Long Term Health Effects of Welding Exposure

At Forster America our focus is to make each welding job faster, safer and more efficient through the use of our products. However, the health effects of welding exposure are also something that we’re very passionate about. The detrimental long-term health effects of welding exposure are well documented, with studies showing that there are many chronic conditions and deadly diseases that many welders suffer from.

In fact welding has been labeled the most potentially hazardous activity in America.

Of course because of the many hazards involved, there are comprehensive health and safety procedures that must be followed, including the necessity for protective clothing and safety equipment. But perhaps the most dangerous aspect of welding is exposure to the fumes that are produced by molten metal and the gases that are released during the various welding processes.

Studies and Research

Welding Fume Hazards | Forster AmericaOne organization that has collated studies and research results is the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE) that lists both short-term and long-term effects of exposure to welding fumes. Common short-term effects range from eye, nose, ear, throat and chest irritations to coughing and shortness of breath, bronchitis, pneumonitis (the inflammation of the lungs), encephalopathy (a syndrome that results in brain dysfunction) and nausea. Another short-term effect is known as metal fume fever that has flu-type symptoms that last between 24 and 48 hours.

But some welding fumes are more deadly than others, and the Society warns that work involving metal that contains cadmium can result in death.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) is actively involved in studies involving fumes that contain manganese (commonly added to carbon steel to make it strong and hard), and these studies have found that Parkinson’s (or something with the same symptoms) is caused by exposure to manganese fumes.

According to the ASSE, other common long-term health effects of welding exposure include pulmonary infection and heart disease, respiratory illness, lung and throat cancer, stomach problems, kidney disease, and a variety of neurological problems.

The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) has issued a health and safety fact sheet that details many of the welding hazards welders need to be aware of. The American Welding Society (AWS) also has a number of safety and health fact sheets that are more detailed and focused on each of the areas of concern – more than 40 in all.

Some Chronic Long-Term Health Effect of Welding Exposure

Hundreds of research studies have been carried out in an attempt to identify the chronic long-term health effects of welding exposure – there are 554 listed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) US National Library of Medicine alone. Many are specific, relating to one or a number of related conditions or diseases. Others consider solutions that will help welders overcome the dangers so many of them face on a daily basis.

Check out these facts from AFSCME.org on welding hazards.

The AFSCME fact sheet is more general, but like the ASSE guidelines, gives general insight into the problem. It warns that welders have an increased risk of developing lung cancer (more so if they are smokers), and are vulnerable to cancer of the urinary tract and larynx. The causes cited are the very large quantities of toxic substances found in welding “smoke” as well as the well known cancer-causing agents found in metal and various other elements, specifically (in alphabetical order):

  • Arsenic, which occurs in many minerals and is used to strengthen many copper alloys
  • Beryllium, which is often added to strengthen alloys of copper, aluminum, iron, and nickel
  • Cadmium, which has historically been added to metals to make them less corrosive – but which is being used less and less due to its known toxicity
  • Chromium, which is added to iron and carbon steel to increase the metal’s rust resistance
  • Nickel, a hard, ductile metal that is resistant to corrosion

Welders may not develop cancer, but many experience chronic lung problems including asthma, bronchitis, decreased lung capacity, emphysema, pneumonia, as well as pneumoconiosis (a dust-related disease), siderosis (also dust-related but specifically caused by iron oxide dust), and silicosis (which often develops when welders have been exposed to silica).

And it doesn’t even begin to stop there; additional health issues that research has found to relate to welding include skin diseases, heart disease, loss of hearing, chronic gastritis and gastoduodentitis (which causes the stomach to become inflamed), and small intestine and stomach ulcers. Those exposed to nickel and chromium have been found to be especially vulnerable to kidney damage.

Reproductive risks have also been shown to be an issue, with welders displaying an inferior sperm count (and quality) to men working in other jobs. Those welding stainless steel appear to be more at risk.

Ultimately, welders are undoubtedly at risk of developing a number of horrible long-term health effects, but it is also true that if the proper safety procedures are followed, these risks will be dramatically curtailed.

For more information about products to reduce welding fumes check out KemperAmerica.com – their solutions for welding fumes and exhaust help to combat these hazards from full room ventilation to source fume removal.

Cut Production Time with Frame Railing Fixtures for Robotic and Manual Welding

Frame welding fixtures are one of the best products to use for general purpose welding. They are extremely versatile which makes it very easy to do adjustments on the fly. They give you the option to promptly adjust and weld all sides the length and width of different frames in rectangular allocation. This plus the option to use these fixtures with either manual or robotic welding results in much lower production times than other methods.

