating clean air back into the workplace ensures a safe, healthy work environment. Weller Tools provides filtration products for the following applications: soldering fumes, laser fumes, gluing fumes and for thecosmetics industry. We recently spoke with Gerald Gardener, Global Product Manager, to find out more about Weller Tool’s important filtration technology.

Gerald, we understand you’ve been on the Weller Tools team for over four years now, and you’ve recently changed roles within the company. Can you please provide our readers with a brief background of your time at Weller, including a description of your new role? What are your main responsibilities?

I have been in the electronics soldering industry for many years. I am a Mechanical Engineer by qualification and always have had an interest in technology and the latest in product development. I joined Weller’s Automated Soldering division on the technical applications side just as our Automated Soldering prototype was nearing completion, so it was exciting times. With that side of the business now established and gathering momentum on its own, it was the perfect time to take on more duties in the Product Management department. Filtration (fume extraction) is a vital product category for Weller and we are looking to focus heavily on ensuring a clean and healthy work environment for Weller users. I have been charged with taking Weller Filtration to the next level.

Why are filtration products important to the health and safety of employees?

While no one likes smokeand flux fumes in their face,it’s the invisibletotheeye particles and gas that cause even more damage and embed even deeper into the lungs. The Internet aboundswith the dangers of inhaled gases and chemicals. The more you read, the scarier it gets. People assume lead-free solder is the answer to our health concerns, but that’s just resulted in even more aggressive fluxes and fumes all burning off at higher temperatures, creating even more residues. Air in the breathing zone from leadfree hand soldering can contain more than 20 million particles from the range of 0.3-1 micron. Particles that small are extremely hazardous to inhale. And itis the combination of particles and gases that is the most dangerous. Gases stick to the particle, ending up in the alveoli deep in the lungs and causing inflammation and lung damage. This is exactly what soldering smoke is. That’s why a good filter system needs to be able to filtrate both particles and gases and why the filter must be replaced in a timely manner.

What benefits do Weller’s filtration products provide that make them unique in the market?

Weller started fume extraction in the 1990s. It later acquired Filtronic, a reputable filtration brand and market leader in Europeat that time. We had an abundance of skill, knowledge and expertise, and a focalpoint was the filter element itself. Our units tend to have large gas filters that ensure enough dwell time for the physical and chemical interactions to take place between media and contaminant. The other plus side of the filters being large is that they require less frequent filter changes. We have a broad range of filtration units and filter types to cover many varied application requirements. We even have experts that can advise on the correct filter media for a customer’s bespoke chemicals. Our products are packed with other features like connectivity with our soldering stations and other devices. Low noise levels are another great feature of ourproducts.

What markets most benefit from filtration products? Why?

All markets where gases, fumes, smoke or small particles are airborne in the workplace would not only benefit but would need fume extraction under legislation pertaining to that country. The damage caused by repeated inhalation of foreign substances is severe and often permanent.

Is your range of filtration products available globally? Are there any regions that purchase them more heavily than others? If so, why do you believe that is?

Most of our products are available globally. We sell more in Europe than other regions. I would say this is because of a combination of the following:

• Previously stricter workplace health and safety requirements

• Our penetration within the markets we serve

• European sales teams’ subject matter knowledge

Furthermore, since we had a head start in Europe over other regions and our filtration units last so long, we still sell many replacement filters even for extremely old models.

Can you explain the “Easy Click System”? Is that unique to Weller Tools?

The Easy Click System is a unique system to Weller. It’s a simple, quick and toolless exercise to connect extraction hoses between nozzles, arms, fitting and valves. In this dayand age where production cells are chopped and changed depending on the contract being produced, having a convenient system that can be moved and adjusted easily provides a significant benefit.

We understand that the Constant Flow Control system is a popular choice for use in numerous industries. Can you explain how the system works?

Yes, it’s a great system that offers many advantages if multiple operators are connected to the same filtration unit. For example, if one operator closes the suction arm at oneworkstation when the soldering iron is not in use, the systemautomatically adjusts the airflow so that the pre-set airflow is maintained to all other operators. It readjusts the airflow when the soldering technician lifts the soldering iron again. This system also automatically adjusts the fan speed as the filter becomes more clogged by particles over its lifetime, until the filter is completely consumed. This ensures that the pre-set airflow at the operator always is the same.

What other important filtration system products does Weller Tools provide?

Tip extraction often is overlooked. This is where the extraction takes place via a thin tube directly at the end of the soldering iron. This generally finds more service in training centers or in labs and are often a quieter solution. Since the filters are smaller than volume extraction systems, the demands in a training room are less than production facilities and filter change intervals are acceptable. Another interesting product is the CBC fume cabinet. This has a unique and effective air curtain that ensures the smoke stays inside the cabinet even though the whole front of the cabinet is open.

What would you most like the industry to know about Weller Tools’ filtration products?

Weller is synonymous with soldering. However, we are just as competent when it comes to filtration. The only difference is that we started with filtration about 40 years after we started soldering. I would like customers to consider Weller first when considering fume extraction. We can solve your filtration challenges while exceeding your expectations.