General implications of noise control in industrial environments
Industrial noise considerations and solutions
Industrial businesses can be a primary cause of noise pollution to the environment, which is why it is important to install acoustic systems into the building. Having appropriate soundproofing solutions within the complex can reduce the loud noises that heavy equipment can emit.
Industrial processes are often very noisy as the operations and equipment to process and produce industrial outcomes often include heavy machinery with limited barriers to restrict equipment noise from carrying beyond the confines of the installations.
The introduction of stringent health, safety, and environmental regulations has led to an increase in importance when considering noise control around industrial processes.
The aim of these regulations is to ensure that a worker’s hearing is protected by preventing them from being subject to high levels of noise which could cause long-term hearing damage.
From an environmental point of view, these regulations have been put in place to keep industrial facilities’ property sound levels below the required noise levels that vary by zoning.
Why do you need industrial soundproofing
There are various reasons as to why you might need to have noise control in your industrial premises. External and internal noise levels need to be kept to an acceptable level, and industrial soundproofing products offer solutions to excessive noise problems for both the environment and workers.
Some plants operate within residential areas, so it’s important to keep external noise to a minimum in order to prevent noise complaints and upset from the local community. Other industrial complexes use loud machinery that goes above the acceptable noise level, this can cause problems internally. Such issues need to be addressed as best as possible, which is why industrial noise control is a necessary asset to have.
Failure to comply with noise mitigation control could see the owner’s fighting legal battles and compensation claims.
Industrial Soundproofing Considerations
There are three basic elements in any noise control system:
- The source of the sound
- The path through which the sound travels
- The receiver of the sound
In many situations, of course, there are several sources of sound, various paths for the sound, and more than one receiver, but the basic principles of noise control would be the same as for the more simple case. The objective of most noise control programs is to reduce the noise at the receiver. This may be accomplished by making modifications to the source, the path, or the receiver, or to any combination of these elements.
The purpose of the noise control procedure may be to prevent hearing loss for personnel, to allow effective face-to-face communication or telephone conversation, or to reduce noise so that neighbors of the facility will not become intensely annoyed with the sound emitted by the plant. The engineering approach is often different in each of these cases.
Noise control solutions
At the source
Modifications at the source of sound are usually considered to be the best solution for a noise control problem either being the most difficult approach. The noise at the source strictly depends on the design process the machinery has been through and in some cases, on its maintenance as well. For example, excessive noise from a roller bearing in a machine may indicate wear failure in one of the rollers in the bearing or, there may be areas, such as panel coverings, that vibrate excessively on a machine.
To determine whether this approach is feasible, the engineers would need in-depth information about the process in which the equipment is taking place and on the machine itself.
On the transmission path
Modifying the path through which the noise is propagated is often used when modification of the noise source is not possible, not practical, or not economically feasible. For noise sources located outdoors or indoors, the transmission path may be modified by placing a wall or barrier between the source and receiver. The use of a barrier will not be effective in noise reduction indoors when the sound transmitted directly from the source to the receiver is much less significant than the sound transmitted indirectly to the receiver through reflections on the room surfaces. In this case, A very effective noise control procedure is to place an acoustic enclosure around the sound source or to arrange the receiver in a soundproofed cabin. The exhaust noise from engines, fans, and turbines is instead controlled by using mufflers or silencers in the exhaust line for the device.
At the receiver
The human ear is the usual ‘‘receiver’’ for noise, and there is a limited amount of modification that can be done for the person’s ear. One possible approach to limit the noise exposure of a worker to industrial noise is to limit the time during which the person is exposed to high noise levels. In other cases, to reduce the sound level to which the workers are exposed, hearing protectors (earplugs or acoustic muffs) can be effective, preventing noise-induced hearing loss in industrial environments.
What are the benefits to apply soundproofing solutions to your industrial facility?
- Provide a safe work environment by helping to reduce accidents caused by poor communication
- Prevent hearing loss
- Increase productivity by decreasing distractions
- Reduce complaints from neighboring businesses and residents
Soundproofing comes in many forms and does a great deal of work to create an environment conducive to productivity, effective communication, and privacy. No matter the industry, taking the time to factor the sonic landscape of a property into your plans will pay dividends in the future.
Industrial plants are often complex facilities, requiring individualized noise control solutions. For every reason why you would need to solve for each of the many different types of industrial noise, there exists a solution. As such, it’s important to consult experts in the field of industrial acoustics to solve for each individually.
Stopson Italiana has worked nationally and internationally for 50+ years with plant processing engineers and their consulting teams to provide accurate and cost-efficient, site-wide noise assessments and mitigation solutions for industrial sectors across many industries.