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Safely Removing Solder Fumes & Other Polutants

We review the Hakko FA-430 fume extractor: what a clever little sucker!

by Ross Tester

These days, with OHS regulations backing up the natural desire for a safe workplace, removal of the fumes from soldering and other operations is not just desirable, it’s essential.

Fume extractors have been around for quite a while – but the ones we usually see are not much more than toys. The Hakko FA-430 is most certainly no toy!

For a start, it’s big. No, let’s rephrase that. It’s BIG! At 330 x 366 x 343mm and weighing in at a hefty 7.5kg, it puts to shame those little desk-bound sniffers.

But size means nothing if it isn’t backed by performance. We’ll look at this in a bit more detail shortly but the FA-430 is capable of drawing more than four cubic metres of air (and their particulates) through its filters each minute.

But it does it quietly. You’d expect this amount of suction to have noise not too far short of an A-380 at take-off – but the FA-430 has a maximum noise level of just 53dB(A) – that’s just 3dB more than the “yardstick” quiet office measurement of 50dB(A).

In fact, the FA-430 has three levels of suction – on the lowest setting it measures just 44dB(A) while moving 2.8m3 per minute.

On medium, that increases to 50dB(A) and 3.7m3 while the high setting, as mentioned above, is 43dB(A) and 4.7m3.

But all that doesn’t mean much if it lacked in the filtration stakes. Needless to say, it doesn’t! Have a look at the graph shown on the opposite page. As you can see, with an amazing 99.97% minimum efficiency, the FA-430 filters particles down to just 0.3m. That takes in just about all solder smoke and oily smoke, most cigarette smoke, pollens, cloud/mist, airborne dust and significant other airborne pollutants.

It will even filter out bacteria from the airflow – though unfortunately not viruses, which are very much smaller.

Click for larger image
The Hakko FA-430 air-purifying fume extractor, shown here with its two-stage filter removed. There are two inlet ducts on the top of the unit; you can use both or one depending on your requirements.

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