Proper Filtration of Laser Ablated Particulates

Research and information found in this document has been completed in Collaboration with TBH GmbH. This information is verified by a number of independent testing institutes.

  • Certified Class IIA Medical Devices
  • Systems with ETL (UL/CSA) Certification
  • CR Series - Tested and Classified According to the relevant ISO Clean Room Classes

TBH GmbH is a manufacturer and one of the market leaders of air filtration and extraction systems. They are one of the market leaders in the field of high- quality extraction, and filter technology for industrial, medical and laser applications. TBH’s philosophy is to design products, which extract harmful particles from the air, and fully meet international and local standards.

This document is intended to highlight the importance of proper filtration of laser ablated particulate in addition to highlighting how the TBH filtration unit does so properly. Not only is effective filtration essential in maximizing performance of your laser anilox cleaning system but it is also vital for the safe operation by the employees.

The Sitexco, Sitexco+ and SitexcoLabel Laser Anilox Cleaning systems use a combination of Pre-Filters, Particle Filters and Molecular filters to assure that particulate matter, ultrafine particles and gaseous contaminants are safely and effectively collected. This assures that no fumes are escaping the system during operation and that 99.99999% clean air is being expelled from the bottom of the filtration unit

Harmful Substances

Many different contaminants are released in the workplace through various processes. When dealing with laser anilox cleaning systems, the most important contaminant is harmful airborne substances that manifest themselves as a fume. These fumes are so small in particle size that they float in the air. These fumes can take hours to settle and while airborne are particularly dangerous for people, machinery and environment. Fumes can be distributed over a wide area and even spread their harmful effects far away from the cleaning system or production area.


Health Effects

  • Inflammation and tissue changes in the breathing organs
  • Asthma, allergies, functional disorders of the lungs
  • Deterioration of the lung's ability to clean itself, lung cancer


Particulates which never fall and are always in the air small than 1 micron. Some bacteria are smaller than 1 micron, but the main representatives of this category are metallurgical dust and oil mist. Particles that are larger that 0.1 micron and smaller than 1 micron are covered by the filter inclasses M5-M9, but the E10-U17 classes also catch these particles.

Particulate Material

Particles that are smaller than 0.1 micron can only be seen with
a scanning electron microscope. Fine pil mist particles measure
between 0.01 micron and 0.1 micron. Some tobacco smoke
and asbestos particles are even smaller than 0.01 micron.
Most viruses and extremely fine nano dust measure between
0.001 micron and 0.1 micron. Only EPA, HEPA and ULPA filters
in classes E10-U17 can filter these particles. Some of the
particles that are smaller than 0.01 micron are already filtered by
activated carbon

Ultrafine Particles

Gas molecules and pesticides are rarely larger than 0.001
micron and activated carbon is the only filter medium for
particles this small. They are carried by the air and can penetrate
as far as the pulmonary alveoli when a breath is taken. Apart
from the amount of contaminants, the particle size distribution
and the operating conditions, there are other factors which
can influence filter selection decisions. Which is why thorough
testing by an approved professional is essential in assuring the
proper filters are used for the specific application.

Gaseous Contaminants

Particulate Matter is a Health Risk

The finer the particles, the greater the health risk that they pose. It is important to note that the chemical composition of fine dust is not the only decisive factor in assessing the health risk, because even chemically non-toxic particles can also penetrate deep into the respiratory tract, and some particles may even reach the pulmonary alveoli.

Fine dust is believed to be cancer-causing, even without having an immediate toxic effect. A great load is placed on the bronchial area and lungs, if the respiratory tracts or the pulmonary alveoli are blocked by fine dust particles. Depending on the application, ultra-fine particles can impact the health of employees and even product quality.

• Course Dust Filter – Filters Classes G1-G4
• Fine Dust Filter – Filter Classes M5 – F9


• Cleanable Filter – Filter Classes E10 – E11
• Saturation Filter – Filter Classes H13 – H14 (HEPA)

Particle Fitler

• Physical Adsorption Filter (Activated Carbon)
• Chemical Adsorption Filter

Molecular Filter

Pre-Filters and Particulate Filters

In Europe, Standard EN 779 is exclusively used to classify coarse and fine dust filters (= particulate matter filters). In the United States this is referred to as the American ASHRAE 52.2 standard. EPA, HEPA and ULPA filters, particularly fine-pored particulate matter filters, are rated in accordance with standard EN 1822. Depending on the standard, either the initial separation efficiency or the fractional separation efficiency is used as the performance criterion for standard contamination.

The following table shows the usual standards and the classifications used in Europe (standard EN 779) to specify the correct filter to match the particulate size.

How is this Relevant?

Because the Sitexco and Sitexco+ cleaning systems use the TBH filtration unit, the modularity of the units allows for the proper sizing and specifications of filter materials to assure safe operation specific to capturing ablated ink particulates. Safe for your machine, safe for the environment but most importantly safe for your employees. This document outlines the inherent dangers of using machinery that expels fine dusts and gasses during operation and how critical it is for proper filtration of these biproducts.

No other company representing laser anilox cleaning systems uses the correct combination of filtration unit and filter materials to safely reclaim all ablated fumes during the cleaning process. This document outlines the importance of conducting the right tests and following of government guidelines regarding what filter types are effective in capturing varying sizes present during the cleaning of complex flexographic ink chemistries.

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