I wasn’t expecting that…
Another day and another large factory. Very large in fact; over 200m in length and a manufacturer of snack foods. We were advised anecdotally there were all sorts of reported problems with the ‘air-conditioning’ too hot, too cold, too much airflow. (never good around sensitive check weighing machinery).
It was evident that the existing air systems had been altered, fairly typical of a fast moving industry used to product innovation.
During the walk round there seemed to be an air drift from one end of the factory to the other, this was noticeable in the doorways when air velocities increased. More exhaust air fans were located at one end of the plant, but there also seemed to be plenty of air-handling units able to supply an air balance.
Our brief was to measure all the points of air supply and exhaust. Nearly all were accessible from the factory roof and not too much of a headache for our site safety contact signing off our twice-daily risk assessment method statement forms.
We measured a marked difference in airflows from process exhaust compared with air extraction exhausts; although the latter look impressive with plumes of steam and vapour the actual flow velocities are quite low, much lower in comparison with an extraction fan of comparable diameter.
The data collected was tabulated into the report and we summarised the air-in air-out figures from nearly one hundred measurements – there was considerably more, in fact a lot, more air leaving than entering – not the result we expected!
We advised and recommended. Much was obvious that corrective work would restore – some fans were off, some air-handling units too, motors waiting for a part or maintenance such as a filter change.
But a key issue behind this type of survey is ultimately one of Food Safety. (plus the working conditions!) Preventing the entry of airborne particulates, mostly very small but some larger and maybe using winged flight, all of which are un-controlled and not what a customer or BRC auditor is impressed by.
Ever wondered if the airflows in your factory are in balance or even how much they are out of balance? Contact us . Could it be worth a conversation?