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Cutting out mist extraction 'is a false economy'

Posted on 03 Jul 2020 and read 677 times
Cutting out mist extraction 'is a false economy'Telford-based Filtermist Systems Ltd (www.filtermist.co.uk), an industrial air cleaning specialist, is urging companies investing in CNC machine tools to think carefully about leaving mist extraction off the order to reduce costs.

The company, which works with many of the country’s leading machine tool distributors as well as end users, has noticed a marked increase in customers investing in “bare bones machines” and not including bar feeders, high pressure or mist extraction in a bid to reduce spend.

Andy Hives, Filtermist’s director of Group UK sales, said: “While taking a cautious approach is understandable in the current climate, it is false economy. Although there is an initial capital investment, effective extraction can actually help to lower running costs in the longer term.

“Cost reductions can include lower heating bills in colder months as the air exhausted back into the facility is warm; lower cleaning bills as there is less oily residue on floors, ceilings and work surfaces; less days lost to ill-health as a result of exposure to contaminated air; and last but not least, there’s a far lower chance of employers being hit with chargeable enforcement and improvement notices from the HSE (Health & Safety Executive), or hefty fines for failing to comply with COSHH (Control of Substances Hazardous to Health) regulations.”

Prior to the outbreak of COVID-19, the HSE completed its Q4 inspection programme which targeted metal fabricating premises in a bid to reduce exposure to metalworking fluids and welding fume — reducing occupational lung disease is a key focus in the HSE’s current workplan.

Both COSHH regulations and the UKLA/HSE Good Practice Guide for Safe Handling and Disposal of Metalworking Fluids recommend using Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) on CNC machines to control exposure to airborne mist particles.

Mr Hives continued: “Filtermist oil mist filters are recommended by many of the world’s leading machine tool manufacturers and their distributors. In the UK we work in partnership with all of the key players to provide an integrated and seamless solution. By investing a little bit more upfront, end-users can be confident that the air in their facility is clean and safe to breathe.”

Mills CNC, the UK distributor for Doosan machines, has worked with Filtermist for more than 18 years and offers a Filtermist oil mist filter with every machine it sells.

This is something which the majority of customers are happy to invest in, as Mills technical director Tony Dale confirms: “On the whole our customers understand the importance of mist extraction and are happy to include the cost when they place the order for a new machine. The recent HSE inspection programme has helped to reinforce that this isn’t just a “nice to have” – it is a necessity for any machine shop that takes the health of its workforce seriously.”

While the COVID-19 crisis has hit most areas of the UK economy including manufacturing, it has also resulted in lots of discussions about the value of reshoring the manufacture of critical components back to the UK, which, if it transpires could potentially result in a boost to the industry.

A poll by The Engineer in May reported that 59% of respondents thought the crisis should trigger a UK wide reshoring strategy and many of the trade associations Filtermist is a member of, including the GTMA, BTMA and the EIA, are involved in Reshoring UK – an initiative designed to connect OEMs and Tier One companies with local suppliers to fill gaps in their supply chains.

Mr Hives added: “Reshoring has been on the agenda for a number of years. The need for local supply chains became hugely apparent when the lockdowns began.

If the UK’s manufacturing industry is serious about reshoring production to help support the country’s economy through the turbulent time ahead, it needs to ensure that this is commercially viable without cutting investment in products and services designed to protect workers’ health.

“We recognise that every penny spent at the moment has to be fully justified and we have introduced a new finance option specifically for Filtermist oil mist filters to help customers’ cashflow through this difficult time.

“This includes an initial deposit, followed by three equal, interest-free payments. This option is already available as part of most packages on offer from UK machine tool suppliers – our offer is designed to make it easier for customers that need to retrofit extraction to an existing machine.”

Filtermist is also a ‘collaborationeer’ in the UKMfgUnite initiative – designed to bring UK based manufacturers and suppliers together to strengthen the UK’s industry post COVID-19.