A well-functioning industrial ventilation system is more than just supply and exhaust fans. Sure, it all starts with exhausting stale air out and bringing outside air in, but there are ways you can optimize your system and keep your equipment working better and longer, and your employees more comfortably. Depending on your specific situation, you may need any combination of the following pieces of equipment.
When you need to move air throughout a space, it’s not enough to just purchase a fan you think is big enough. You really need to do precise calculations to figure out how much airflow you need within a particular space to solve your heat or air quality needs. Beyond that, you need to consider whether your application requires a positive, negative, or balanced pressure. Failing to take this into account can have disastrous effects. There are also different configurations of propellor shape, pitch, and size that will maximize the fan performance and there are different ventilation setups for you to consider: forced supply/forced exhaust, natural supply/forced exhaust/, forced supply/natural exhaust, and natural supply/natural exhaust. A reputable sales engineer will be able to provide a quote with these considerations in mind.
Occasionally an industrial plant will want to combine gravity ventilation with a powered exhaust system. In this application, a customer has to get air in the building but does not want to have the outside elements of rain, dust, or insects to come in with the air. In this case, you design a ventilation system that uses inlet louvers mounted down low in the side of the building. You can read all about louvers in this blog post: Louvers 101.
No, they’re not dampeners and they’re not louvers--they’re dampers! While similar in appearance to louvers, dampers perform a different function. They allow you to open and close them to regulate the airflow or even stop airflow in an emergency event. We’ve answered some of the most common questions about dampers on our website.
When you need to remove moisture from the air in a contained industrial space, dehumidifiers are the way to go. Dehumidifiers allow you to maintain a proper relative humidity for applications that are sensitive to moisture in the air.
Silencers are essential to maintaining worker comfort and lowering individual noise stress levels. Sometimes ventilation equipment can get extremely noisy just by the nature of the application. Silencers offer much-needed relief from this noise and in some situations, it is required by federal worker and property line regulations. We’ve worked with every kind of silencer from steam and gas blowdown silencers to ventilation silencers to acoustical enclosures.
Air filters are often used in conjunction with silencers, but they don’t actually filter noise from the air. Air filters remove particulates from the air while allowing the air to pass through them.
Dust collectors perform a similar duty to air filters, but they are much more heavy duty. For example, if you have a cutting application that causes a lot of sawdust or metal particulates to enter the air, a dust collector picks up the contaminants through a vacuum system and then places the air back in the space or outside after the particulates are removed. We’ve written about dust collection applications offshore, and they’re quite similar to what you’d expect to see in an industrial system as well.
SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR DIFFERENT FACILITIES
When ventilating chemical plants consideration needs to be given to the chemicals being manufactured in the plant and whether special materials should be used. Application engineers will also want to know if your application could possibly be explosive. If so, you’ll need to consider using fans with non-sparking construction and explosion proof/hazardous duty motors. There are different materials of construction to choose from, but we recommend 304/316 Stainless Steel (SS) for applications that have corrosive chemicals in the airstream.
Food and Beverage Processing Plants
There are two (2) key components to ventilation in a food processing plants: 1) the supplied air needs to be filtered to remove contaminants and 2) there must be a positive pressure - this is so that when a door is opened the inside air flows out thus the outside air does not come in. You must also consider that any equipment inside the facility needs to be 316 SS (the USDA requires this in most facilities). The moisture inside these facilities will destroy a carbon steel fan, so if you can’t use SS or aluminum you need to use a special, high quality paint to prevent corrosion.
We often see problems with moisture in facilities that require refrigeration. This is usually due to a relative humidity issue. Knowing which kind of dehumidifier to use can make all the difference. Furthermore, meat processing plants can be unpleasant to work in. Creating a steady airflow through the spaces can relieve the smell and allow workers to perform their duties more comfortably and safely.
The key with ventilation in painting facilities is that the system needs to be designed in such a way that it is easy to open up the fan to clean the fan internals. The area that contains the curing ovens is also a place that requires special attention for ventilation. A ventilation engineer will be able to assist you in deciding whether a roof or wall exhauster would be best for your facility.
These facilities can get very hot very quickly. Usually, there are large openings to the outside to assist with air movement and to allow the heat to escape. More often than not, this is not sufficient. You’ll need to install both roof and wall exhaust direct drive fans with motors that can handle the heat. Fans in these types of plants will need to run 24 hours a day.
Each industrial application requires something different. We’ve been working in these specialized fields for 70 years. Not sure where to start with your facility? We’ve worked in warehouses, manufacturing facilities, breweries, standby/emergency generator enclosures, cement plants, and many, many other locations. There’s not a lot we haven’t seen. Contact us today to speak with one of our engineers.