Sydney Automotive Paint & Equipment hosted its first training seminar for repairers at its new training facility in Condell Park, Sydney.
Audi has approved the Prowotech mobile dust extraction system and delivered this to its approved repairers as mandatory equipment - it is currently the only manufacturer-approved dust extraction system for mixed material repair on the Australian market. The purpose of the training course was to educate repairers and to demonstrate how to use the new dust extraction equipment.
Audi's technical support specialist, Gareth Wright was there to explain the dangers of repairing mixed materials - aluminium, carbon fibre and high strength steels. Wright explained the safety, styling and weight-saving benefits of using mixed materials and why this method of body construction was likely to become more prevalent.
Risks include fume and dust inhalation, explosions and fires. To mitigate these risks it is necessary to use both a W3 level fume extractor and the specialist dust extractor for cutting and grinding.
If you are a repairer who went for a curtained aluminium repair bay then give yourself a pat on the back as aluminium booths will have to be modified to repair mixed material or composite car bodies. This risk of explosion and the pressure of the potential explosion means that an enclosed room isn't suitable. However, leaving the doors open and retro-fitting welding curtains is acceptable.
Carbon fibre fumes are toxic while aluminium and metal dust is harmful to lungs. Aluminium and steel dust (iron oxide to be precise) together make thermite which was used in the WW2 to burn holes into tanks. Thermite is a chemical exothermic reaction rather than a fire and is explosive. It can burn under water and as such, it is very difficult to extinguish - it grabs the oxygen from water (H²O) to fuel its chemical reaction. It burns at 2000°c and there have already been some horrific industry accidents overseas. The key is to empty the dust tray in the dust extractor often and to vacuum metal and aluminium dust from the work area floor regularly.
The Prowotech mobile dust extractor is rated for combustible dust area ZONE 22, Explosive Group IIIC, IP55 and has special anti-static hoses and a TUV certified spark trap and calming device which ensures that the dust enters the tray at not more 135°c.
SAPE's equipment division manager Beau Knowles was there to demonstrate how the Prowotech operates and to explain about the different filters for carbon fibre and aluminium fume extraction.