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Strategies for Industrial Noise Control in Manufacturing Spaces

Equipment used in industrial manufacturing can be noisy. Companies that want to protect their workers use industrial noise control solutions to minimize the impact of machine noise. These could include products that enclose, dampen, or separate noise from work spaces.

Why Industrial Noise Control Should Be a Top Priority

Loud equipment can contribute to both short-term and long-term hearing loss. Machine operators and others who work in manufacturing spaces need protection from noise in the workplace.

As a result, OSHA has published guidelines for how long an employee can work in a space with noise at specific decibel levels. For example, if the noise level is at 100 dB an employee should spend no more than 2 hours a day in that environment.

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Manufacturers have two options for dealing with industrial noise. Either consistently rotate employees out of the space before they exceed noise exposure levels, or install industrial noise abatement products.

The first solution slows down production and reduces efficiency, while still exposing workers to potentially dangerous noise levels. That is why installing sound absorbing panels, industrial noise control curtains, or acoustic industrial baffles is the preferred solution.

How to Capture and Document Sound Data

Before installing an industrial noise control solution, take some readings of sound levels in the workspace. This data gives you an understanding of the noise levels and the type of noise you are dealing with. Using this information, you can determine the best type of sound blocking or absorbing products for your workspace.

Record the decibels and the frequencies of sound at various points throughout the workspace. You can rent a sound measuring device or load up an app on your phone to get the needed data. Document your findings in a diagram. Be sure to note the sound decibel reading and distance from the noise source.

As you see in our sketch sample on the right, we take measurements close to the noise source, far from the noise source and in the corners of the room, since the noise energy tends to travel into the corners.

After you have installed noise abatement products, you can monitor the same areas again to track the reduction in decibel exposure.

Dig into the Details: Questions for Industrial Noise Abatement

To choose the best-fit noise control solution, answer the following questions about your workspace, machine, and processes.

Evaluate operating requirements:

  • How often and how long does an operator(s) need to be in the enclosure per day?
  • Is a ventilation system needed?
  • Is it possible to use the existing lighting or does lighting need to be moved or added?
  • Are there specific safety regulations for your industry that might be relevant?
  • If there is a fire suppression system, do you need to move some of the sprinkler heads?
  • Contact your local fire marshal for specific guidance.
  • Do you need a building permit?

After you have answered these questions, you can determine the dimensions and configuration of the enclosure. Sketch out a plan that includes the necessary openings for feeding materials, accessing controls, lighting, and maintaining the machine.

Keep in mind that it’s often easier and requires fewer building permits to install acoustic curtain panels vs building permanent walls. These panels are also easy to move and reconfigure as needs change.

Recommended Products for Industrial Noise Control

Stationary or Retractable Acoustic Curtain Walls:

Dual Absorption Single Barrier
Double Barrier Stationary Wall
Acoustic curtain panels are designed to absorb sound that might otherwise be reflected back into the space. AmCraft Manufacturing offers a diverse selection of acoustic curtain panel options that can be customized to align with your noise reduction objectives, workspace and budget.

Acoustic baffles are noise control panels that can absorb reflected noise and dampen echo. When choosing baffles for industrial spaces, ensure that the product is industrial grade and equipped with dampening materials that are at least 2 inches thick.

Additionally, consider the type of material that faces the noise source, as it will affect the baffle’s ability to diminish sound. Optimal choices include PVC coated mesh or acoustic fabrics. Make sure the baffle material has the ASTM E 84 Class A fire rating.

Best Practices for Industrial Noise Control Product Installation

These best practices can help you achieve the greatest industrial noise control and offer the best possible work environment for operators:

  • Keep the enclosure as large as possible.
  • Seal all the edges (top, bottom and sides) of the enclosure.
  • Hang industrial-grade free hanging baffles above and around the noise source. Make sure the baffles do not interfere with production and safety.
  • Cover as many hard surfaces as possible with industrial grade corner, ceiling and wall baffles to minimize sound reflection back into the room.
  • Place the machine on rubber mats or cover as much flooring as possible with carpet or rubber flooring.
  • For the walls, choose an acoustic sound barrier with an sound absorbing surface on at least one side such as stationary or retractable acoustic curtain walls.

You may not be able to incorporate all of these points for every project. In certain instances, compromises may need to be considered. For help finding the right industrial noise control solution, contact our sales team. They can provide expert guidance to determine the optimal approach for your project.