Maintaining a safe and productive work environment should be a top priority in any facility. More and more companies are putting programs in place to improve the working environment and thereby increase the performance of workers.
Audible noise is one of the factors most commonly present on the manufacturing floor since the operation of any equipment or machinery involves the generation of noise at some level. Usually, the lower the technology of the equipment, the greater the intensity of the noise emitted, reaching in some cases to exceed the tolerable or legally allowed levels.
In addition to the risk of hearing loss, excessive noise has been known to cause physiological effects such as fatigue, tinnitus, lack of concentration and stress, even at levels well below 85 decibels (dB). Keeping people working in environments with excessive noise is a safe bet for reduced productivity and lost time.
Excessive noise exposure can be mitigated by addressing several elements. The actions for noise control can be classified according to the element on which they are carried out:
Noise generation source (machine or equipment)
Means of propagation
Directly reducing the noise generated by the source is the ideal option because it eliminates the need to add elements external to the process and results in a more efficient operation, but can potentially require more initial investment. Among the actions of this type we find:
updates to more modern technologies, and
major maintenance of the machinery.
When it is not possible to act on the noise source or the reduction reached is not enough, it is possible to alter the propagation medium to reduce the sound effect. These actions have the advantage of being able to be carried out without modifications to the production process, representing a fairly low implementation risk. Among these actions we have:
cabinets or enclosures for the machine, and
anti-vibration mounts to avoid resonances.
The noise control actions in the receiver must be the last ones due to the inconvenience that it generates for the worker and the consequential reduction of the effectiveness of oral communication. These actions are typically:
ear protectors like plugs and shells, and
enclosure booths for workers.
Parker's t-slot aluminum profile system (IPS) is an excellent solution for the manufacturing of enclosure cabinets and noise reduction barriers. The flexibility of the system allows adaptation of the design to the specific geometry of the machine and provides semi-fixed sections that facilitate access for operation and maintenance.
The wide selection of panels allows having opaque or transparent walls and profiles with double grooves allow the easy fabrication of walls with double panels that increase the attenuation of the noise.
Parker IPS profiles are easy to modify and totally reusable, so you will not only be satisfying your current needs but also future ones. A great way to get started on a Parker IPS project is to download our T-slot Aluminum Design Architect software and start designing today.
To learn more, visit our T-slot Aluminum Framing Solutions website.
Article contributed by Julio Sanchez, IPS product manager, Parker Mexico.