Forster America’s Frame Railing Fixtures include:

  • Mechanical clamping elements with spindle-compression that is located in close proximity to the weld joint. These allow certain irregularities in the joint to be sensitively compensated
  • A clamping corner on the left target that builds the 0-point of the x- and y-axis.
  • The ability to swivel about ca. 225° after the clamping of the components and the frames can be welded overleaf.

There are three types of frame welding fixtures being offered by Forster America. They include:

  1. 4500 Frame Welding Fixture
    4500 Frame Welding Fixture

    The Type 4100 – 4400 height version frame welding jig that includes

    1. A measuring scale
    2. Pneumatic load balancing
    3. Roller bearing profile guidance
    4. The motorized swivel is not included in this model
  2. The Type 4500 eco Heavy version frame welding jig that includes
    1. Right-hand clamping corners (in x-axis) are parallel and the rear clamping corners (in y-axis) are individually moveable and adjustable by measuring scale
    2. A stationary traverse and one or more traverse navigable on stabilized and widened web guiding roll
    3. A sharpened, recirculating ball bearing guide arranged covert
    4. An electromagnetic swivel drive
  3. The Type 4500 Heavy version frame welding jig that includes
    1. All clamping corners (towards x-, y-axis) are parallel  in combination with digital measuring scale
    2. A stationary traverse and one or more traverse navigable by use of a crankshaft drive on 2 parallel steering tracks
    3. A sharpened, recirculating ball bearing guide arranged covert
    4. An electromagnetic swivel drive


Save Time on Your Welding Project with Forster America’s Welding Manipulators

Everyone knows the old saying that “Time is money” but in business, it is the literal truth. Some projects are so large and ungainly that it makes welding much harder than it needs to be. The size forces the welder to go through several steps in order to change the work piece facing or position and the weight can sometimes make it dangerous to do adjustments without help. Every second the welder spends trying to work around the poor placement of the work piece is time that could be spent on other projects. Over the course of a few days, that lose can really start to build up.

Luckily, Forster America has solved this problem with their new line of welding manipulators.  These manipulators are time saving wonders with a wide array of features but most importantly they offer:

  • Tables that can both turn and tilt
  • Positioners with lifting capabilities and two axis rotation

3-axis-positionersThe rotation of the positioners allow a welder to weld seems in flat positions while being at an ergonomic working height. The versatile tables are customized to meet their client’s requirements and can be used for manual welding or welding robots as needed. Since the manipulators allow them to move the project where they need it rather than forcing the welder to keep changing position, it speeds up the process a great deal.

Forster America designs and manufactures positioners for specific client needs such as handling large objects and other specific work-piece requirements. Since minimal effort is needed to change the height or position of a work piece it results in:

  • A high level of worker safety
  • An increase in the quality of the work
  • Better work ergonomics
  • Much higher productivity given the optimal working position
  • An extremely high level of accuracy and efficiency

Our Railing Welding Fixtures allow for Railing Welding in a Fraction of the Time

At Forster, we have been gaining a reputation for great welding equipment because of two simple reasons: Simplicity and Efficiency. We design each one of our welding tables to make a welder’s job safer, faster and easier than ever. For instance, our new railing welding fixtures can reduce the time it takes for you to produce your projects by up to fifty percent. That is a massive benefit because it puts money right back in your pocket. You can produce twice as many stainless steel, aluminum and carbon steel railings in the time it is taking you now.

We pack a lot of features into our Railing Welding Fixtures because we want to give our clients all the tools they need to produce top notch products.

Our Railing Welding Fixtures offer:

  • Forster Railing Welding Fixture 6.5 MeterThe ability to create straight banisters or railings
  • All possible graduations of railing member distribution
  • A railing height that ranges from 450 to 1200mm
  • 360 degree rotation with pneumatic load balancing
  • A maximum payload of 150kg with a railing slope of 60 degrees
  • Starting, in between and final stakes
  • A handrail, bottom boom and an inter belt

The reason for its efficiency can be seen in its operation. Bar elements are placed onto the fixtures according to how wide they are.  This makes things a lot simpler because only the distance between the stakes and the quantity of similar bar elements need to be entered into the input display. The holders for handrail, inner belt, and bottom boom can be shifted individually along the x-axis, then shifted along the y-axis together as a unit. By twisting the hold head, all profile cross sections on height of the bar elements center themselves. When the railings are fixed after insertion, they can be swung into the optimum welding position. This makes the task of welding them overleaf-ready much simpler.

