In 2017, steel production reached 1,689.4 million tonnes (Mt). This eco-friendly material is completely recyclable, durable, and requires low amounts of energy to produce. In addition, the steel industry has made efforts to limit environmental pollution. Now, producing one tonne of steel requires just 40% of the energy it did in 1960, and dust emissions have been reduced by even more (source). However, at the end of the day, dust is still one of the hazards in steel manufacturing that poses a threat to delicate electronics like computers and label printers. Thanks to enclosures, it’s easy to protect electronics from debris, extreme temperatures, and even theft.

A closeup of a machine cutting steel with sparks.

Hazards in Steel Manufacturing

Effects on Label Printers

On a busy steel manufacturing shop floor, there can be several activities going on at once. Cutting, stamping, welding, and grinding emit microscopic particulate. This dust contaminates and destroys printheads over time, which results in decreased print quality.

Since many steel manufacturing facilities rely on a barcode system to scan and organize inventory, a faulty label printer can cause issues and slow down production time. To keep your label printer protected, invest in an enclosure with a built-in filter system. You can even request a particulate and fume filter, which works well in production environments with heavy truck and forklift traffic, cutting lubricants, and sulfur (metallurgy). This type of filter includes double the amount of activated carbon filtration to remove particulates from air containing oil, exhaust vapor, and fumes.

Effects on Personal Computers

As you’ve probably guessed, microscopic particulate can also damage computers. In a steel manufacturing facility, you’re not dealing with household dust. Cutting lubricants, small bits of steel, and fumes can band together and create a sticky layer of dust inside your hard drive.

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Protecting your hard drive against dust is crucial. The hard drive is the powerhouse of the computer, and while most important information can now be stored on servers, don’t take a chance on losing important company information. Accumulated particulate is notorious for causing computers to overheat, which damages the internal system. To protect your computer system, purchase an enclosure with a particulate and fume filter. If your computer is located in an area with high foot traffic, you can also add a lock and key to prevent theft.

Effects on Monitors

While short-term exposure to dust might not harm a computer monitor, keep in mind that each time you wipe off the computer screen, the specks of steel and other debris can scratch your computer screen. Within a few months, you might not be able to read your computer screen as well. Since dust in a manufacturing facility often contains oil, some cleaning solutions can actually ruin screens. In addition, dust can cause a shortage in the wires connecting to your monitor. With all of the risks associated with leaving your monitor unprotected, it’s best to store this equipment in an enclosure.


Although there are environmental hazards in steel manufacturing, engineers have taken strides to reduce the amount of dust and pollution byproducts, and you can easily protect electronics. By purchasing enclosures for your monitors, computers, and label printers, you can prevent airborne contaminants from disrupting the workflow.

If you work in the steel manufacturing field, and you’re looking for a computer enclosure, contact DustShield. We have an extensive line of enclosures designed to protect LCD monitors, tower and desktop CPUs, and printers in harsh steel manufacturing environments. Heavy-duty and delivered completely assembled, our enclosures suit a variety of applications. We’ll work with you to determine which upgrades would enhance your company’s workflow. With help from our customer service representatives, you’ll find that customizing a computer enclosure is easy. To learn more, please contact us toll-free at 800-587-9557 or contact us online.

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