Pacemaker and Industrial induction oven.

Hi!

I recently got fitted with a Pacemaker at a young age. Everything went well with the operation etc. 

The only thing im currently worried about, is my work.

I work at a aluminium extrusion factory. We use industrial sized induction ovens to heat up the aluminium billets for further processing, there are 3 of these ovens and they are each about the same size as a small van ( Caddy etc.).

After doing some checking online, there does not seem to be that much research dealing with how much interference an industrial sized induction oven can do to a pacemaker. Do you guys have any tips?

 

Chris


7 Comments

Similar problems to MRI

by crustyg - 2020-10-08 07:42:33

I think you may well run into problems.  Everyone thinks of MRI and the 1.5Tesla (or stronger) magnet that could rip any ferromagnetic material out of your body.

Less often considered is the dual field - RF for excitation (what makes the electron spin change) and the powerful exploration magnetic field that provides a magnetic gradient that provides the location information => image.

An induction oven is using a powerful, varying magnetic field that induces current in the billets => heating.  Transformers do the same with induced voltages in the windings, and with a laminated iron core to *reduce* the size of the induced currents => less heating, less wasted energy.

The leads to your PM may well pick up very large voltages (tens or hundreds of millivolts) from the ovens which may a) swamp the amplifiers in your PM =>no heartbeat detected, b) appear as additional beats =>stop your PM pacing or trigger anti-arrhythmia actions.

I fear that you have one of the few jobs that isn't really suitable for a PM recipient.

But a *lot* depends on how close you are to the ovens.

Distance

by Ticky - 2020-10-08 07:52:26

Would be no problems atleast keeping a 2 meter distance at all times. 

Induction Ovens

by WazzA - 2020-10-08 08:54:28

I would certainly approach your Boss & Health & Safety Rep with your concerns. They won't want any incidents either :-)  

If there is a risk they would normally have signage warning of the dangers near the ovens etc.

As always NOT everything might be as it should be.

Good Luck & Err on the side of caution until you have answers.

Induction

by Ticky - 2020-10-08 09:24:00

Thank you all for answers.

There is signage of danger to PM. But there is not a clear answer how far the magnetic field expands. But after talking to my HR rep and safety leader, it seem they might go ahead and hire external people to measure all the relative fields.

Everything will probably work out:D

What a great employer!

by crustyg - 2020-10-08 10:03:23

Sounds very positive and a good sign of a great employer: it would be so simple for them to just get rid of you.

If you can, please do share with us any data that they collect about magnetic field strengths around the ovens: we have a couple of contributors who are either in the welding business (sometimes using portable generators for this) or have very large transformers/generators in their workplaces.  Traditional arc-welding is apparently the biggest problem, I believe.

Best wishes.

Industrial Induction Ovens

by AgentX86 - 2020-10-08 12:28:44

Certainly the best approach is a competent inspection of the EMI in the work area. The inspection must take into account the actual threats during normal operation and abnormal situations.

The fields here can be enormous and it's not localized to the oven itself. The power distribution system is also a problem. For many reasons, there is no "rule" about distance in this case. The area immediately around these massive ovens is in the "near-field" so it doesn't fall off as the distance squared. In fact, it doesn't fall of at all in the immediate area.  Add the distribution system and this could easily be a problem.

In a perfect world, these fields would mostly be contained within the oven but leakage from the oven, distribution system, transformers, and all, isn't zero. There may be abnormal circumstances where things could get very bad for those of us who rely on our pacemaker.

Yes, input from the occupational health organization is important but I'd absolutely involve my EP in on this decision. This isn't something to blow off.

similar deal

by dwelch - 2020-10-27 07:27:47

My employer at the time rented the equipment, back then the pacer companies were more open to questions and information, today they would simply say no you cant do that.  We took the measurements in my case I would have to be within inches of the equipment while it was operation which would be interesting at best to try as well as dangerous itself.  They put signage up, basically for me and I had done half the research on it. 

It is a valid concern, it needs to be researched if you want to keep doing that job, and if the employer is willing to put that effort then that is a good thing. 

At the end of the day if you need the pacer get the pacer if it will save or dramtically extend your life, get the pacer.  As sad as it may be you can get another job, either at that plant or elsewhere, a job which may or may not be a long term gig, isnt worth giving up your life for.  Pacer first, job second.  Try to tailgate and listen in on the folks that are doing the measurements, ask questions, get educated on your device and what you should avoid.  It really is almost nothing, but there are these rare situations with high EM fields that may or may not have the right characteristics to be risky.  Some may just confuse the device and you simply need to move out of the field, others may do damage, those are even more rare.

You know you're wired when...

Your pacemaker interferes with your electronic scale.

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