Industrial ventilation systems remove contaminated air, filter dust, and bring in fresh air to keep employees healthy and safe. They are crucial to facilities in a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, cleaning, automotive, food processing and many others. By improving breathability and preventing dust buildup on machinery, ventilation systems reduce fire risks, health hazards, and other problems that can affect worker performance.
Local exhaust ventilation (LEV) is the primary form of ventilation in most factories. It involves drawing air from a hood or booth that is located over a specific operation, such as a welding station, to prevent worker inhalation of contaminants. It is important to ensure that the LEVs are easy to operate by workers. If they are too difficult to use, employees may not use them, leading to a lower level of protection from hazardous fumes, vapours, mist, dust and gases.
Ventilation systems typically consist of two subsystems: a supply system and an exhaust system. The supply system includes an air inlet, ductwork, fans and air distribution registers. The exhaust system has an air intake area and ducts to move contaminated air away from the work space, air cleaning devices, discharge stacks, fans and more.
A ventilation system that has been properly designed and installed will have a minimum acceptable velocity through all openings in the hood. The design should also provide a high level of airflow, providing a good supply of clean air to workers. Ventilation system failures can result from natural degradation or from unauthorized modifications by workers. Keeping records of original system design, any changes, and the reasons for those changes is essential.
Often, an industrial ventilation system installation fails because it isn’t properly maintained. Maintaining a preventive maintenance program will improve ventilation system effectiveness and extend its service life. The program should include a schedule for inspection and maintenance of the ventilation equipment, a training program for workers, a procedure to identify potential problems, and a method to resolve them.
The type of fan used in a ventilation system is important to its performance. For example, a stainless steel fan is recommended for industrial applications where the fan can come into contact with chemicals or other materials that could cause corrosion. In addition, the size of the fan must be adequate to convey the required air volume.
A single source for the entire project is key to ensuring that an industrial ventilation system works as expected. When a single team is responsible for the project from concept to pushing the start button, errors can be avoided by ensuring that all parties understand what is being proposed and what is expected. This requires clear communication between the project managers, engineering, and fabrication. It is also important to keep clear documentation of the ventilation system, including drawings, specifications, fan curves and operating data. This information is essential to future upgrades and repairs. It is also helpful to keep documentation of the work performed, any problems encountered, and their resolution.