One of the problems confronting an Industrial Mold Making shop is finding the right type of industrial dust collectors for the grinding department. This is important for the health and welfare of the workers, as well as the performance of the grinding machines.
Most EDM electrodes are made from either graphite or copper. The graphite is typically a Poco or Toyo Tanso product, while the copper is usually Telco copper. These materials both produce large amounts of dust during the grinding or milling operation, which must be filtered away from the atmosphere.
Merely using a portable vacuum, such as a shop vacuum, will not do the job. Most of these garage shop quality machines do not have fine enough filters to clean the air, and subsequently they just recirculate the dirty air back into the atmosphere.
For limited applications, such as an individual surface grinder or milling machine, there are dust collectors made by Torit that can handle the job. These are the solution for small shops that have few machines and thus have no need for a complete, shop wide dust collection system.
Copper dust is known to irritate the nose, mouth and eyes, and can cause nausea, diarrhea and dizziness. Heavy exposure is very dangerous and must be avoided. The simple solution is the vacuum dust collector.
Graphite dust is similar in it’s irritation to the skin, eyes, nose and mouth. While it is non-carcinogenic, it is quite irritating to the body. The dust is also highly abrasive and can destroy many parts of expensive machine tools.
More and more mold shops are using high speed machining centers to manufacture EDM electrodes, which is great for the shop atmosphere. These machines generally come with a negative chamber surrounding the spindle and work area.
This chamber keeps the dust completely away from the shop and sends it into an attached storage area to be disposed of. These machines are designed to remove the dust, it is not an added on feature, made as an after-thought.
As a result, the entire vise or EDM accessory holding the electrodes is totally free from dust. This saves on carbide end mill and insert wear, the accessories last longer, and the milling machine spindle holds up much better.
If the tool and die or die mould shop uses a jig grinder, it absolutely must have a dust collection system in place, or use a stand alone variety. The CBN and diamond grinding wheels used can generate a huge amount of very fine dust that will contaminate everything nearby.