Capturing Welding Fume/Smoke At Toyo Seat USA

Challenge
Toyo Seat USA Corporation in Imlay, Michigan is an award winning automotive seating manufacturer. They are known for their unique production system that enables them the flexibility to respond quickly and appropriately to their customer’s urgent needs. This frequently requires movement, rearrangement and set up of numerous robotic weld cells used during the production process. Over the past 10 years, each independent weld cell had its own individual dust collector that sat on top of it. As the years passed, issues started to arise.

Having the dust collector directly above the robotic weld cell resulted in sparks being sucked directly into the dust/fume collector unit, frequently resulting in fires. Mobility turned into a concern. When a weld cell was required to be moved, it would be a time consuming and tedious process because of the top mounted dust collectors. Having to do maintenance on top of the collectors was another issue. With the collectors on top of the weld cell and with no platform, a lift would have to be used for filter change out. The energy to run numerous blowers and produce compressed air for each dust collector was noticed and adding up.

Solution

Chuck Pratt, Toyo Seat’s maintenance supervisor did an online search for a solution, and ultimately contacted Kevin Tucker, Camfil Farr APC sales engineer. Chuck discussed some of the issues they were experiencing and the expectations that they were looking for. Kevin contacted Fred Marshall with Camfil Exfil and together did an on-site, hands-on demonstration of the Gold Series® for Chuck, Dan Serwich the plant manager, and J.B. Nishimiya the process engineering manager. Using the Gold Series® demo trailer unit, they explained the features and benefits of the collector right at the customer’s site. A walk-through to see the current systems and requirements and then a costing analysis were done to address the true total cost of ownership.

A central system was designed, consisting of two GS12 Low Boy dust collectors. Installed side by side, each collector is rated for 9,000 CFM at a 2.3:1 A/C ratio. The Gold Series® Low Boy would stay under the ceiling height requirement that was needed. Ducting would run out and branch off to a total of 18 robotic weld cells. Each hood was equipped with a spark arrestor to prevent sparks from entering the system.

Mobility was returned to the customer using the central system layout design. “Now all we do is pull a couple of pins, undo a couple of clamps, remove the hood, and move it where we want to move it. It’s nice,” says Chuck Pratt, Toyo Seat maintenance supervisor. As an extra safety precaution the optional fire sprinkler system was added inside each dust collector as well as flame retardant HemiPleat Gold Cone filters. To save on the energy costs, a VFD (Variable Frequency Drive) controller was used. With the Gold Series® collectors and options operating in place, Toyo Seat will save over $30,000 a year according to Dan Serwich.

“I would definitely recommend the Gold Series dust and fume collection unit”
says Dan Serwich, Plant Manager, Toyo Seat USA, Imlay, MI

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