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Boat & Shipbuilding Welding Fume Removal & Dust Collection

Boatyards and shipbuilding present unique safety challenges, including improving air quality during construction by removing airborne contaminants. Hastings Air Energy Control offers innovative shipbuilding solutions to ensure compliance with air quality regulations while supporting productivity and minimizing downtime.

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crane moving large parts

Air Quality Challenges in the Boat & Shipbuilding Industry

Welding and Grinding

Metalworking in the shipbuilding industry involves materials such as aluminum, armor plate, Inconel, lead, and stainless steel. It produces a variety of air quality hazards, including airborne particulate matter and harmful gasses. Large-scale projects and work areas make containing and evacuating these substances difficult. The metalworking process results in the production and use of hazardous chemicals and therefore requires careful handling. Hazardous air pollutants include:

  • Chromium
  • Hexavalent chromium
  • Lead
  • Manganese
  • Nickel
  • Styrene
  • Zinc

Additionally, shipbuilding processes including blasting and welding produce airborne particulate matter that may contain paint chips and spent abrasives, which contribute to respiratory irritation. Specialized air quality solutions for shipbuilding remove these contaminants to improve air quality.


Fiberglass boats also expose workers to airborne contaminants, and we have great success using environmental booths to collect dust during the construction process.


One of the biggest air quality challenges faced by shipbuilders is the scale, scope, and location of necessary metalworking. Outdoor locations and cavernous buildings reduce workers' exposure to harmful chemicals. However, there are still concerns due to confined space construction and the inevitable worker exposure. In addition to OSHA related concerns, the operators of the shipyards are also required to adhere to EPA regulations for Allowable Airborne Particulate levels. This reality makes it necessary for shipbuilders to invest in fume extraction for shipbuilding and other air quality solutions tailored to the industry.

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fume vacuuming processing

Shipbuilding Air Quality Solutions

Hastings provides shipbuilding welding fume removal solutions that extract fumes, collect dust, and create active air patterns in large buildings to reduce concentrations of harmful contaminants. We design each system to meet OSHA and other regulatory requirements. Our air quality solutions include:

  • Ambient air filtration
  • Cartridge dust collectors
  • Permanent or collapsible dust containment booths
  • Fume extraction or source-capture removal systems (FumeVac)
  • Portable dust collectors with moveable arms

The list above shows there are many methods to address shipbuilding air quality issues. We have been extremely successful utilizing ambient air filtration for large buildings. This is very helpful for the operators of the shipyards, enabling them to adhere to the Allowable Airborne Particulate levels. As we know most metal fumes are below 1 micron in size and a .5 micron particle will remain airborne indefinitely. By creating active air patterns in large buildings at multiple levels, we can break up the typical 30’ stratification layers, strip off thermal energy, agglomerate particles and filter them out with high efficiency, self-cleaning cartridge units. By doing this we can reduce fugitive contaminants from buildings by 70-90+%. This has allowed our customers to increase production capacity by over 60% and maintain Airborne Particulate levels at allowable levels. 

Welding in Confined Spaces

In addition to these broad general ventilation solutions, we can also address specific issues. One of these issues is welding in confined spaces. When constructing a ship with many watertight compartments it is inevitable that construction will take place in a confined space. To address this issue we have created “Cavity Weld Fume Extraction Systems” which combine high powered dust collectors, multiple lengths of flex hose 20’-50’, or more, to allow the welders to pull in an extraction point to a space barely big enough for the operator.

Another specific application which has presented was the need to gouge and weld stainless steel pressure vessels with side walls 6-8” thick on the shop floor without exposing other workers to the fumes. To achieve this end, we designed a unique booth which can be picked up via a crane and placed over the vessel, completely isolating the process from the rest of the floor. In addition, it has a removable top, allowing for product to be crane lifted in. In addition, it has a “hands off” particulate disposal system. This utilizes screw conveyors to transport the pulsed off particulate to a high vacuum pickup which then deposits it into a 55 gallon drum. After the booth was delivered, it was determined more production capacity was required, so, an extension was provided to double the pressure vessel capacity. 

Since shipbuilding is inherently spread out across the entire shipyard, needs arise in different locations at different times. To answer these moving issues, portables are an excellent solution. One of the heaviest emitting processes is gouging. Gouging presents two major issues, velocity of discharge and volume of particulate. Generally, it is impossible to overcome the velocity of discharge with suction. Directing the discharge directly into an extraction arm will destroy the arm and inevitably create a fire in the arm and unit. To avoid this, operators are instructed to baffle the discharge stream with a piece of sheet metal and place the extraction arm inlet perpendicular to the stream’s impact on the baffle, about 18” away.

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Industry-Leading Boat & Shipbuilding Fume Removal Products

Our team at Hasting has been improving air quality in boat and shipbuilding operations for over 50 years. We design boat and shipbuilding welding fume removal solutions that increase productivity and reduce downtime, keeping your operations moving toward completion. Contact us to learn more about our air quality solutions.

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