Aluminum Copper Welding Tables are Best for Stainless Steel Welding

At Forster Welding, we offer a variety of table tops to cater to the diverse needs of our clients. The most popular tops we sell are generally the Carbon Steel and Aluminum Alloy models but there are times when only an Aluminum Copper Alloy top will do.

Aluminum Copper Welding tables are usually a necessity when you plan on welding Stainless Steel, because of their many benefits:

  • Aluminum Copper Welding TablesIf you need a safe basis for professional grade stainless steel processing then an Aluminum Copper Alloy top is a must. This process requires a strict separation of ferritic material because even a small scratch or cut on the surface of the welding table can cause pitting and corrosion. An Aluminum Copper Alloy top will provide you with the necessary separation.
  • The clamping system does not contain ferritic material so as to avoid the problem listed above.
  • Aluminum Copper Alloy tops help to avoid needless damage to the projects being built on them. They utilize a T-Slot system made of a special Aluminum/Copper alloy that has been proven to be beneficial because it cannot cause any ferritic scratches. This 3D clamping provides the security and positioning you need for detailed work due to its high tensile strength and low surface hardness.
  • Open table design allows larger pieces to stick through and allow easier access to critical welding areas.
  • Low splatter adhesion. Since these tables retain a high level of thermal conductivity, spatters have a hard time adhering to your work surface.
  • High quality results. Our Aluminum Copper Alloy tables produce parts of the highest quality because the modular interchangeable rail system enables permanent accuracy on the table surface.

Contact Forster America today for pricing and detailed information on our selection of high quality welding tables and accessories.


Forster’s Vacuum Clamping System Allows for Multiple Capabilities

One of the most difficult parts of welding is keeping all the pieces where they need to be while you work. If something shifts at the wrong time then you can ruin your weld and possibly the whole project. There are a multitude of different methods that welders use to secure materials but none that match Forster’s new vacuum clamping system.

Forster offers their Vakufix system in two different configurations:

  1. A set that includes the pump, air chamber and clamping table.
  2. A set that has been customized to the working piece and includes all of the accessories.

Forster Vacuum Clamping System VacufixThe Vakufix system is the first to utilize high temperature vacuum clamping plates. They allow a user to quickly and securely clamp parts directly in the line of heat on a 3D level. This is a crucial feature if you are trying to manufacture sheet metal. Other systems can hold the material in place but the Vakufix system will hold the material in place while giving the welder complete access to the seams. In a normal system, the clamping arm causes problems because they always seem to be in the way.

Since the sheet metal parts are held in place with a very small vacuum surface, it is easy to move them around and correct their position. If traction related forces become active the vacuum area will automatically increase to compensate. Each vacuum plate can generate anywhere from 40 to 45 kg. This will cut down on the thermal distortion which causes so many problems when processing stainless steel. For component pick-up with integrated voltage on the interior side, vacuum plates with compressed air are used. The high-temperature-vacuum plate is equipped with an elastic stainless steel shim as sealing surface, which can easily be replaced.

If you need to secure your sheet metal parts while still having full access to the welds, you should look into the revolutionary Vakufix system. Call Forster today if you have any questions about the specifications or pricing.

Forster America is bringing 3D Welding Tables to the States

Forster America will now be supplying the United States with Forster’s (Germany) 3D welding tables, and accessories.  These welding tables are truly innovative and truly unique.  Forster (Germany) has over 25 years of experience in welding tables and the welding industry.  They are more than aware of what welders and businesses need, and they deliver.

Forster Turn Tilt Table for Stainless SteelForster America provides all of the Forster Welding System’s products, such as:

  • Welding Tables
  • 3D Welding Tables
  • Welding Tables for Jigs
  • Custom Accessories
  • Table Tops for all Types of Metal

The Forster design is truly unique because of the t-slot system.  The table top is composed of beams that can be rearranged, moved and adjusted at any time during the welding process to accommodate the needs of the welder. This reduces strain on the work piece, it’s more ergonomic for the welder and because it can be changed throughout the welding process there’s a huge decrease in downtime.

To find out more about Forster America’s 3D welding tables don’t hesitate to give us a call today!

We’ve Launched a New Company, and a New Website

Forster America is the newest supplier of Forester Welding Systems’ tables and accessories. Previously you could only purchase these 3D welding tables from the German manufacturer itself.

swiveling_welding__jigsThe launch of our new website allows us to showcase all of the revolutionary welding products that Forster America has to offer.

These welding tables and accessories will greatly increase efficiency in your welding production, over time saving you time and money.

Give us a call at Forster America today to discuss your welding table needs, we’re almost certain we have something to accommodate your welding projects.