How To Reduce The Noise Levels Of Your
A Complete Guide
Ensuring a safe and productive working environment is a primary goal of any business. As technologies advance, there are more solutions available on the market that make our workday easier and more comfortable. Noise levels have a direct impact on our satisfaction and stress level, productivity, concentration. Unfortunately, loud work environments can also cause partial or full hearing loss. According to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health workers that are exposed to 90-dBA permissible exposure limit (PEL) for 40 years have a 25% chance of noise-induced hearing loss. Therefore, in the efforts to protect the employees from the consequences of occupational noise exposure more and more companies take actions to reduce the noise in their facilities to the lowest levels possible.
One of the best noise reduction tips you may find is to estimate the noise levels in the planning stage and choose alternative processes that produce less noise when you build your facility. If you don’t plan on starting any major construction projects or changing your operational processes in the nearest future, we have prepared an easy to follow complete guide on how to reduce noise levels of your current equipment below.
Primarily you should focus your efforts on reducing noise at the source by:
- Keeping your equipment up-to-date
Consider using more recent technology whenever possible. New equipment is more energy efficient and produces lower levels of noise.
- Reducing the Possible Noise Energy
The amplitude of the vibration and the area of the radiating surface have a direct impact on the amount of noise released from the surface. To lower the noise levels, we need to minimize the amount of energy transferred to the vibration surface and reduce the efficiency of the surface as a creator of the noise. To limit the impact on the surface, it’s recommended to use no more power than absolutely necessary or run the equipment for a shorter period. By covering the surfaces with resilient materials like felt, cork, glass wool, rubber or using the containers made of resilient materials, we can substantially reduce the noise levels too.
Establishing and following preventative maintenance schedule will prolong the life of your equipment and identify any problems at the early stages. Equipment that’s serviced regularly runs smoother and emits less noise. Proper lubrication will lower the noise created by the friction of the components. Something simple like securing a loose component can minimize the machine rattle sound.
Augusta, ME. Landfill Methane to the Engine/Generator System designed by The Hope Group. To decrease the noise levels and fit the residential area requirements, we put the system inside a container with acoustic insulation. Read more.
- Building an Enclosure
Depending on the type of equipment used, supporting structures for vibrating machines, cabinets or sheeted enclosures are used to reduce the noise. Recently, The Hope Group completed an engineering project where we supplied an air to oil heat exchanger with a sound level of 90 dBA that needed to be reduced to 80 dBa. To handle this challenge, we created an enclosure, lined it with the acoustic tiles and designed the baffles that reduce the sound level. We paid extra attention to balancing the noise reduction provided by the baffles while not over restricting air flow which reduced heat exchanger efficiency because of the cold New England weather conditions. It’s worth mentioning that enclosed machine without proper isolation may be noisier than if it was not enclosed, so we recommend consulting with a skilled engineer before taking any steps to reduce noise this way.
Enclosure created by The Hope Group engineering team that decreases the sound level of the system by 10 dBA.
Another way to deal with the high noise levels is to isolate the vibration by:
- Using resilient materials
While in use most machines create certain vibration movements that are transmitted for long distances with a minimal reduction if not handled properly. The vibration patterns can be caused by the electric motors, punch presses, etc. Using felt or glass wood pads for isolation might be an easy solution to handle the vibration noises. To provide sufficient isolation, you need to pay attention to the thickness of the material and the total area covered.
- Pneumatic suspension
A pneumatic suspension is a more costly solution. To use this method, you need to adjust the stiffness of the mounting system to fit the characteristics of the source by using automatic leveling devices. This will provide the appropriate level of stiffness without affecting the stability of the equipment. The added benefit of this method is the reduction of shock loading within the machine that potentially will increase its life.
- Isolating vibration source from service equipment/other moving parts
Certain service equipment types such as cases, heaters, dust extractors, cranes can produce the same level of noise and vibration as industrial equipment. Consider spacing them out and/or isolating the parts by fixings, resilient couplings, and flexible couplings, etc.
In situations where the abovementioned methods don’t work or are impossible to implement providing the ear protection means directly to the machine operators/employees is a good solution. Using earplugs or earmuffs would be extremely beneficial to the operators of the noisy machines for personal protection. Earmuffs are a more expensive option, but they give more protection to the workers.
To sum up, the noise level has a direct impact on the productivity levels of facility workers. By ensuring a low noise environment, you provide a more accommodating environment that promotes higher job satisfaction levels and lowers the levels of stress. By optimizing your processes and making them less noisy, you also decrease your costs and prolong the life of your equipment. If you have any questions regarding the article or would like to learn more about The Hope Group, please fill out the form, and we’ll get back to you shortly.