Do areas of your facility require constant temperatures? Are your employees dealing with significant seasonal temperature variations? These situations all require special conditions – often conditions that are hard to control with people and equipment moving in and out all the time. Let’s examine some climate control options outside the world of HVAC equipment.
Destratifying the air – keeping air moving and mixing to provide a consistent temperature from top to bottom
Air tends to group into temperature layers. Hot at the top and cold at the bottom with graduating layers in between the two extremes. What this leads to no matter what the season is radically differing temperature zones depending on how high in the air column your position is. That means people on the ground floor have cooler temps while the folks up on the mezzanine or higher are constantly overheated and under duress.
Destratification is the means by which you get those air layers to mix so temperature differences are eliminated from top to bottom of a high ceiling facility like a warehouse, retail outlet or gymnasium. Special air mixing fans (sometimes called “AirPears”)
move huge volumes of air vertically to mix air and temperatures evenly from floor to ceiling.
How it works: These fans draw air in from the top of the fan and discharge it to create a vertical vortex that drives air to the floor where the air then swirls horizontally and is drawn into the forceful updraft created by the fan’s intake, in a constantly recirculating cycle.
High-volume-low-speed (HVLS) fans
are another way to destratify air. These fans have extremely long but lightweight blades that turn very slowly. They create massive air movement at slow speed to keep air moving. Their effect is described as “a gentle breeze” indoors. Like destratification fans, they are excellent for reducing costs in climate controlled buildings, increasing comfort and productivity in air-temperature buildings or a combination of both. Both HVLS fans and destratifying fans are good in the heat or the cold.
move air in smaller volumes with greater force. These fans are deployed at individual work cells and blow directly on the workers to help relieve the effects of stale, static air and hot conditions. These fans create evaporative cooling on hot days but aren’t typically helpful on cold days.
Separating temperature zones to conserve cooling and heating
In cold storage and freezer applications, or in climate controlled areas of a warehouse, it’s critical to preserve climate controlled air in a certain area. Your main goal is to keep cold stuff cold and your main challenge is how to keep the warm air out as people and equipment move in and out of the cool or cold zone.
Often the doorways are the critical air infiltration points – opening, closing, in, out – and expensive cold air being compromised with each pass. Vinyl strip doors
and high-speed doors
help reduce temperature loss without infringing much on accessibility for a busy dock door or opening. They reduce the amount of time a door is open and the volume of air exchanged which means you are able to keep a more consistent temperature in your cold zone.
To reduce air and temperature exchange even further, consider adding thermal climate control curtain walls
in staging areas, at loading docks and doors, and in less densely packed zones to reduce spoilage and enhance temperature control temporarily. By enclosing work zones in thermal barriers, you are able to progressively control temperatures as the product is moved through processing, staging and loading. The thermal barriers run on overhead tracks so they can be collapsed as needed. They’re ideal for applications like a climate controlled manufacturing area that shares the same general space with shipping or receiving docks that aren’t cooled or heated. With a curtain system, you retain as much of the climate as possible without hard walls.
Achieving air exchange to reduce fumes and stale air
If the processes in your facility create odors and tend to reduce the amount of air flow through the facility, mesh doors may be an option to help bring fresh air into non-sanitized areas.
Mesh doors are available as manual hanging screens
, manual chain lift doors
and high-speed doors
. They are made of a coated vinyl mesh with a very small screen (mesh opening) that helps reduce insects, dust and debris while letting outside air in. Great for loading docks, building pass-throughs and other applications, they keep air moving, add fresh air and ventilation, and help provide summertime relief from the heat through evaporative cooling.
Another way to refresh stale air in a facility is through air distribution tubes
. These devices are long, lightweight fabric tubes which extend from air registers or fans to deliver airflow to extended areas in a building. Along the bottom of the air distribution tubes are evenly spaced holes to discharge fresh air along the length of the tube.
Keeping cold things cold and hot things hot
Climate control is more than the reading on the thermostat. It is providing a comfortable work environment, conserving consistent temperature zones and circulating air throughout a facility. Choose products that enhance your ability to control the work environment and that save on energy costs. That way you have a win-win situation.
Tags: air circulation, air distribution tubes, air pear, climate control, cooling, destratification, fans, heating, high velocity, high volume low speed, high-speed doors, HVLS, industrial fan, mesh door, thermal curtain wall, thermal equalization, ventilation, work environment
Scott Stone is Cisco-Eagle's Vice President of Marketing with more than thirty years of experience in material handling, warehousing and industrial operations. His work is published in multiple industry journals an websites on a variety of warehousing topics. He writes about automation, warehousing, safety, manufacturing and other areas of concern for industrial operations and those who operate them.